Some stray items from around the Show….
- Can Theo Epstein’s front office get the Cubs back on track? Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times explores the question in a detailed look at the challenges facing the team this winter, as the team’s overhaul has already led to the end of Joe Maddon’s managerial tenure but seemingly no major shuffles coming to the baseball operations department. The Cubs’ lack of success in 2019 had arguably less to do with Maddon and more to do with the team finally paying the price after several ill-fated acquisitions clogged the roster and the farm system failed to produce much high-impact talent (especially on the pitching side). Wittenmyer wonders if Epstein and top lieutenants Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod can guide the Cubs through this reload period now that “the industry has caught up” to some of the roster-building strategies deployed by Epstein and company in rebuilding the Cubs, or in building the Red Sox into World Series winners last decade. To Epstein’s credit, his post-season remarks to reporters included several admissions that mistakes were made by his baseball ops group, and more significant change is on the way to the big league roster. “If you want to say we were stubborn with this group, I think that’s fair. We had a real belief in this group. That’s an area where I need to do a better job as a leader, letting go of the past and focusing on the future,” Epstein said.
- “It’s never an easy thing to drop $5.1MM on one player, but he made it pretty easy,” Yankees international scouting director Donny Rowland told Baseball America’s Ben Badler (subscription required) about Dominican prospect Jasson Dominguez. The 16-year-old Dominguez’s $5.1MM payday matched the highest bonus given to any player in this year’s international draft class, and his stock has only continued to rise now that he has seen some action in the Dominican instructional league. Badler’s piece details how the Yankees’ international scouting staff first came across Dominguez, and how the youngster is already showing potential as a five-tool center fielder (not to mention a sixth tool of plate discipline).
- While playing in the Arizona Fall League, Diamondbacks prospect Seth Beer is focusing on answering questions about his defensive future by improving his first base glovework, Baseball America’s Bill Mitchell writes. The Astros selected Beer with the 28th overall pick of the 2018 draft, though he is best known for being part of the prospect package Houston sent to Arizona in the Zack Greinke trade deadline blockbuster. Beer has carried the hitting prowess he displayed at Clemson into his pro career, but since sticking as an outfielder may not be feasible, Beer has seen a good deal of first base time in order to establish a position for himself. Playing in an NL organization, he also doesn’t have the future comfort of a designated hitter spot. On the plus side, Beer is “excited” to have a clearer path to the big leagues with the D’Backs than he did in Houston, calling the trade “a great opportunity for me in my career.”