The Rundown: Cubs to Interview Big Names to Replace Hickey, MLB Retracts Political Donation, Cubs Need Relievers

It’s gonna be a quick one today since we are short staffed at work and I have to cover the slack.

As noted above, the Cubs are expected to interview former Cincinnati Reds manager Bryan Price and former Red Sox manager John Farrell, who worked most recently with the Reds’ scouting department, for their vacant pitching coach position. This is according to a report from’s Bruce Levine.

I still think the Cubs are going to fill the position internally, and though Tommy Hottovy is an oft-mentioned candidate, my gut tells me they will name Brendan Sagara to fill the position. I have no sources or inside information, but I did read that Sagara interviewed for at least one opening with another organization. The fact that he is still with the Cubs may mean that he was simply passed over by another candidate(s). But it could mean the team asked him to stick around knowing that former pitching coach Jim Hickey was intent on leaving the team.

Farrell would be a more than interesting choice if given the position. He has ties to Theo Epstein and could be viewed as an eventual replacement for Joe Maddon. Some sources have indicated he is in fact the frontrunner for the job. Stay tuned.

Free Agent Preview: J.A. Happ

The Cubs probably aren’t looking for a starting pitcher, but J.A. Happ is an intriguing choice fr team that need a No. 4 or 5 starter.

Happ comfortably relies on just 3-4 pitches, depending on if you consider the sinker a separate pitch from his fastball. He has phased out his curveball for the most part and uses his low-90’s four-seam fastball and sinker more than 70 percent of the time. He sits in the mid-80’s with his slider and changeup, using them to get batters to bite out of the zone or to give his fastball a little more zip.

There is nothing sexy about Happ. He eats innings, has great sequencing, and keeps his team in every game. He can be prone to the longball, but he put up a career-best strikeout rate (9.78 K/9) this year. When he’s at his best, he hides the ball well, sets up batters with his offspeed stuff, and then drops them with his fastball.

Happ is 36 years old and finished the season with the Yankees after a trade from the Blue Jays. He will likely max out with a three-year deal. The Phillies and Brewers are probable suitors, and the Angels have to be considered a dark horse. I think he will end up with Houston, however.

Handicapping Happ

  1. Astros
  2. Brewers
  3. Phillies
  4. Yankees
  5. Angels

Cubs News & Notes

Monday Stove

The Yankees have no interest in trading for Mets starter Noah Syndergaard.

The Cardinals, Phillies, and Mets have strong interest in reliever Andrew Miller.

Trading Madison Bumgarner may be unpopular, but it might be the best move this winter for the Giants.

The Braves, Twins, Padres, and Rangers all have interest in trading for Yankees’ starter Sonny Gray.

The Mariners are unlikely to trade either Mitch Haniger or Edwin Diaz this winter.

Extra Innings

In a statement released Sunday evening, MLB said it was revoking a $5,000 donation it had made to Mississippi senate candidate Cindy Hyde-Smith. The donation was made Friday, after Hyde-Smith had already come under fire for controversial comments made on the campaign trail. She has joked about wanting to be in the “front row” for a “public hanging” and said voter suppression against Democrats is a “great idea.”

In addition to her controversial comments, Hyde-Smith has also faced other accusations of racism as other events from her past have surfaced in recent days.

Monday Walk Up Song

Desolation Row by the Grateful Dead. “They’re selling postcards of the hanging, they’repainting the passports brown. The beauty parlor is filled with sailors, the circus is in town. Here comes the blind commissioner, they’ve got him in a trance…… “

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