The Rundown: Maddon Taking Vow of Silence, No Excuse for Cubs Not to Sign Harper, Clarkin Starts Red Line Shuffle
“Don’t ever say stuff just because you think you should. That’s the definition of an asshole.” – Justin Halpern, Shit My Dad Says
Joe Maddon told the Tampa Times he will spend more time on the field with actual coaching and less time with Media obligations . Maddon is responding to a challenge by the front office .
— Bruce Levine (@MLBBruceLevine) November 26, 2018
#Cubs Maddon plans on coaching more and talking less (which covers “re-energized”), figures “lame duck” = “free agent,” says Hickey’s departure not health related. Also, #Rays did well in ‘18, and really need that new stadium to survive in Tampa Bay. https://t.co/XUO4fKpB0Z
— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) November 26, 2018
Silence is the gateway to true enlightenment.
It is nice to know that Joe Maddon has finally realized that busy hands accomplish more when tongues are idle (you may use that, Joe, truncated or in full, when you decide to start talking again). But I’m not buying it, despite the alleged suggestion from Theo Epstein and his front office entourage. No, Maddon is the Plato or Socrates of our generation; the man who has enlightened us via catchy phrases plastered on graphic tees with the following life lessons, among others:
- Do simple better. [Ed. note: This initially said “Do stupid better,” which I left because it was a beautiful oops.]
- Try not to suck.
- We didn’t suck.
- Respect 90.
- That’s a Meat Loaf.
“That will be the part that will be different,” Maddon told media members at his annual Thanksmas event. “I’ve always kind of stayed free of coaching because I really want to stay out of coaches’ way so they can do their job. I’ve always felt that is the right way to do it. But this year I’m going to get a little more hands-on involved in actually coaching. I think that’s where the comment came from. …. I actually want to do less before the game talking to the media and whatever and try to get on the field more often.”
Nice sentiments, but I’m not buying it. My idioms dictionary tells me you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, and I am going to lean that way once the season starts because I don’t think Joe can stop. I truly can’t see Maddon going all Art Garfunkel when he has spent his entire career as baseball’s master of simile and metaphor, a poor man’s Paul Simon if you will. I actually feel a silent Maddon will be almost disturbing. The man simply has too many words to be silenced. We’ll see come spring training.
Free Agent Profile: Wilson Ramos
Wilson Ramos is a guy I’d love the Cubs to pursue, but they’re not replacing Willson Contreras and I’m sure Ramos wants a starting gig. He deserves it, too.
Ramos was off to a hot start with the Rays before being injured. In 78 games, he had a .297/.346/.488 line with 14 home runs, 53 runs batted in, and 1.7 fWAR. He was named to his second career All-Star Game but could not participate. Ultimately he was traded to the Phillies and in the lineup for the final month of the season.
In September, Ramos instantly became one of the best hitters on a Philadelphia team that would falter badly down the stretch. In 33 games, he slashed.337/.396/.483 with 17 RBI and finished the year with a 131wRC+, tops for catchers in all of baseball.
MLBTR predicts a contract of three years, $36 million for the 31-year-old backstop. I thought he would have been perfect for the Braves, but they signed Brian McCann yesterday.
- Yesterday: J.A. Happ
- Tomorrow: Andrew Miller
Cubs News & Notes
- FanGraphs serves up a nice autopsy of sorts in recapping the Cubs 2018 season.
- I have a Ventra card with $327 credit on it that I no longer need. I may gift it to Ian Clarkin if he continues to do the Red Line Shuffle between the White Sox and Cubs.
- Albert Almora Jr. was the worst hitter on the team during the second half of the season.
- Maddon said last week’s departure of pitching coach Jim Hickey was not heath-related but said he couldn’t get into specifics of what the “personal reasons” were. “He’s fine,” Maddon said. “He’s not ill. His health is fine.”
- I made it through a whole column yesterday without mentioning Bryce Harper. Not today. There is no real excuse for the Cubs not to sign the free agent outfielder.
- The Ricketts received a Turkey Award from Greg Hinz of Crain’s Chicago Business for their political contributions. Unfortunately, the reality of politics and baseball sharing the same bed is something that probably isn’t going to go away any time soon.
When a lobbyist who works for MLB could not attend a fundraiser put on by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in mid-November, the league was asked instead to donate money to Cindy Hyde-Smith, according to sources.
The Braves celebrated Cyber-Monday with two significant signings: the team inked McCann and 3B Josh Donaldson to one-year deals.
The Pirates signed veteran outfielder Lonnie Chisenhall to a one-year $2.75M contract.
The Giants are apparently open to trading starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner. Teams are lining up with their offers.
It may take an offer of multiple major leaguers to get the Mets to budge on a Noah Syndergaard trade.
The Cardinals are honing in on veteran slugger Mike Moustakas.
The Phillies have a great deal of interest in Diamondbacks’ first baseman Paul Goldschmidt.
The Twins claimed first baseman C.J. Cron off of waivers yesterday.
The Yankees and Mariners reportedly had brief discussions regarding a Jacoby Ellsbury for Robinson Cano swap before agreeing on the James Paxton trade.
There is no quit in Dodgers’ closer Kenley Jansen, despite a second surgical procedure on his heart in six years.
Today, Kenley Jansen underwent an ablation procedure with Dr. Koonlawee Nademanee in Los Angeles. The procedure went as expected and Jansen is resting comfortably in the hospital. The club anticipates Jansen will be ready for Spring Training and available on Opening Day.
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) November 27, 2018
Tuesday Walk Up Song
The Sound of Silence by Disturbed. This Simon & Garfunkel cover was far too easy a choice.