Cubs manager Joe Maddon has zero interest in the designated hitter coming to the National League.
That chatter picked up again with the St. Louis Cardinals losing Adam Wainwright for the rest of the season. The St. Louis ace tore his left Achilles tendon while trying to run out a popup during Saturday’s game against the Milwaukee Brewers.
“I am so not into knee-jerk stuff,” Maddon said Monday at Wrigley Field. “That’s just the expedient nature of reporting and the world we exist in today. It’s unfortunate what happened to (Wainwright). It really is. I would prefer that would not have happened to him. We all (feel that way). Because I want to beat our opposition with their best all the time.
“But that should have nothing to do with anything. He could have got hurt traveling to the ballpark in his car. And then he’s supposed to stop driving?
“I mean, really, come on. That’s just part of the game. That’s the way it works. It’s unfortunate. It stinks. But I like the National League game.”
Maddon clearly loves the strategy as well as the debates that come with double switching and hitting the pitcher eighth, believing it helps sell the product and ultimately benefits the overall game.
As Maddon said: “Barrooms got to be deluged with some really good stuff on a nightly basis when they think I’m stupid.”
Maddon usually looks at the big picture, but he’s not working for the Tampa Bay Rays anymore. The Cubs now have arguably the industry’s best crop of young position players, and it’s unlikely they will all fit together on the North Side.
Just look at someone like Double-A Tennessee’s Dan Vogelbach, a potential trade chip who’s blocked by All-Star first baseman Anthony Rizzo. Vogelbach is 22 years old and listed at 6-foot, 250 pounds, a body type that suggests he would fit as a designated hitter in the American League.
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Vogelbach woke up on Monday leading the Southern League with a .444 batting average, showing the potential the Cubs saw when they made him a second-round pick in the 2011 draft. He’s put up 13 walks against five strikeouts, generating three homers, seven doubles and 13 RBI through 15 games.
“I come from ‘The Land of No DHs,’ where that’s a very expensive position,” Maddon said. “There are not many that are really, really good at it. That’s not an easy position to play – to hit and then sit around and then hit again and perform at a high level.
“I like this eight-plus-one thing. And if you could get something good out of your group of pitchers, it might give you an edge. And that’s also pretty interesting.
“From a kid’s perspective – if you’re trying to gain more fans and you’re looking for that intellectual component – give them the National League game to follow and have them try to understand.”