Cubs

Cubs: Joe Maddon hates the idea of the DH in National League

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Cubs: Joe Maddon hates the idea of the DH in National League

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.”

[MORE CUBS: Addison Russell knows he won't figure it all out overnight]

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.

[NBC SPORTS SHOP: Gear up, Cubs fans!]

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.”

Cubs Talk Podcast: Do the Cubs still have a shot at the division?

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USA TODAY

Cubs Talk Podcast: Do the Cubs still have a shot at the division?

Despite a disappointing offseason the Cubs still have a competitive team for the 2020 season. David Kaplan and an NBCS Chicago Cubs content team roundtable of Jeff Nelson, Tim Stebbins and Danny Rockett discuss how they see this team performing in 2020 and the subtle jabs at former manager Joe Maddon.

(1:30) - Where is the excitement level for the 2020 season

(4:14) - Cubs might perform better than expected this year

(9:09) - Theo Epstein telling managerial candidates Cubs will take a step back in 2020

(14:00) - Cubs still have to reset this year financially

(17:20) - Theo vs. Joe

Listen here or in the embedded player below. 

 

Cubs Talk Podcast

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Rob Manfred apologizes for tone-deaf comment about World Series trophy

Rob Manfred apologizes for tone-deaf comment about World Series trophy

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred made a tone-deaf comment over the weekend, and he apologized for it on Tuesday.

In an interview with ESPN, Manfred defended his decision not to punish Astros players for their involvement in Houston’s sign stealing scandal. Although MLB suspended (now former) Astros manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow and fined the club $5 million, players received immunity in the case. 

Some — like Cubs starter Yu Darvish — have called for Manfred to strip the Astros of their 2017 championship.

"The idea of an asterisk or asking for a piece of metal back seems like a futile act,” Manfred told ESPN’s Karl Ravech. “People will always know that something was different about the 2017 season, and whether we made that decision right or wrong, we undertook a thorough investigation, and had the intestinal fortitude to share the results of that investigation, even when those results were not very pretty."

Lol.

It’s one thing to let the Astros off with a mere slap on the wrist but degrading the value of a championship trophy — one which all players strive to secure one day — was purely ignorant by Manfred. 

RELATED: Jon Lester crushes Rob Manfred for devaluing World Series trophy 'quite significantly'

There was a more tactful way for Manfred to respond to the lack of punishment. He told Ravech the MLB Players Association likely would've filed grievances, had the league disciplined the players. That defense may not have totally sufficed, but it's far more reasonable than Manfred's piece of metal comment.

Yes, Manfred was looking to make a rhetorical point. But seemingly everyone in baseball is pissed at the lack of punishment for the Astros. Rather than put out the fire, Manfred and MLB have only doused it with kerosene.