OK, vacation starts today, and my colleagues will do the heavy lifting, but I’ll leave with a few observations and check back from time to time between now and New Year’s. Hope everybody’s Christmas is good. We’ll get to a few things today:
--UPDATE: Kerry Wood. It appears that if Wood can pass a physical, he’s a Cub. Once Wood passes a physical, it looks like a one-year deal worth $1.5 million with incentives. You can call it a “hometown discount” for the Cubs and one based on the strong relationship Wood has with GM Jim Hendry. Also, and probably more important, a Wood signing has a direct impact on Andrew Cashner. More on that in a sec.
I do know the Cubs were happy with the way Wood threw over the last two months of the season for the Yankees. In August, Wood had an ERA of 0.71 ERA. He pitched 12.2 innings, giving up 9 hits while walking nine and striking out 15. In September, it was an ERA of 0.00 as he worked 12.1 innings, giving up 5 hits while walking six and striking out 14.
--Assuming Wood is in the fold, I expect the Cubs to let Cashner compete for a starting job in spring training, much as they did last spring with Sean Marshall and Jeff Samardzija. As I mentioned awhile back, Cashner’s role was debated hot and heavy during the org meetings.
--The health risks with Wood are well known. If he can hold up, he can give the Cubs a good back-of-the-bullpen with closer Carlos Marmol and lefty Sean Marshall. Wood will get the eighth-inning work from the right side. The Cubs still have John Grabow on the roster, and what happens with him remains to be seen.
We do this almost every day during the season, so let’s to it today. The Cubs today announced their minor-league managers and staff for 2011. Here are the highlights:
--Bill Dancy moves up from managing Class AA Tennessee to managing Class AAA Iowa. Tennessee gets a new staff, with Brian Harper managing, Marty Mason serving as pitching coach and Mariano Duncan joining the organization as hitting coach.
--At Peoria, former Cubs lefty Jeff Fassero moves up to pitching coach from doing that job at Boise. Ricardo Medina will serve as hitting coach under manager Casey Kopitzke.
--At Boise, Mark Johnson takes over as manager after working as a player-coach at Iowa. David Rosario is the pitching coach, and Desi Wilson is the hitting coach.
--Our old friend Jason Dubois begins his coaching career as the hitting coach at Mesa (A). Frank Castillo will assist pitching coach Rick Tronerud. Castillo will work as an assistant and with rehabbing pitchers.
--Dennis Lewallyn will be the minor-league pitching coordinator, taking over for Mark Riggins, who joined the big-league staff as pitching coach. Tom Beyers was promoted to minor-league hitting coordinator. Lee Tinsley was named minor-league outfield and baserunning coordinator.
1960 WORLD SERIES
We’ll close with the telecast of Game 7 of the 1960 World Series, showing on MLB-TV. Just for fun, a few of the things I noticed (and remembered, being old enough): no batting gloves; hitters picking up a handful of dirt and rubbing it into their hands; umpires not throwing out every baseball that hits the dirt; elongated pitching windups; batters swinging two bats in the on-deck circle; no color analysts on the broadcast _ it would be nice if they went back to having the local announcers play a part of World Series telecasts these days.
Enjoy that. Enjoy the holidays. We’ll have Hall of Fame stuff one of these days, too.