Meet the Cubs Managerial Candidates: Mike Maddux

Mackanin is the first to interview and the first to be profiled. Next up is Greg Maddux's big brother, Mike Maddux who will interview sometime next week after he gets over a case of laryngitis. Gordon Wittenmeyer pegs him as the early favorite because he's a pitching coach and the Cubs need better pitching. I hope that makes as little sense to everyone else as it does to me.

Mike Maddux CardMike Maddux was a 5th round pick by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 1982 draft out of UTEP. He managed 15 seasons in the big leagues, mostly as a reliever and played for 9 different organizations. He enjoyed his two best seasons in San Diego in 1991 (2.46 ERA) and 1992(2.37 ERA) and ended with a 39-37 career mark and a 4.05 ERA and 20 Saves.

He quickly moved into coaching once he retired in 2000, joining the Round Rock Express, a Houston Astros affiliate and the organization that he last pitched for...he acutally asked for the job and they gave it to him. That lasted until 2002. The Milwaukee Brewers must have heard and seen enough of him to offer him the big league pitching coach job in 2003 and he stayed on through 2008. That's when the Texas Rangers came a calling and he's been their pitching coach the last three seasons.

Some believe his presence would keep Greg Maddux within the organization and possibly convince him to take on pitching coach. I guess it wouldn't hurt, I guess it could, maybe they don't get along at all, but I doubt any of it will factor into naming Mike the manager. There's been a stigma that pitchers don't make good managers as well, but recent hires such as Bud Black and John Farrell are making that less of a taboo.

Baseball is all about results, so let's see how his teams fared under his tutelage starting with Milwaukee and including the year before he joined and the year after.

 

Year Team ERA ERA+ Team BB Team K W-L
2002 4.73 86 666 1026 56-106
2003 5.02 86 575 1034 69-94
2004 4.70 103 476 1098 67-94
2005 4.30 108 569 1173 81-81
2006 4.82 95 514 1145 75-87
2007 4.79 100 507 1174 83-79
2008 4.25 109 528 1110 90-72
2009 5.05 85 607 1104 80-82

And now with Texas...

Year
Team ERA
ERA+
Team BB
Team K
W-L
2008
5.37
83
625
963
79-83
2009
4.38
106
531
1016
87-75
2010
4.24
114
551
1181
90-72
2011
4.18
118
461
1179
96-66

The pitching coach is only as good as the talent he's coaching up, but certainly his tenure with Texas is encouraging.

To the quotables...

"I think the challenge is to put everybody on that mound with confidence to forget the ballparks and the negative things that come with a hitter's ballpark," Maddux said. "What I want to do is bring confidence for pitchers for them to pitch with confidence and conviction."

From Nolan Ryan...

"He's the hardest-working pitching coach I've ever been around, and with all of the knowledge and work ethic he brings, along with (bullpen coach) Andy Hawkins, you're seeing the results."

From Texas minor league pitchers Tim Murphy and Kasey Kiker after going through a mini-camp in 2009...

Murphy: Definitely. Fundamental stuff. He wants us to get ahead of hitters with first-pitch strikes. You have to be able to own your fastball. You have to have fastball command. The roots of pitching. You have to let your defense work behind you. As far as conditioning, he definitely wants to bring back long toss. He wants to implement long toss into all of our throwing programs -- something that we really didn't do before. He wants to get back to the basics.

Kiker: He wants to stress long toss. He also wants us to go deeper into games. He said that he was tired of us saying 100 pitches and we're done. He said if it takes 130 pitches to finish the game, then we're going to throw 130 pitches to finish the game. He said the hitters will tell us when we are done.

Pandering to Greg's fans...

"Even when I was 12, and he was just 7," Mike Maddux says, "I used to take Greg with my first pick on my teams. It wasn't because he was my brother. It was because he was better than anyone else."

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Comments

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball...

Cubs president Theo Epstein and his front office inner circle put Mackanin through the ringer, including a "game conditions" situation in which they watched a Red Sox-Phillies game so Mackanin could explain his thought process during decision-making.

weird ass interview process...

do an interview then get marched out to the press to talk about it. i dunno if it's overkill or window dressing for fans shopping for hope.

hopefully this will end before it becomes weirder than it is.

hopefully this will end before it becomes weirder than it is.
----

Actually, it's going to get weirder. They're also interviewing the next person kicked off Dancing With The Stars. Plus the cast of Breaking Bad. Personally, I'd like to see Gus Fring manage the team. When he pauses and takes his glasses off, you know someone is getting murdered.

I think it is safe to say that the meeting with the press is as much a part of the interview as the private meeting is.

Can't remember where, but Theo said that they'll be watching the interview to see how they handle the press. It's total part of the hiring process. Might be weird, dunno...but after Lou and Dusty, I kind of like it.

just seems smart, it's one of the job duties, might as well see how they handle it....

I like it too, but what I really like is a test interview after losing 10 straight.

"I don't know, what're ya gonna do?"

Muskat tweets...

Dale Sveum will interview with Cubs Monday re: manager's job. Besides Mackanin, only other candidate confirmed is Mike Maddux

Can someone please explain what gammons is babbling about??

#The future of Oakland, Tampa and Dodgers far more important than draft "reform."

#Free agents now cannot sign until clubs know what the system will be.

I presume he's talking about stadium issues in Oakland, Tampa and McCourt issue with Dodgers.

I presumed any compensation changes would take effect for next offseason.

or maybe he's trying to say those particularly organizations don't know how to proceed until labor deal is in place or their situations are resolved? fuck if I know, his tweets are difficult to understand.

Well Thome just signed with Phillies, so Gammons must have been talking about those situations specifically.

Cubs minor league free agents

http://www.baseballamerica.com/blog/prospects...

RHP: Justin Berg (AAA), Austin Bibens-Dirkx (AAA), Marco Carrillo (AA), Robert Coello (AAA), Angel Guzman (Hi A), Dylan Johnston (Lo A), Carlton Smith (AAA), Alvaro Sosa (Lo A), Jeff Stevens (AA)
C: Mario Mercedes (AAA), Chris Robinson (AAA)
1B: John Urick (Hi A)
3B: Scott Moore (AAA)

guess Theo and Co. still don't care that much about Coello on the second go-around.

I've posted it a few times before, but here is the up-to-date list of Cubs minor leaguers eligible for selection in next month's Rule 5 Draft if not added to the 40-man roster by the 11/20 deadline...

NOTE: IF-OF Matt Camp and C Luis Flores would have been eligible for selection, but not while on RESTRICTED LIST serving 50-game PED suspensions

Abner Abreu, OF
Jim Adduci, OF
Jeffry Antigua, LHP
Adrian Aviles, LHP (ex-OF)
Jeffrey Beliveau, LHP
Dan Berlind, RHP
Smaily Borges, OF
Michael Brenly, C
Justin Bristow, RHP
Michael Burgess, OF
Kyler Burke, LHP (ex-OF)
David Cales, RHP
Matt Camp, IF-OF
Hung-Wen Chen, RHP
Manolin DeLeon, RHP
Carlos Figueroa, INF
Eduardo Figueroa, RHP
Ryan Flaherty, INF
Luis Flores, C
Marwin Gonzalez, IF-OF
Yohan Gonzalez, RHP
Gian Guzman, INF-RHP
Marcus Hatley, RHP
Jay Jackson, RHP
Junior Lake, INF
Blake Lalli, 1B-C
Jordan Latham, RHP
David Macias, IF-OF
Oswaldo Martinez, RHP
Jonathon Mota, INF
Craig Muschko, RHP
Jon Nagel, RHP
Jake Opitz, INF
Blake Parker, RHP
Nelson Perez, OF
Ramon Reyes, RHP
Dae-Eun Rhee, RHP
Rebel Ridling, 1B
Carlos Romero, C
Nate Samson, INF
Brian Schlitter, RHP
Ryan Searle, RHP
Marquez Smith, INF
Matt Spencer, LHP (ex-OF)
Larry Suarez, RHP
Matt Szczur, OF
Jose Tineo, RHP
Josh Vitters, 3B
Ty Wright, OF
NOTE: A player on this list is not eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft if he is added to an MLB 40-man roster by 11/20.

Also, any free-agent signed to a minor league contract prior to the Rule 5 Draft is eligible for selection.

Flaherty, Beliveau, Szczur and maybe J. Jackson and Lake

think Bristow retired
http://www.oursportscentral.com/services/rele...

Flaherty, Beliveau, Szczur and maybe J. Jackson and Lake

think Bristow retired
http://www.oursportscentral.com/services/rele...

================================

ROB G: Justin Bristow quit but (last time I asked) he hadn't filed his papers. So unless he has filed retirement papers in the meantime (and most players don't, they just quit and are initially placed on the Temporary Inactive List, and then the player is placed on the Restricted List at the start of the next season when he fails to report to Spring Training), he would be eligible for selection in next month's Rule 5 Draft.

Same goes for Craig Muschko, who was hoping to sign with a Japanese team last March and then the earthquake hit.

I think Beliveau, Flaherty, M. Gonzalez, J. Jackson, Lake, Rhee, Szczur, and Vitters are the Rule 5 eligibles most-likely to get added to the Cubs 40-man roster by the 11/20 deadline.

(Of course I also thought that the Cubs would add Robert Coello to the 40-man roster to keep him from becoming a minor league FA).

At present the Cubs roster is at 33 (with seven players now Article XX-B MLB free-agents), so there is room right now to add as many as seven players to the 40-man roster. And then Esmailin Caridad and Kyle Smit are likely to get outrighted by 11/20 (the Cubs can outright them at any time because they cannot be a minor league free-agent if outrighted), which would make room for two more, for a total of nine available slots.

In addition, I had thought that Marcos Mateo and Lou Montanez would have been outrighted by the MLB Rule 55 minor league free-agent deadline on Wednesday, but one thing Theo Epstein used to do when he was GM of the Red Sox was sign a player to a major league contract in advance of the 12/2 contract tender date, and then immediately outright the player to the minors (if the player otherwise could have been a minor league FA if outrighted) with an NRI to Spring Training.

In the case of Montanez (who can be a FA if outrighted even if he has signed a major league contract), the Cubs would be hoping that he will accept the outright assignment and defer his right to be a FA until after the following season.

Or the Cubs might wait until 12/2 and non-tender Mateo and/or Montanez, and then immediately re-sign one or both to a pre-arranged minor league contract for what would be a typical minor league split salary, plus an NRI to Spring Training. That way you don't risk losing the player off waivers when dropping the player from the 40-man roster, while at the same time picking up one or two additional 40-man roster slots that can be made available for free-agents signed during the course of the off-season.

With Hendry gone, Koyie Hill is another possible 12/2 non-tender, which would open up still another slot on the 40.

One way to rank players on this list is by precociousness, or "maturity at an early age."

Vitters, Lake and Suarez played in AA this past season at age 21.

Marwin Gonzalez made it to AA in 2010 at 21, and Iowa this year at 22. Jay Jackson pitched at Iowa at 21.

Antigua didn't make it to AA this year at 21, but he pitched well at A+ and he won't be 22 until late June 2012.

Baseball prospectus' Steve Goldman has a new article tying into one he wrote in Feb 2011 ("Every Team Has a Special GM, Except the Cubs").
http://tinyurl.com/3qlrdhk

The Feb 2011 article wraps up with this:

Despite changing ownership over the years, the Cubs have apparently never been run with the slightest sense of urgency. Rather than look at specific deals or drafts, this lack of dedication would seem to be the real motivator of the championship drought. Hendry’s full-season teams have an average record of 83-79 and the ballpark sells out. That’s nice, but it hardly constitutes evidence of a plan. How many chances should a GM, particularly one in a major market, get? Where is the evidence of a consistent, thought-based approach?

I’m not suggesting Hendry should be replaced, or will be—owner Tom Ricketts has spoken highly of the man—but the bulk of his career with the Cubs is likely already behind him and the frame remains unfilled. Every team has a special GM, every team but the Cubs. Someday, they may even get around to hiring one.

This current piece is the follow-up is titled "Exorcising the Ghost of Leo". Last Cub manager to hold his job 5 yrs: Jim Riggleman (1995-1999). Before that: Leo Durocher (1966-1972).

http://tinyurl.com/3losbx8
(subscription needed to read the full articles)

...you can’t have a great manager without at least a competent general manager, and since the Cubs haven’t had the latter, they’ve also missed out on the former.

regarding who is selected as the next Cub manager...

...it might (who the manager is) not matter at all beyond receiving a certain basic competence. For the Cubs, that basic competence includes an awareness of on-base percentage. The Cubs have consistently been a non-walking, low-OBP team for decades, with the result that they have often been outscored in their own generous ballpark. Since 1950, Cubs have been outscored by their opponents at Wrigley in 37 of 61 seasons.

Conclusion...

...the Cubs are one of only six “serious” teams that has, at no time in the 21st century, had enough confidence in their own personnel evaluation to feel that they had hired that guy (it is odd that the failure of a manager to hold his job is somehow the players’ or the manager’s fault rather than a sign of yet more bad judgment by a problem general manager). It’s hard to believe, but then, much about the Cubs’ 103-year championship drought is hard to believe. Epstein may or may not break that streak, but at the very least he can bring the Cubs on-field leadership that they feel like they can stick with for the first time since the days of Durocher.

yeesh...that is a whiny string of sentences.

woe is everything.

thank god theo's fixed all that...it's been a hell of a 2 weeks vs. that last 103 years.

Dusty and Lou were each going to change the team culture, as well, and the press even gave them both credit for doing it until the team failed in the playoffs.

In general I think it's a good idea to ignore sportswriters when they are obviously waxing sentimental/idiotic.

Maddux to interview with Cubs on Wednesday (and Bosox on tuesday).

http://tinyurl.com/442hd5z

Hendry and Theo ran into each other last night at an event, title of piece starts with "Awkward much?" but they've obviously chatted and met numerous times before

http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2011/11/04/...

Hendry suppose to be on ESPN 1000 this evening or tomorrow.

A's are listening on anyone not named Jemille Weeks, Gio Gonzalez sure would be neat...Cahill and B. Anderson to a far lesser degree.

http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2011/11/04/...

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball...

says Cubs should be going all in on Joe Maddon...

Rogers may have the hots for Maddon but he's dumb enough that if someone reminded him that Scioscia was Maddon's mentor he'd waste some tribune ink on a Garza, Castro and BJax trade for him in his next worthless column.

...and Angelfan Wife would not be happy with Rogers either.

Joe Bohringer hired as Director of Pro Scouting.

http://espn.go.com/chicago/mlb/story/_/id/719...

Baseball Prospectus has a Q and A with Bohringer available....along with all their archives now being free.

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php...

Seems like a pretty nice get. A pity he didn't get the "snakes" reference though.

more Red Sox fried chicken turmoil...

it will be interesting if Theo adds these two castoffs.

Strength coach and assistant trainer let go. So the strength coach tells Boston radio...

Page said there were four players in particular -- one position player, one starting pitcher (not Beckett, although Beckett had a weight problem) and two relievers -- whose fitness was deemed unsatisfactory at the end of the season.

http://espn.go.com/boston/mlb/story/_/id/7189...

"There was a lot of grumblings but I think that whole chicken-and-beer thing has gotten a lot of unnecessary play, to be honest with you," he said. "I really didn't see chicken in the clubhouse all that often.

"If they were drinking beer it was probably upstairs and I wasn't up there. You'll see the starting pitcher drink a beer when he comes out of the game, that's pretty common. In my opinion it wasn't as rampant as it's gotten to be made out to be."

Gee, I wonder if one of those relief pitchers is the one who has been summoned from the bullpen by the manager holding his arms out wide.

The consensus there is that the Dodgers would have to get permission from the bankruptcy judge to make an outlay like they would need for Fielder and that's unlikely to happen. They compared it to the Rangers MLB takeover (this was when the Rangers lost their first pick because they weren't allowed to commit $6 million).

They didn't say the Mets were keen to trade Wright, but figured they'd be open to it.

Heard Levine's buddy Hendry interviewed on his Talking Baseball show this am.

I actually was impressed just how Hendry was just gushing with praise for Theo calling it a "Grand Slam" for the Cubs.

He had not one gram of malice or bitterness in anything he said over the ten minutes I listened to for his former organization. A class guy, in spite of his mediocrity as a GM.

I certainly can see why he has built successful relationships with colleagues and players.

Levine was pimping for him of course. Called him one of the hottest FAs in baseball. Ha.

for those of us that don't care about the college footballs...

5pm (EST) game 4 of the Taiwan/MLB barnstorming "all-star" games.

8pm (EST) AFL "all-star/prospects" game.

both on MLB Network.

wood bat baseball...get it while the ground isn't frozen.

Junior Lake is supposedly playing SS and batting 3rd tonight for the East. I haven't seen the starting pitchers listed anywhere yet.

SP's are Danny Huxler vs Gerritt Cole.

can't wait to see g.cole vs. wood bats.

d.hultzen going, not huxler, btw.

Close.

sweet...they're letting the kids wear the uniform of the pro club rather than their AFL team uniform.

wow...junior lake showing why people don't consider him much of a SS.

also, g.cole is getting smacked around early...and hultzen has a killer change today...and good slider.

5-0. Yikes.

The earlier play by Lake was pretty lame.

seeing all these empty seats vs. what's on the field is making me want to be in AZ right now...well, that and it's cold where I'm at.

It's cold in Hotlanta?

i'm in NC...it's mid-40s F currently.

Cole lasted 2/3rds of an inning. Maybe Trey McNutt actually will get in the game tonight.

c.carpenter gets some work...fastball around 96mph for the most part.

t.mcnutt in...faced 1 batter...threw a horrible changeup, a 97mph fastball fouled off, and a killer curve he got a swinging strike-3 on.

lame he's only facing 1 batter...meh.

Sat, 11/05/2011 - 6:21pm — crunch
wow...junior lake showing why people don't consider him much of a SS.

==============================

CRUNCH: Junior Lake's is a below-average defender no matter where he plays, but his best defensive position is 3B.

Sat, 11/05/2011 - 6:09pm — crunchNew

sweet...they're letting the kids wear the uniform of the pro club rather than their AFL team uniform
==================================

CRUNCH: AFL team caps are worn by the members of each AFL club, but otherwise the players always wear the uniform of their MLB club. Other than the cap, there are no AFL team uniforms.

In the early days of the AFL back in the 1990's there were team uniforms for each AFL club, and the players wore their MLB team's patch on their sleeve. But AFL players have been wearing their MLB club's uniform for quite a few years now.

gotcha...thnx

Don't tell me what happens. I'm recording it while I watch the Hawgs play.

via gordo witty via rotowurld:

"Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times reports that Indians bench coach Sandy Alomar Jr., Red Sox bench coach DeMarlo Hale and Rays bench coach Dave Martinez are all being considered for the Cubs' vacant managerial position."

...just end the media dog and pony show already...please...pick a guy, everyone's gonna be sick of him in 1-2 seasons anyway.

...and it looks like Hale wins the "token minority interview" sweepstakes for the Cubs...hope he gets a steak dinner out of it...maybe a nice hotel room with HBO.

Have to get one token guy in there before they hire Sveum (if he doesn't go to Boston) or Maddux (if he doesn't go to Boston).

bo porter can't interview everywhere...hale needs to take some pressure off porter and his travel schedule for token interviews.

Alomar jr. And martinez are white guys?
Everyone else has figured out why they're doing these press interviews , right?

the token black interview has become an institution...don't belittle the contributions of dave stewart, terry pendleton, or recent favorite bo porter...though sandy jr. has done enough token interviews, himself. sandy can be the token hispanic in the token black pool...that's extra tokeny.

They need to interview Token from South Park.

lulz...jim thome got his own press conference.

1 million year old future HOF bench player looking for 200-300 ab's on a NL team...awesome. i miss ken griffey jr...

btw, he's expecting to see time at 1st next year and is preparing over the winter for it.

For Philly, it's almost a defensive upgrade.

Dan Duquette allegedly about to become the O's new GM after 100 others turned it down.

i didn't even know Dook was still around...evidently he's been running a collegiate summer league team for many years.

Certainly not the worst hire. He had a large part to play in that 2004 Red Sox title team. I lived in Boston from 95-02 and those were some damn good Sox teams on the field.

If Cubs need a "token" candidate they could just interview Listach. I don't think Hale is a token interview.

i was just b/s'ing about it because of the amount of black interviewees vs. how many actually get hired...a lot of teams seem to have that 1 black dude interview and there seems to be a "flavor of the moment" depending on blocks of years. i have no idea how interested or uninterested they are with hale.

taking a look at team rosters while the taiwan game is going on...i didn't realize just how horrible the A's bats were...i mean, i knew they were going to be bad in 2011, but wow...

1 guy with a 800+ OPS...only 3 with 700+ OPS...only 3 with .340+ OB% (all 3 were part time players, though 2 (sizemore/weeks) should be a 2012 starters)...only 1 guy with more than 20 HR (29, next closest 14).

5 years of suck going strong...well, they did have a .500 season a couple years ago.

Chris Carpenter now pitching.

Notes on this weeks schedule:

Pete Mackanin mentioned Saturday that Epstein and Hoyer told him they are anticipating the Cubs managerial search to take about two weeks (from CCO; http://tinyurl.com/78ypa94).

PSully writes that the signing of Joe Bohringer will be "officially" announced on Monday. Some Sabermetricallly inclined scouting quotes from JB in the article.
http://tinyurl.com/83qv2l5

Dave Kaplan says Sandy Alomar Jr will interview next week (probably after Mike Maddux on Wednesday). He also mentions the Cubs will talk to DeMarlo Hale (not sure if that equals an interview).
http://tinyurl.com/73tyqp5

though it's an important part of his package it's almost criminal to think of Bohringer as just a "stats guy"...the guy uses them and loves them, but he is very much a eyes-on-the-player evaluator beyond the stats. imo, he's the pickup of the offseason for the suit-crew.

Short video of MacKanin press interview

http://www.chicagotribune.com/videogallery/65...

Rogers weekly Trib "whispers" piece has a quote from BA's Jim Callis on Junior Lake:

Jim Callis: "He might have the best infield arm in the entire minors, he has above-average raw power and he's suddenly running wild on the bases this year. He probably winds up moving to third base in the long run because he's so big (6 foot 3, 215 pounds), but he has the tools to profile as an everyday guy there."

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/sc-spt-1...

Is the "hit" tool no longer a requirement for MLB 3rd basemen?

I have no idea when this happened...snowmobility at Wrigley?

http://www.chicagotribune.com/videogallery/65...

one more thing Theo did last week...

Epstein met with Mayor Rahm Emanuel at City Hall on Thursday, but Emanuel said there was no lobbying for Wrigley changes on Epstein's behalf.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball...

Not sure I saw this posted before.

This was a Levine blog post from thursday but it had more MacKanin stuff on the interview process developed by Theo.

Also mentions the Theo compensation (the only GM to President comp was McFail to the Cubs for $200K and single A player, Hector Trinidad). Plus minor Z and Greg Maddux updates.

http://espn.go.com/blog/chicago/cubs/post/_/i...

Boston press sure likes to poke needles in everyone's eyes. Who is the Redsox Team ophthalmologist?

Boston writer Cafaldo on the two approaches to modern managing

There are the strong ones such as...Dusty Baker, etc. And there are the ones who take a lot of input from their front offices. The latter guys used to be called “puppets,’’ but it is now an accepted way to conduct business.

http://tinyurl.com/8yachqm

I note that none of his He-Man Rugged Individualist This-Team-Will-Win-Because-I-Will-It-So types are actually available. So there's that. Also, he seems to have a hard time defining exactly what he is talking about: "If you look at World Series winners since 2000, you have the strong, traditional managers [BECAUSE I SAID THEY ARE, DAMMIT] winning nine of 12. Francona won two of the other titles, and the third was the Yankees’ Joe Girardi, who is more in line with the Red Sox Way of managing on the field, though traditional in many other ways."

Um, what? Gee, Girardi *looks* like such a General Patton out there; is Cafaldo saying he's not? Or sometimes he is and sometimes he isn't? Or is Cafaldo just making up an artificial construct to a) keep up the pretense that Gritty, Manly Manliness wins ballgames, and b) bash Terry Francona again?

joe torre was a puppet...it was kinda sad. he couldn't survive outside out of the hired gun atmosphere of the yanks, either. his tenure in LA lacked leadership...probably because he hadn't had to use that skill in quite a while. also, this is my view and others will/can argue he did have leadership...i'm totally not getting into a pissing contest over steiny's hand puppet.

if you want to judge him by wins and losses he's awesome, though...meh and meh.

...and francona by his own admission had issues managing the hired guns in BOS. judging by how he was talking, though, it's hard to tell how much is on him and how much is on the players...either way it seems he lost control of his clubhouse last season at the very least.

Sorry, here comes the pissing contest. I seriously never thought I would be sitting around defending Joe Torre, but my god, it is totally offensive to call the guy a puppet. 13 years of straight puppetry, nothing more? Just a mouthpiece, a cipher, a ventriloquist's dummy? Did he ever do a lick of work? Nah. Did he fill out a single lineup card? Probably not, just downloaded them from the team's server. Did he manage, I don't know, the worst media in the world, the highest-ego players in the world, and the highest-ego-and-worst owner in the world? Nope, never happened. Just coasted the entire time.

This is Cafaldo's fallacy (caffallacy?) writ very large -- if you don't cut the figure of a rugged, jut-jawed old-school Man, you're a puppet. Or if you work for a boss whom everybody knows is overweening and hateful, you're a puppet. Nuts to all that. The idea of some nimrod sportswriter deciding Who's Manly and Who's a Lazy Pencilneck is beyond absurd, and I'm sure Cafaldo would feel like crap if somebody told him that his whatever-year career was nothing but puppetry on behalf of his editor or corporate-titan owner. It's unfair speculation at best.

torre was so lost in LA until manny ramirez showed up and lost when manny finally left...

and yeah, it may be unfair speculation on my part...or at least an over-exageration...but i was never a fan of much i heard about torre and how he managed his players, even in NY. calm, "we'll get them tomorrow," never asking for too much...but to me it seems more like he got used to showing up and being there more than managing personalities and building a cohesive unit.

in Venezuela Winter League game...7th HR for LaHair.

lol. That's kind of cool.

I wonder how many HRs Z has in the winter league. I bet he could hit a few.

I hope LaHair gets a shot at some legitimate playing time at 1B, LF, and/or RF, considering no one of much interest is blocking him at any of those positions (nor would he be blocking much of anyone, unless Colvin manages a major resurgence).

Muskat tweets...Carlos Zambrano gave up 2 runs on 4 hits, including solo HR by LaHair, in 2 2/3 innings in Caribes' 5-4 loss to Magallanes Sunday

http://tinyurl.com/7bdkuvg

MLB sweeps all 5 games vs. Taiwan all-stars.

There were some good games considering how much talent the Taiwan team faced.

Yeonis Cespedes, somtimes spelled with two "n's". A Cuban escapee who tied the league HR record this year.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/bullpen/Yoe...

According to a rather amusing write up on him at BP, he's going to command around $30 million.

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php...

He's such a fantastic athlete that those silver balls you see in the background are used by Cespedes for shot put practice.

figures it came from Edgar Mercedes...he's a really shitty person...him and the 'born to play' baseball factory...and John Mercedes, too...

everything that comes from his mouth and that academy needs to be double-then-triple checked...for both teams and players.

that said, y.cespedes is a known commodity aside from medical records...

Jonathan "Chris Archer" Sanchez and LHP Ryan Verdugo to Royals for Melky Cabrera

Damn. I was hoping we could have gotten him for a Marlon Byrd-type. Nice deal for the Royals.

seems pretty even to me, unless this Verdugo guy is a someone

http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/play...

Maybe so. It just seems to my uneducated viewpoint that pitchers of Sanchez's quality are much harder to get than hitters of Cabrera's.

We not only have a Marlon Byrd type, we have the actual Marlon Byrd!

Right. Should have just said what I meant! :)

Wow. Nice deal for the royals. Thought SF would be able to get more for Sanchez.

i know competent CF's are at a premium, but SF having to give up a fringe prospect with great stuff (90-93mph fastball, lefty) along with sanchez is kinda "damn, really?"...even if the kid ends up back in the pen it's still an interesting piece to give up to the royals that i imagine they'd like to keep around a couple more years at the very least.

Yea- I really don't understand this deal from sf's perspective. While Sanchez's value is low right now because of a down year, I'd take him over Melky Cabrera in a second. And SF had to throw in a decent/fringe prospect to make this work as well?

I don't get it.

you don't get trading away a pitcher with a career 97 ERA+ and one good, flukey BABIP-infused season?

nice stuff, can't throw a strike, rarely makes it to inning 7 (if I read that correctly) and played in a nice pitcher's park with a good defense.

Melky's just 26 and right at the point you can hope he'd maintain a couple of really good years. Not that he's an All-Star, but an everyday player for a 5th starter...pretty even deal depending on how the other pitcher pans out.

I may be over-valuing Sanchez's career year. But I'd argue that Carbrera's career year wasn't even that good.

I just like Sanchez's stuff, even if he can't control it.

118 wRC+ wasn't even that good? 7th best among CF's behind McCutchen, ahead of Maybin, Upton, Bourn, Adam Jones.

Defense seems to be a little meh the last 2 years, but not sure how much how I trust those numbers. Sabean and Co. are usually pretty good at evaluating that.

as Neal mentioned, maybe he'll figure it out and turn into Randy Johnson, maybe he'll implode and turn into Oliver Perez (the bad version). I think his name is worth more than anything he's done.

The Melk Man turns 28 in August 2012.

age 26 season last year...should have said will be 27 though.

I could see a team viewing Sanchez as Oliver Perez 2.0, whose value could collapse at any given time, so anything you get for him being a pretty decent trade.

i'm amused that Sanchez's fluke 2010 is worth more than Melky's fluke 2011 to many folks.

i'm amused CF's can command so much damn money even in this day/age...yeah, not everyone can do it, but it's one of those positions that i appreciate when the GM "goes cheap" and sinks the money into other places.

it's also one reason i considered the byrd deal pretty good...it wasn't that i was expecting 20+ homers...it's that guys who hit only marginally better got 10+ million rather than 5 million.

Byrd was a good cheap get by Hendry...Granderson would have been a better get.

Byrd also needs to go away.

which CF'er got $10M that offseason?

Byrd also needs to go away. in a deadline deal to the Braves last August.

Really, Jim? Did you really think Byrd was a guy the new GM would want to build the team around?

every OF'r in MLB was linked to the braves...mark bowman (ATL MLB writer...carrie m. type position) listed like 10 a week.

that said, there's no CF'r in the works the cubs can fall back on...and check out how much melk is evidently worth.

i wouldn't be sad to see byrd go...i just don't think it's that important whether he stays or goes...or who would be next...or how much that would cost. there's not a lot impressive or cost saving out there, imo...

keep in mind that 3rd year arb eligable bj upton got 5m last year after his 2009 and 2010 mediocre seasons. CF'rs are still oddly overpriced though they're not league-wide rare...mediocrity still pays off like SS/2nd do for CF'rs.

that said, there's no CF'r in the works the cubs can fall back on

other than the Cubs best prospect

...and check out how much melk is evidently worth.

a very flawed 4th/5th starter with good stuff and no control that was playing in a nice pitching environment?

Not to mention Slappy Campana.

other than the Cubs best prospect

yeah, true...not convienced he's ready, but hard to argue against it...especially if they insure it by bringing r.johnson back...or campy learns how to bunt with ichiro/pierre precision.

Colvin was decent in CF, too. Obviously he'd have to manage to hit at least over .200 to justify any playing time, though. Colvin managing a .250 batting average and 5% walk rate might be better than Campana overall, and not too far off from Byrd.

Colvin is going to be good next year. I can feel it in my loins.

i bet that's not the only thing you feel in your loins

Awwww, yeah!

Does the fact Hendry's teams won 3 division titles are a reflection on his skills or the fact the Cubs play in the NL Central the bigger factor? Maybe, 3 division titles were a vastly under-performing result for a franchise with the largest resources in the division.

there were some good teams...esp. some of the better years...they just weren't good enough when it counted.

and bleh on those quick 1st round exists in 07/08...felt like getting hit by a bus it was so quick.

In hindsight, would the team nave been projected to have been "in the hunt" had doughnut-man not traded for Bradley, and kept the team somewhat intact?

It was miserable offensive baseball for the Cubs in 2008 until like, June, that year. And DeRosa broke his wrist subsequently that year with his new team. However, with A-Ram's annual injury, there was no super-sub like DeRo to take his place.

jim edmonds made 2008 solid...it was an awesome year all-around for a lot of guys.

2009 could have been better than it ended up...meh.

Even had we brought back Edmonds and DeRosa (assuming that could have been done, Edmonds probably wanted at least $5 million himself), we still finished 8 games out (9 out of the WC). Those two guys accounted for 5.6 wins in 2008, so based on that sort of rudimentary look, even bringing them both back and if they performed as well as they did in 2008, something highly unlikely, we still don't win the division.

cubs needed a lot more in 2009 than edmonds and dero...even with the Aram drama. dero would have been handy, though.

the fontenot side of the fonte/baker duo didn't pull his weight...bradley/aram/soto were injured on/off....and so was every starter not named dumpster (and i guess r.wells). at least the SP was good when they weren't missing games.

Cardinals and Astros sure weren't shabby most of those years, made the World Series 4 times.

besides the Pirates, I can't imagine it's that much different than the rest of the divisions in baseball not named the AL East.

the Cubs actual payroll advantage didn't start really start until 2007. A look through the USA Today database since 2003 and them and the Cardinals and Astros were within 5-7M of each other (to varying degrees w/ Cards outspending Cubs in 2003 and 2006) until 2007, when Cubs had about a $10M advantage and then over $20M since.

I hear ya, but looking at his career Sanchez's adjusted numbers show someone who will probably put up a WAR in the 2-3 range next year. Cabrera has been a bit more inconsistent in that regard, especially with the his flukey 2011 BABIP. Bottom line, I think once both revert/(progress?) to the mean Sanchez will probably be more valuable, probably by about a win above replacement. But it's not an egregious deal by any stretch.

Sanchez is going to cost more thatn Melky in 2012, too.

ultimately, Royals got a little more upside and a back-end rotation guy and a decent relief prospect for a steady regular in the prime years of his career. If he moves off center, his defense will probably go from meh to awesome, but his offense takes a hit.

seems even to me...

fwiw, Sabean says the market was pretty tepid for Sanchez after the year he had, which is what you'd expect him to say.

his defense will probably go from meh to awesome, but his offense takes a hit.

Technically, it won't take a hit, it just won't be comparatively as good. It may even get a little better without the stress of playing center. The guess is that he will play center, at least for 2012, though.

sure, just meant for those that evaluate trades based on Fangraphs WAR, they'll suddenly think he's truly awesome.

mlbtr says Terry Ryan taking over for Bill Smith as Twinkies GM.

See what a tough year brings ya even if they play the Twins way?

http://espn.go.com/mlb/team/transactions/_/na...

Mike Maddux withdraws his name from the Bosox managerial quest, he was scheduled to be in Boston tuesday for an interview. Not sure what that means for the Cubs.

Joe McDonald twitter...

http://tinyurl.com/78mhecg

Peter Abraham, Boston Globe...

http://www.boston.com/sports/baseball/redsox/...

probably carpenter for m.maddux trade around the corner. =p

We're in a good situation," Maddux says of his Ranger job. "My family moved here[Texas], the kids will be in school for 3 more years here."

presuming we'll be hearing same thing about Cubs rather soon, although they do have the Astros in the division for a few more seasons, so maybe he's still considering it.

Doesn't sound like his heart would be in it though...

If the Cubs hired Maddux as manager and he brought in his own pitching coach, wouldn't the Cubs be hiring a pitching guy to watch over another pitching guy?

ESPN...
He had been scheduled to interview for the Chicago Cubs' managerial post as well. It is unclear whether he has pulled out of consideration there, too.
----
http://espn.go.com/chicago/mlb/story/_/id/720...

Cubs might not say much until later since the Sveum interview is probably going on right now.

Rob's MM quote was from a Peter Gammons tweet. Supposedly the Cubs interview has not been scheduled yet.

This is from a mlb blog site/TR Sullivan (Rangers)...Maddux has not withdrawn from Cubs but will discuss with his family tonight

He has not done the same with the Cubs. He is still scheduled to interview with them but said he wants to talk it over with his family on Monday night.

http://trsullivan.mlblogs.com/2011/11/07/madd...

The Chicago White Sox have a really, really, really horrid farm system.

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php...

MLB Network's new "stats and analytical" show is trying to sell "tourney baseball" for everyday use...aka, use baseball pitchers when you need them, as if every game matters and the offseason starts in a few weeks no matter what.

this is awesome until you step back from the stats and realize...oh yeah, you need humans who can work 70+ times a year and do it 1-3+ innings at a time.

...and their first guest was analyst peter gammons. at least rob neyer is on board, too...he was the 2nd guest...neither got to comment on their first story pimping "the future of baseball" managing pitchers tourney-style.

...and now they've brought on gammons/neyer....only he's asking them about using it in playoff situations only.

okay...nice start Clubhouse Confidential.

it's going to be tricky to "dumb down" a stats-oriented show for the masses without sounding dumb...someone needs to feel-out how to do this kind of show, though.

...and as i'm writing this they've moved onto something else. the show has a clunky flow so far...i dunno if it's live, but i don't think it is...it may be.

...and now they're talking to larry bowa about doing it everyday....

*shrug*

Then well known statistician Larry Bowa comes on and shoots the whole thing down.

It seems like they're taking the show much too half-assed so far. Who's the target market? BP readers already know more than these guys, and the "average fan" is going to think it's all hogwash.

20 minutes in and they finally get a story that should have led...how the yanks use "analytics" with a cashman interview.

it should be a show with neat nuggets of awesome, but it looks like a lot of "fluff" will surround it...like the useless fluff that ended that interview with cashman...

I find it's always good to judge a show's merit by the first episode.

unless they're re-working the show based upon this launch i'll stand by:

"it should be a show with neat nuggets of awesome, but it looks like a lot of "fluff" will surround it"

there was a lot of fluff that would infuriate/frustrate even average-researched stat types. but yeah, it'll evolve.

A first episode is sort of like a band's first album. You have forever to make it, so you should probably get it right. Now they're under time constraints to produce shows.

I don't agree with that. Look at Conan, as just one example. He was terrible when he started.

Conan wasn't a new show.

I was talking about when Conan started on Late Night in '93 or '94. It was a new show, new staff, etc.

Conan is currently unwatchable.

Not a very apt comparison. It wasn't a new show, it was the same show, format etc, with a different host, and probably new writers. The "slightly more risque, later variety show" was already a proven commodity at that point. That would be more like the first Van Hagar album.

Conan had never been a host before. Hell, he'd barely been on TV except for bit parts on SNL. He had to learn ont he job. It was a new show to HIM. So the point is that look at him then and follow how he got better at his job. I never once said he was being an innovator. Of course the talk show is a well-worn format.

But the show that we're discussing isn't...

It was a new show, put on by different people, with a different host, that just happened to have the same name. You know this.

Your disagreeability obfuscates the larger point, which is Conan was a disaster at first and improved greatly.

Couldn't you guys sidestep this whole Conan debate simply by listing some other shows that got better after the pilot?

to bring it back to Clubhouse Confidential...

based on the first 2 episodes they have a ways to go to back up the pompous boasting about baseball analysis they promise in the commercials for the show.

it's early, but even with "that's not happening" stuff being debated there's still way too much fluff vs. discussion/information.

for instance...they questioned cashman for a few minutes about the yanks uses of "analytics" then they spent a couple minutes asking him a series of rapid-fire questions akin to "what's your favorite food" and "boxers or briefs".

the commercials for the show are straight-on serious as hell notices to the public that this is the thinking man's show and it's going to reward bucking "conventional" baseball thinking...it's basically baiting those Moneyball casuals. it's coming off wishy-washy early...trying to pander to casuals while not getting in over their heads with the casuals.

a show(s) like this needs to exist, but it's clunky going early on, imo.

btw, it's worth mentioning that this show only gets 30 minutes...the show is being shaped through editing.

the cashman interview i just mentioned runs about 5 minutes on the show, but the unedited interview runs about 15.

they got the goods...they're just presenting it in a frustrating way and adding fluff where it's not needed.

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