In case you’ve been on an extended vacation or otherwise completely out of the loop, the Cubs will be introducing Joe Maddon as the club’s new manager today at 2 p.m. The news conference will be taking place at the Cubby Bear and will be televised on Comcast SportsNet. Should be a lot of fun.
Maddon’s agent Alan Nero appeared on MLB Network Radio on Sunday and explained the Rays were offering contract proposals that were under market value, and that’s why Maddon opted out. He also called the possibility of the Cubs tampering “silly” and “insulting.”
One new wrinkle to the possible tampering: Marc Topkin wonders if the Cubs were exempt from MLB rules about interviewing minority candidates before hiring Maddon to replace Rick Renteria.
I’m hoping, and somewhat expecting, that the tampering talk is put to rest after today’s news conference.
Around the league
* The Diamondbacks are reportedly interested in trading catcher Miguel Montero, writes Ken Rosenthal. Montero’s offensive numbers have declined the past couple years, but he is known for his excellent pitch-framing abilities. Would the Cubs go after a trade to replace Wellington Castillo? I think it’s possible if things don’t work out with Russell Martin.
* The Yankees probably will make a qualifying offer to David Robertson, according to Jon Heyman. Robertson is one of the top relievers that could be on the free agent market, and apparently the Yankees are willing to extend the $15.3 million option. In 2014, he had a 3.08 ERA (2.68 FIP) with 96 strikeouts in 64.1 innings. Robertson is expected to decline the option and seek a huge multi-year deal.
* Paul Sullivan runs down all of the whacky antics Joe Maddon used with the Rays, including themed dress-up road trips and bringing penguins into the clubhouse to lighten the mood. Sullivan also mentions that a Cubs post-game plane ride under Dale Sveum that featured players dressing as super heroes was inspired by Matt Garza, who got the idea from Maddon. I wonder how managing in Chicago, where the media scrutiny will be infinitely more intense than it ever was in Tampa, will affect these kinds of antics. I hope they continue, and I believe that they will.
* Travis Sawchik from the Pittsburgh Tribune Review takes a look at how playoff teams typically divvy up their payroll. The main conclusion: successful teams usually spread out the money throughout the roster. According to the article, of the playoff teams over the past five years, only nine spent more than 17% of their payroll on a single player, and only eight teams spent 60% or more on their five highest-paid players. Should be interesting how this shakes out next year for the Cubs, after a winter in which they could make a number of high-priced (but not outlandish) signings to complement the abundance of low-cost, young players.
* Will Andrew Friedman regret sticking with Don Mattingly and not bringing Joe Maddon to Los Angeles? Nick Cafardo says a baseball executive told him: “I think it will be a case of, ‘Why didn’t I do what the Cubs did?’ Joe Maddon seems to be the hot manager out there and guys like that aren’t available very often. When Maddon is out there you don’t need a long, drawn-out managerial search. If you can afford him, you hire him. Seems like the Dodgers, Cubs, Phillies, Rangers all could afford him.” I thought, as I’m sure a number of people did, that Maddon would soon be heading to the Dodgers soon after hearing about him opting out. Maybe the timing just wasn’t right.