If newly minted Brewers GM David Stearns elects to keep Craig Counsell in the manager’s role, the two appear to be a very good fit with one another on the surface, writes David Laurila of Fangraphs. Laurila spoke to Counsell recently about how his time working in the Brewers’ front office gave him an appreciation of analytics and how his years working with Doug Melvin have made him receptive to input from the front office. “Part of what working in the office did for me was provide a lot of exposure to the analytics side,” said Counsell. “That was valuable, because every day it plays a part in your decision-making. You’re challenged by what your eyes are telling you, you’re challenged by what the information is telling you, and you strike a balance. That’s managing. … [A] great thing about working in the front office was that it gave me a different perspective. You see the game differently. When you’re in the forest every day, you always don’t see it.” The entire interview is well worth a read, as Counsell offers an insightful, forward-thinking take on the evolving role of a manager and the incorporation of data and analytical information into his job.
A few more notes from the league’s toughest division…
- In the final minutes leading up to the non-waiver trade deadline, J.A. Happ had heard nothing about a trade, writes MLB.com’s Jack Etkin, leading to a very surprised reaction from the lefty when he learned after the deadline had passed that he’d been dealt to the Pirates in a last-minute swap. Happ’s trade didn’t make too many headlines, but he’s been a vital component to the Pirates’ stretch drive, Etkin notes, pitching to a brilliant 2.28 ERA in nine starts with Pittsburgh. Happ appears to be yet another triumph for vaunted Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage, as his ERA, along with his 10.2 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9 rates, rank as the best work of his career. Happ, however, is just happy to have the opportunity to contribute to a playoff push — a sensation he hasn’t had since 2008-09 with the Phillies. “You come in and kind of realize what this team’s doing and what they’re capable of,” Happ said. “It’s been a lot of fun. It feels good to contribute.”
- Sean Marshall‘s career has been dramatically altered by shoulder surgeries, but the 33-year-old Reds left-hander tells C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer that he still hopes to play beyond the 2015 season. Marshall, who thought the surgery he underwent in May (his second shoulder operation) could be career-ending, now hopes to pitch for the Reds before the season comes to a close. He’s dropped his arm angle about four to six inches, he estimates. “I want to keep playing,” Marshall tells Rosecrans. “I’m not ready to hang ’em up yet. I still feel great.”
- Adam Wainwright threw 25 pitches to teammates yesterday, reports Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. However, the injured Cardinals ace, who hopes to return for the postseason as a reliever, said he still feels “a hair off,” even though he considers his pitches to be “game-ready.” The next step for Wainwright is a simulated game without a screen (he threw from behind a screen Wednesday) so that he can field his position. Manager Mike Matheny wouldn’t offer any definitive take on whether or not Wainwright would pitch in the playoffs, stating that the decision would come down to what’s best for the team. He did, however, note that he’s a firm believer that, come the postseason, experience is an important factor.