The Rundown: Ian Happ Thanks Fans, How Other Teams View Cubs, Offseason Rumors Already at Full Throttle

Ian Happ says thank you, Cubs fans:

I saw something by Jeff Passan that caught my attention and subsequently disappointed me so I thought I’d do a post today that reflects on how the Cubs are viewed outside of Chicago.

“They are a team that preaches culture – and still has a player in the middle of a must-win game sitting in the clubhouse and scrolling through an iPad, much to the chagrin of others in the dugout who were living and dying with every pitch.”

Anybody know who said player is? Apparently #EverybodyIn is slightly misleading.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch indicates that Joe Maddon actually sought a contract extension but was denied, leaving him as a lame-duck manager entering 2019. According to John Heyman and others, neither side has broached the subject of an extension.

“Maddon sought a contract extension but didn’t get one. Now, coming off a quick exit from the playoffs, industry experts believe he will simply serve out the final season of his five-year, $28 million contract while undergoing further evaluation from team management.”

Cardinals fans enjoy watching Cubs players strike out. When you finish in third place, that’s therapeutic.

“There are going to be plenty of articles about the Cardinals’ plans for next year, I promise you. You’ll get sick of all the writing about baseball without actual baseball happening. I’m not doing that today. Instead, I’d like to tell you that the Cubs struck out 136 times against Cardinals pitching this year.”

Pinstripe Alley says the Cubs are very, very good, but they are not a dynasty.

“They still have a good chunk of controllable talent, but ineffectiveness and off-field personal issues have hampered that somewhat. The system’s inability to produce starting pitching internally has the team turning to free agency, where the Yu Darvish and Tyler Chatwood deals have so far blown up in their faces. The Brewers are just as good a team in true talent and boast a formidable nucleus of their own.”

Jay and Carissa Ryan of DeForest, WI are the proud owners of the infamous “L” flag that they custom ordered for $140. Road trip next season, anyone?

Cubs News & Notes

Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe thinks the Cubs may be interested in Manny Machado given the current situation with Addison Russell. Machado has indicated he would prefer to sign with a team that has availability at shortstop, though one has to believe the amount of money offered may change his stance.

Theo Epstein admitted to a bit of frustration in the Cubs’ clubhouse over constant lineup shuffling.

Machado or Bryce Harper would go a long way toward fixing the team’s offensive woes.

Carrie Muskat looks at five questions the Cubs must answer to improve in 2019, including finding a legitimate leadoff hitter.

Here’s a quick look at 8 Cubs prospects who could be making their way to Chicago soon.

MLB Playoffs

Astros right-hander Gerrit Cole became the second player in MLB history to record at least 12 strikeouts without a walk in a postseason game, guiding Houston to a 3-1 victory over the Cleveland Indians last night.

David Price lasted just five outs into Saturday’s start for the Red Sox against the Yankees, giving up two home runs and three runs. The Yankees went on to a 6-2 victory to even their American League Division Series at a game apiece.

Who will play in the year’s NLCS could be decided as early as today. The Brewers will look to close out their series against the Rockies, while the Dodgers hope to complete their sweep of the Braves as well. If Los Angeles advances, it will mark their third consecutive appearance in the league championship series.

Brewers fans are glad they don’t have to worry about Cubs fans driving playoff ticket prices up on after-market ticket services.

Ron Darling issued an apology early Sunday morning for his poor choice of words Saturday night while broadcasting the Yankees-Red Sox ALDS Game 2 for TBS.

Offseason Rumors and Other Fun Stuff

Joe Girardi, Brad Ausmus, and David Bell are set to interview for the managerial opening in Cincinnati. President of Baseball Operations Dick Williams mentioned that the Reds would like to have someone in place by the end of October, indicating the team had already interviewed Billy Hatcher, among other internal candidates.

Time is running short for the Cardinals’ core group of players.

Former oddsmaker Todd Furhman of Fox Sports thinks the Dodgers are the favorite to land Bryce Harper this winter.

Some notes from Jon Heyman’s latest Inside Baseball post at FanCred Sports:

  • Buck Showalter has a proven record of leaving teams when they are on the verge of something good, and both the Diamondbacks and Yankees won the World Series the year after he was let go from those jobs. It’s probably too much to expect the same from the Orioles after their 115-loss season. Mike Bordick and Billy Ripken are seen as early contenders to be the next Orioles manager, for what it’s worth.
  • The Royals see second baseman Whit Merrifield as a latter-day Pete Rose.
  • The Mets lost one of the early favorites for their GM job when Ben Cherington informed them he had decided to stay with the Blue Jays. That does not preclude him from pursuing a different job, though there’s no word indicating that yet.
  • The A’s “opener” strategy produced a 4-5 record and 5.29 ERA in September compared to 12-5 and 3.31 ERA in games in which they employed a regular type starter.
  • Mark DeRosa’s name has been linked to the managerial job in Texas. His seems to be a relatively hot name this winter.
  • Nationals GM Mike Rizzo said he anticipates Davey Martinez being brought back to manage. As was pointed out elsewhere, he said the same last year in regard to Dusty Baker before the owners pulled the plug.

Extra Innings 

The Brewers-Cubs online engagement this season was just as much fun as the teams’ on-field rivalry. Social media staffs for both teams deserve some applause. The Brewers are one up on the Cubs right now. Looking forward to 2019, Crew.

They Said It

  • “We lost some tough games in the postseason, in this postseason right now, or getting to the postseason, but I think ‘grit’ is a wonderful word that describes this group, and I’ve also talked about the heart. A couple years ago, when we won the World Series, I said, ‘Don’t forget the heartbeat.’ I think the heartbeat within this group is very prominent and as a manager, that’s probably the thing I’m most proud of.” – Joe Maddon

Sunday Walk Up Song

Take Me Home by Phil Collins. Not sure why I am on a Genesis/Phil Collins kick this weekend but join me, won’t you?

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