If you haven’t heard, Chili Davis has been dismissed from his position as Cubs hitting coach. I can think of a number of valid reasons to have terminated Davis, but it was actually comments from players during exit interviews that sealed his fate. There’s no point in rehashing the statistics, but there are a few things to watch for going forward:
- Who will replace Davis? That’s the obvious question as the next hire will be the team’s third hitting coach in three seasons.
- Where is Joe Maddon in all of this? The coaches are essentially an extension of the manager. At some point, Maddon has to take charge of the situation to make sure that his coaches share the same philosophy and strategy.
- What about the front office? When the Cubs fired John Mallee last year, the company line was basically that Mallee, who coaches for the Phillies now, would have been retained if Davis had not been available.
- Which players voted Davis out? If I had to guess, I’d say Anthony Rizzo would have given a very forthright response if asked. He’s started cold the last two seasons but finished 2018 as the team’s strongest hitter. And here’s the thing: When your team president spends the majority of his season recap speaking of an offense that “broke at some point” and finishes by stating that the team will start valuing productivity above all else, one might point to an obvious scapegoat. It will be interesting to see which hitters improve next season.
- Would the Cubs consider Manny Ramirez? As a hitter, Ramirez was known for long batting practice and tee sessions as well as tirelessly reviewing video of his swings and of opposing pitchers.
Theo Epstein vowed changes would be made. I’d say he intends to be true to his word. It should be one of the most interesting winters since 2015-16.
Cubs News & Notes
David Kaplan of ESPN 1000 remains insistent that the Cubs offered Kris Bryant a contract extension and that Bryant turned it down. “Whispers are telling me that the Cubs approached Scott Boras to do a massive extension with Kris Bryant in the last several months, and it was turned down by Bryant and Boras,” Kaplan said. “I was told the Cubs offer was more than fair…well north of $200 million.”
So April and June aren’t the last several months? Damn right they are. I was 100% accurate. https://t.co/yXoYhvvjv4
— David Kaplan (@thekapman) October 11, 2018
Bench coach Brandon Hyde has interviewed for the open managerial position with Texas. The Rangers have also interviewed Astros bench coach Joe Espada and Jayce Tingler, who finished the season as the team’s bench coach after the Rangers fired manager Jeff Bannister.
MLB Pipeline named Jason Vosler and Cory Abbot the Cubs minor league prospects of the year. To receive consideration, players must have spent at least half the year in the minors and appeared on the team’s Top 30 Prospects list.
A highlight video is always a great cure for the hangover that results from an abrupt end to a disappointing season.
Playoffs News & Notes
- Baseball is back tonight. The Brewers host the Dodgers in Game 1 of the NLCS. First pitch is scheduled for 7:09 PM and Milwaukee bars should be lit.
- For Wisconsinites who are into pre-gaming, your first beer is on the Rockies. The loser of the Brewers-Rockies series had to pick up the tab — meaning everyone’s first Miller Lite will be on Coors. You can stop in to one of 138 bars across the Milwaukee area Friday from 3-5pm CT to get yours. A bet is a bet, after all.
- Iconic Brewers’ announcer Bob Uecker is really enjoying the team’s run this postseason.
One of Bob Uecker's best moments as a player came against the Dodgers. It was also one of the most worrisome, if you're foolish enough to actually believe him. https://t.co/mdCkknrrx3
— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) October 11, 2018
- If there’s one person who’s been the driving force behind a 96-win season that’s tied for the best in franchise history, it’s Christian Yelich.
- The Brewers bullpen collected 55 of 84 outs in their division series against Colorado.
- The Dodgers announced their rotation for the NLCS. A few hours before Dave Roberts unveiled his rotation, the Brewers announced left-hander Gio Gonzalez will start Game 1.
- The Dodgers’ slew of left-handed starting pitching will force the Brewers to use some sub-optimal lineups. Milwaukee’s strategy is pretty clear: Get to LA’s bullpen as quickly as possible and get the games into the hands of their own bullpen with a legitimate chance to win.
- According to the Bill James postseason formula, the Dodgers will win the series in six games. The formula is a little antiquated these days, but James did boast a 70 percent success rate back in the day.
- The Red Sox are on quite a roll right now, but the Astros are simply scorching.
- Joe West will be the crew chief for the Red-Sox Astros series. Angel Hernandez is not on West’s crew.
Baseball News & Notes
Adam Wainwright has agreed to a one-year deal to pitch for the Cardinals in 2019. It will be his 15th season with the club.
The Yankees are expected to target Diamondbacks’ Patrick Corbin in free agency. Corbin, 29, figures to be one of the most sought-after starters available. The two-time All-Star had a career year in 2018 with a 3.15 ERA and 246 strikeouts across 200 innings.
The Yankees believe that Luis Severino was tipping his pitches in his ALDS loss to the Red Sox. Severino had been struggling for much of the second half of the season, too.
Mark Teixeira is more than a little upset with Aaron Judge.
The 1908 World Series between the Cubs and the Tigers had some of the coolest press coverage ever. The cartoons are simply fascinating. Some of the headlines are worth noting too. A car collision that injured seven described passengers being “hurled about like tenpins.” I thought only Evan Altman wrote like that.
Coverage of Game 1 of the 1908 World Series in cartoon form
[Detroit Free press 10/11/1908]The Cubs beat the Tigers 10-6 pic.twitter.com/fgzKAg0nGF
— Michigan's Past (@MichiganHist) October 11, 2018
They Said It
- “You woke a sleeping giant. Aaron Judge has no rings. And I have a ton of respect for Aaron Judge, I think he will have rings. But when you boast — when you wake a sleeping giant in Boston — on your way out back to Yankee Stadium and then get your butts kicked two games in a row, I just think that you might want to let your bat do the talking. Because Aaron Judge’s bat will talk.” – Mark Teixeira
- “We weren’t looking to sacrifice power and walks in exchange for ground balls and opposite-field hits. But in the second half, that’s what the results were. That’s not what we’re looking for.” – Theo Epstein
Friday Walk Up Song
Better Days (And The Bottom Drops Out) by Citizen King. So long Chili Davis.
Behind the Music: This Milwaukee-based band earned a seven-figure bonus before they ever had a single hit and changed the way record labels now do business. This song was their only hit and the album, Mobile Estates, was the only one they released for the parent label, Warner Bros. Records.