Top Cubs baseball exec Theo Epstein made for an interesting guest on the latest podcast of MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand (audio link). This is obviously worth a listen for any Cubs fans, as Epstein talks about some points where the team’s rebuilding effort led to particular frustration, but he also has some interesting tales to tell of broader interest. Most notably, perhaps, the former Red Sox GM suggests that there’s no way he or anybody else saw David Ortiz emerging the way he did. As proof, Epstein offers an anecdote about Ortiz’s agent seeking a trade early in the 2003 season — Ortiz’s first in Boston — because of a lack of playing time.
Here are a few notes from around the National League:
- Mets hurler Matt Harvey appears to be waging a battle with the New York media, as Mike Puma of the New York Post writes. The veteran hurler did not speak with reporters last night after appearing in a relief role. When approached today, he directed some harsh words at reporters. Harvey has struggled to a 5.87 ERA with 7.4 K/9 and 2.0 BB/9 in his 23 innings on the season.
- ESPN.com’s Buster Olney argues that the Giants ought to be preparing to listen to offers on ace lefty Madison Bumgarner if they can’t keep pace in the playoff race. As Olney explains, there aren’t many assets on hand in San Francisco that could bring back potential young building blocks. But if Bumgarner can get back to health by the trade deadline, he could be a monumental deadline piece, particularly given his history of postseason dominance and cheap 2019 option. It’s certainly an interesting possibility — albeit one the Giants no doubt hope they won’t have cause to consider in earnest.
- As his anticipated activation by the Braves draws near, Jose Bautista discussed his status with John Lott of The Athletic (subscription link). The veteran slugger says he was drawn by his trust in Atlanta GM Alex Anthopoulos — he called the organization “a place where I know where I stand” — and the fact that he likes the makeup of the current roster. Despite his high-profile status, Bautista says he hopes to “be just another player on the team” who’ll play hard no matter where and when he’s asked to. The piece documents an interesting series of chats between the former Blue Jays star and Lott, who long covered him in Toronto.