ESPN.com’s Wright Thompson provides a worthwhile profile of Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein. While it’s mostly an interesting look at the veteran executive, the piece also contains an intriguing look behind the scenes in the Cubbies’ front office and a few bits of information on the team’s recent maneuvering.
Here’s more from the central divisions:
- The Cubs are aware of, but not particularly concerned over, a decline in Jake Arrieta’s fastball velocity (and recent predilection for surrendering long balls), ESPNChicago.com’s Jesse Rogers writes. Skipper Joe Maddon suggested that Arrieta was looking to dial in his command in exchange for some velo, and noted that Arrieta’s exceptional movement made him difficult to hit regardless. As for the bigger heater, Maddon says that he “really believe[s] it’s in there” for the postseason.
- Across town, White Sox slugger Jose Abreu says that the difference between his club and the Royals is less about talent than it is “desire,” as Dan Hayes of CSN Chicago tweets. Abreu took responsibility for that assessment, saying that he needed to improve his on-field approach and help lead the team in that regard. It’s certainly an interesting and candid observation from a player of Abreu’s stature.
- With Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar sidelined, the Indians are considering utilizing a three-prong postseason rotation mix, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports tweets. Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer would take the ball as traditional starters, with Josh Tomlin and Mike Clevinger piggybacking to make for a third rotation piece. That approach may be necessary given the team’s sudden and stunning lack of depth in what had been a huge area of strength, but it seems like the organization will be forced to push its two best remaining starters rather hard.
- The Pirates aren’t willing to commit at this point to giving righty Ryan Vogelsong another start, as Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. GM Neal Huntington says that the team is weighing his recent span of four awful outings against the quality showing that Vogelsong had made immediately upon returning from his injury. “Ryan feels there’s a mechanical adjustment that he can and will make moving forward,” Huntington said. “It’s hard to walk away from his first stretch of starts for us.” While that won’t have much of an impact on the Bucs’ fortunes this year, continued opportunity to work from the rotation could impact Vogelsong’s upcoming free agent case.