Joe Maddon loves books, but he doesn’t manage by one. Maddon said that particular book was written so long ago it doesn’t really apply today. Maddon is known for thinking outside of the box and trying things with his lineups to get the most out of his players.
After he took over as Cubs manager, Joe Maddon was asked about lineup construction.
“I think every manager’s dream is to have a lineup that he really likes 1-8 or 1-9 and stay with it versus a righty and then stay with it versus a lefty,” Maddon said. “I think we have to be creative in regards to how we build the lineup versus righties and lefties.”
“When you just want to talk about the static stuff, it’s really easy and everybody would love to have, it’s not that easy to do and be successful especially with all of the moving parts we have there with the Cubs and Wrigley. I am really eager to look into all of that. I’ve already talked to Theo [Epstein] and Jed [Hoyer] and some of the brainiacs over there to start getting me some intel and information regarding how to do all of that stuff.”
Joe Maddon has either coached or managed in the American League but has some experience with managing a game under National League rules.
“The National League, I love it, we’ve played against it in Interleague ball, but there is a lot of stuff I have to learn and I need some help,” Maddon said. “I am all about getting help and getting other people’s opinions on things.”
When the Rays were at Wrigley in early August, Maddon batted his pitcher eighth in all three games. A tactic Tony LaRussa used for many years with the Cardinals in order to give Albert Pujols more opportunities to hit with runners on base.
According to a report from the Tribune, Joe Maddon has asked the Cubs analytics department “to research information related to pitchers batting eighth.”
Joe Maddon used 129 different lineups with the Rays last year, down from 147 in 2013 and 151 in 2012. If the Cubs can show there are benefits to hitting the pitcher eighth, Maddon has shown he is not opposed to trying a variety of lineup combinations to produce wins.
Tuesday was the deadline for teams to tender contracts to players for the 2015 season. The Cubs tendered contracts to eight of the ten arbitration eligible players and all 22 automatic renewal (0-3 men) players. The Cubs did not offer contracts to John Baker and Wesley Wright for the 2015 season.
Thirty-two players around the league were non-tendered Tuesday. Teams can re-sign players that were not offered contracts for next year. Here’s the complete list of players that were non-tendered Tuesday.
- INF Gordon Beckham (Angels)
- LHP Wade LeBlanc (Angels)
- RHP Yoslan Herrera (Angels)
- INF/OF Kyle Blanks (Athletics)
- OF Andrew Brown (Athletics)
- OF John Mayberry Jr. (Blue Jays)
- OF Andy Dirks (Blue Jays)
- 1B Justin Smoak (Blue Jays)
- RHP Kris Medlen (Braves)
- RHP Brandon Beachy (Braves)
- RHP Gus Schlosser (Braves)
- INF Daniel Descalso (Cardinals)
- C John Baker (Cubs)
- LHP Wesley Wright (Cubs)
- INF Carlos Rivero (Mariners)
- OF Eric Young Jr. (Mets)
- INF Everth Cabrera (Padres)
- 1B Gaby Sanchez (Pirates)
- RHP Chaz Roe (Pirates)
- RHP Alexi Ogando (Rangers)
- LHP Michael Kirkman (Rangers)
- INF Adam Rosales (Rangers)
- INF Juan Francisco (Red Sox)
- RHP Logan Ondrusek (Reds)
- RHP Curtis Partch (Reds)
- LHP Kraig Sitton (Rockies)
- LHP Francisley Bueno (Royals)
- LHP Scott Snodgress (White Sox)
- RHP Scott Carroll (White Sox)
- LHP David Huff (Yankees)
- OF Slade Heathcott (Yankees)
- RHP Jose Campos (Yankees)
David Ross and the Back-Up Backstops
The Cubs were believed to be looking at ways to upgrade the catcher position defensively prior to not offering a contract to John Baker for next season. The Cubs could still bring him back, but the team has only two catchers on the roster, and “could use a veteran catcher” to work with Welington Castillo according to Comcast SportsNet.
Patrick Mooney has mentioned that free agent David Ross might be a fit, even though no one has linked him to the Cubs. Ross is available and is one of three catchers the Braves are looking at for their backup job according to Mark Bowman. Ross, along with A.J. Pierzynski and Jose Molina, are at the top of the Braves’ list.
The 37-year old catcher (turns 38 in March) has an excellent reputation as a clubhouse leader and a very good relationship with Jon Lester. Ross said on MLB Network Radio he would not mind reuniting with Lester on whichever team he signs with this winter. Ross was asked about what he thought about Lester signing with the Cubs and he thinks it would be a good fit.
Nick Cafardo reported late last month that Ross is wondering “whether his status with the Red Sox depends on whether they sign Jon Lester.”
With a back-up job now open, would David Ross help Jon Lester feel more comfortable about signing with the Cubs?
Dan Connolly reported Monday there was less than a 50 percent chance the Orioles would be able to re-sign Nick Markakis. Dan Duquette shot down the reports stating his team was out of the mix for the veteran outfielder.
While the Cubs were mentioned as a possibility for Markakis if he was to leave Baltimore, according to Jon Heyman the Braves, Blue Jays, Giants and Orioles are among the teams interested in Markakis.
All four of the teams Heyman reported as having interest in Markakis could use the veteran outfielder, who is believed to be looking for a four-year contract. The Braves have already traded one outfielder, is trying to unload B.J. Upton and would like to max out Justin Upton’s value. The Jays would like Melky Cabrera back but are looking for alternatives if he signs elsewhere. And the Giants are exploring several options after losing out on Pablo Sandoval while waiting for Jon Lester to make up his mind.
According to Dan Connolly, Markakis had dinner Monday night in Baltimore with a Braves contingent that included Fredi Gonzalez.
News, Notes and Rumors
Tim Wilken and Sam Hughes were among the candidates to be the next scouting director for the Arizona Diamondbacks. According to Jon Heyman, neither Wilken nor Hughes is still in the running for the job. Heyman reported Mark Snipp (Reds) and Deric Ladnier (Nationals) are the two finalists.
According to Kiley McDaniel, Cuban INF Yoan Moncada is in the United States and staying with his agent in Florida. Moncada has not received an unblocking license from the OFAC.
Another one of Jon Lester’s former teammates remains on the Cubs’ radar. According to a report from Comcast SportsNet, the Cubs have shown interest in Jonny Gomes. At least six teams are in the mix for Gomes according to multiple reports. Gomes also played for Joe Maddon and with Eric Hinske in Tampa.
Darren Wolfson reported the Twins reached out to Rick Renteria to interview for the bench coach’s job. Renteria declined.
And speaking of the Twins, Torii Hunter agreed to terms on a one-year contract with the Twins for $10.5 million according to Ken Rosenthal.
The Orioles are shifting gears after not re-signing Nelson Cruz and are showing strong interest in Michael Morse according to a report from Bob Nightengale. The Cubs have had internal conversations about Michael Morse.
Bruce Levine mentioned Carl Crawford as a possible option for the Cubs several weeks back. After Andrew Friedman acquired OF Chris Heisey from the Reds, Ken Rosenthal took a look at what it will cost for the Dodgers to trade one of its outfielders.
The Dodgers avoided arbitration with former Cubs’ second baseman Darwin Barney and signed him to a one-year contract for $2.525 million according to Dylan Hernandez.
Jayson Stark reported one executive he spoke with Tuesday predicted Max Scherzer would not sign until March.
James Russell might get a shot to start next season. The Braves are talking about stretching Russell out as a starter in the spring, at least early in the exhibition season, and see what happens according to Mark Bowman.
According to Bob Nightengale, the Phillies are “doing intensive homework on the Dodgers minor leaguers” to prep for possible talks involving Cole Hamels.
Buster Olney posted his ranking of the top 10 relievers in the game: Craig Kimbrel (Braves), Aroldis Chapman (Reds), Wade Davis (Royals), Andrew Miller, Dellin Betances (Yankees), David Robertson, Greg Holland (Royals), Kenley Jansen (Dodgers), Cody Allen (Indians) and Sean Doolittle (Athletics).
According to MLB.com, Cubs bide their time while Jon Lester mulls his options.
Anthony Castrovince reported Lester will cause a Hot Stove domino effect … and he thinks Lester will wind up signing with the Cubs.
Jim Bowden ranked the top 10 free agent pitchers for next off-season that could be traded.
The Cardinals are giving away a Harry Caray bobblehead to the first 25,000 fans through the gates prior to the Sept. 7 game against the Cubs. The bobblehead has a voice chip of Caray calling Stan Musial’s 3000th hit, which happened against the Cubs at Wrigley Field on May 13, 1958.
This Day In Cubstory
2009 – Cubs signed free agent Bobby Scales
2009 – Cubs traded Jake Fox and Aaron Miles to the A’s for Ronny Morla, Matt Spencer and Jeff Gray
2008 – Cubs signed free agent Chad Fox
2003 – Cubs signed free agent LaTroy Hawkins
2002 – Cubs released Chris Stynes
1993 – Cubs signed free agent Randy Veres
1991 – Cubs signed free agent Mike Morgan
1990 – Cubs selected Russ McGinnis from the Athletics in the minor league draft
1990 – Cubs released Kevin Coffman
1982 – Manny Corpas, born
1979 – White Sox selected Bruce Kimm from the Cubs in the Rule 5 Draft
1973 – Cubs selected Herb Hutson from the Orioles in the Rule 5 Draft
1971 – Cubs acquired Jose Cardenal from the Brewers for Jim Colborn, Brock Davis and Earl Stephenson
1963 – Damon Berryhill, born
1958 – Mike Martin, born
1956 – Cubs selected Cal Neeman from the Yankees in the Rule 5 Draft
1952 – Cubs traded Dick Manville and $25,000 to the Pirates for Clyde McCullough
1951 – Cubs selected Chris Kitsos from the Dodgers in the Minor League Draft
1951 – Browns selected Vern Morgan from the Cubs in the Minor League Draft
1951 – Cubs selected El Tappe from the Yankees in the Minor League Draft
1951 – Cubs selected Bob Zick from the Athletics in the Minor League Draft
1951 – Cubs acquired Toby Atwell from the Dodgers for Carmen Mauro
1941 – Cubs acquired Bob Bowman from the Giants for Hank Leiber
1937 – Cubs purchased Johnny Moore from the Phillies