As I mentioned earlier, Dan is on vacation and we won't have an Around the League segment. It will be back next week, I am going to start a new thread and add some other news and notes -- just in case any of you are getting tired of the Joe Maddon pursuit. But, of course, we will have some of that too as it becomes available.
I will be doing some volunteer work later today but I will continue to keep tabs on the situation, as will Mike.
UPDATE: 1:45 PM
Buster Olney writes (insider only) that the Cubs acquisition of Maddon would further add to the Cubs reputation as a future powerhouse. In response to a recent SI article that crowned the Houston Astros as future champions, one executive said,
“I’d bet everything I have that the Cubs will win a World Series before the Astros.”
Olney writes about the Cubs young talent and their payroll flexibility. And that Maddon would add to that immense collection of talent. It is a difficult, but perhaps a necessary move,
In the eyes of rival evaluators, the talent the Cubs are accumulating is staggering, and Maddon would add to that, as a proven high-end manager. Rick Renteria is under contract, yes, and if Maddon replaces him, some of his peers will sympathize with Renteria; he waited so many years for the chance to manage in the big leagues, and now he could be replaced after just one season.
But the Cubs have a vision quest and it is playing out -- and Maddon appears to be a part of it.
Olney adds that the belief is that Joe Maddon as Cubs manager is a fait accompli, but that perception is what may also lead rival execs to have the Cubs investigated for tampering.
Here are a couple of non-Maddon notes that I need to catch up on...
Cubs scout infielder Jung-Ho Kang
A while back, Nick Cafardo wrote that 27 year old KBO infielder Jung-Ho Kang will be posted in November. The old system where there are blind bids will be used, not the more open system we saw with Tanaka. I held back because I wanted to find out as much as I could on him before posting something. As it turned out, it wasn't easy. Perhaps because some of those I asked have intentions of pursuing him. Out of respect, I won't name who those teams are, but we can certainly look to see who The Korean Times reported have been scouting Kang. Those teams are the Cubs, Tigers, Rangers, Padres, Royals, Red Sox, Nationals and Diamondbacks.
As for what Cafardo has heard on Kang, he writes this,
While there’s intrigue over the 40-homer performer, there is still some pushback from scouts who have seen him play on whether he translates to major league baseball. Some of the alarms include the leg kick in his stance that’s very pronounced and lasts deep into his swing. There also has always been skepticism over his ability to play shortstop in the majors, even though he won the Korean version of the Gold Glove.
I have heard similar from scouts who have seen him play. There was a lukewarm vibe and a feeling that perhaps he may be overvalued because of his big HR totals. It was also noted that HRs in the KBO were up in general. He is a player whose skills may not play as well in the MLB and the thought is that a buy low bid is most appropriate, but it seems likely that some team will like him enough to bid high. The age and statistical success are certainly factors in his favor, so it will depend on how teams see him from a scouting standpoint.
Danny Lockhart to AFL
Danny Lockhart has been named to replace Addison Russell in the AZ Fall League. Lockhart is well-regarded within some Cubs circles for his instincts, solid athleticism, and sound fundamental play, traits which should allow him to become a versatile player. I have seen him play often and he has excellent contact skills with a good approach but doesn't project to hit for much power. His size and swing path are more conducive to being a line-drive type than a guy who will provide power. He definitely has a shot to be a big league player but projects more as a utility type.
- Jacob Hannemann is beginning to pick up the pace a bit of late and a 2 for 4 day raised his average to .226 He did get caught stealing and committed an error in the field, so not a great overall game, but it is encouraging that he is starting to hit, even if he isn't walking or hitting for much power. He has one walk and one double in 9 games and 32 PAs.
- Dan Vogelbach has also begun to hit more of late, going 2 for 4 with an RBI and raising his average to .229. He does have 8 walks, however, and has a healthy OBP of .364 in 43 PAs.
- Gerardo Concepcion continues to get roughed up a bit this fall and may make it easier for the Cubs decision as to whether to roster him. He allowed 2 runs in 2 innings, but more importantly, walked a couple of batters. He did strike out two but his ERA stands at 7.56. He has walked 7 and struck out 5 in 8.1 innings.
- Zach Cates has had an up and down fall but one disastrous outing has his ERA at 8.10 overall. He pitched a scoreless inning, walking one and striking out one.
Smokies unveil new logo
- On Wednesday the Tennessee Smokies unveiled their new logos and uniforms, which are more reflective of their affiliation with the Chicago Cubs.
You can see the new uniforms at the link provided above.
Joe Maddon thread...
Nothing new since this morning but I will transfer today's news here for now...
UPDATE: 8:25 AM (10/25)
- Another big market team, the Los Angeles Angels, have said they are staying with Mike Scioscia.
- Meanwhile, a small market team, the Minnesota Twins, say they will talk to Maddon. As I said earlier, I can't imagine Joe Maddon leaving the Rays to manage the Twins. He'd be in the same situation financially (as far as the team, anyway) and he doesn't even get the nice weather.
- As far as my own stance, I want to clarify something. If the Cubs feel hiring Maddon is best for the team, then I am all for it. When I say I feel for Renteria, it doesn't mean it would get in the way of making the best decision. It just means that if the Cubs do decide to bring on Maddon, that they treat Renteria with the respect that he deserves. And based on the way we have seen Epstein and Hoyer conduct business in the past, I have no doubt that they will handle this with class.
- Alan Nero, Maddon's agent, was on The Score with Bruce Levine and Wayne Randazzo. Randazzo summed up the interview well in this tweet,
- Just a thought here but the Cubs silence speaks volumes. Every other potential landing spot with the exception of the Twins, who are the longest of longshots despite being the only team with a current opening, have spoken up to declare that they will not make a managerial change. The Cubs have not done so to this point.
- Not everyone in the industry is happy with this potential move. I spoke to one source who believes it shows a lack of loyalty on Epstein's part and that he would not work for him for that reason. Yes, this is an upgrade but it does not necessarily put the Cubs in a favorable light around the league. We already know rival execs have considered filing tampering charges. The Cubs undoubtedly know this and it will be something they will have to balance. The Cubs would have to feel strongly enough about Maddon as an upgrade to deal with the PR hit they may take for this move.
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