TCR Friday Notes
Al at BCB scores an interview with Crane Kenney and Tom Ricketts.
BCB: Are you open to expanding the payroll a little if there’s an acquisition, let’s say, the middle of this season that might help get the Cubs over the top into the playoffs? Jim Hendry comes and says I’d like to get this guy it’ll cost $8 million, are you...
TR: I’m not sure .. probably not an $8 million mid -season addition, but what we’re always talking about and what Jim likes to do … we’re going to play out the first half of the season we’ll see what we need I think it’s good I think he has a philosophy to bring in a fresh guy or two at the trade deadline to help push the team forward the last couple months. We’ll be open minded to that stuff.
There's plenty of interesting information in there, along with a healthy dose of Trib bashing by Crane Kenney.
- Now that the Ricketts are in charge, hopefullly they'll spice up the Cubs advertising. Not that I'm particularly hopeful after the first ad which pretty much just sells the Wrigley experience and history. That is a WGN ad, so it's very possible the Cubs management had nothing to do with it either. The reason I bring up the advertising is the folks that run the Rockies, Twins and Mariners campaigns know what they're doing.
It would be nice to see a little Cubs personality in the ads, there's certainly enough ad agencies in Chicago willing to take up the task.
- There seems to be some strong sentiment that Ron Gardenhire isn't a good manager. I could probably count on one hand how many Twins games I've watched over the last few years, but nothing has struck me as too odd in terms of in-game management. What is odd is that the Twins have won 5 of 8 division titles and been above .500 7 of those 8 years with a middle of the road payroll for the most part. I'd be comfortable with Dusty Baker butchering arms and his crayon-drawn lineups for the Cubs if it saw them make the playoffs with that kind of consistency. I'll turn the mic over to Rob Neyer for the finish.
Let me tell you something, though: There aren't many Earl Weavers and Davey Johnsons out there. Some guys really know the numbers, and some guys really know how to handle 25 men at a time. And the numbers? Friends, there are only so many things a manager can do with the numbers. You've got your nine guys who play most days, and you've got your dozen pitchers with generally prescribed roles ... that doesn't leave much room for managerial maneuvering.
You take the manager who (just) knows the numbers, I'll take the manager who (just) knows how to keep his players playing for six months, and I'll beat you 55-60 percent of the time. Ron Gardenhire? He's won 55 percent of the games he's managed.
- Another big buzz around MLB was the idea of floating realignment.
The committee already has made good on Selig's promise by discussing a radical form of "floating" realignment in which teams would not be fixed to a division, but free to change divisions from year-to-year based on geography, payroll and their plans to contend or not.
The concept gained strong support among committee members, many of whom believe there are non-economic avenues that should be explored to improve competitive balance, similar to the NFL's former use of scheduling to help parity (in which weaker teams were awarded a weaker schedule the next season).
The devil is in the details though and to be fair, it was nothing more than throwing out an idea at the moment. Back when I started writing online back in 2004, I recall suggesting an idea to realign the divisions based more on payrolls and media markets, so I'm intrigued by the idea, as impractical as it sounds at the moment.
- I'm on vacation next week and hopefully have secured a few guest bloggers to keep things going. Treat them well. Arizona Phil will be around as well although the Cubs are away most of the week.