Cubs

Lester fine if Cubs stand pat at trade deadline: 'We're pretty darn good right now'

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Lester fine if Cubs stand pat at trade deadline: 'We're pretty darn good right now'

Jon Lester is OK if the Cubs don't make any moves before this year's trade deadline.

Following Friday's loss to the Phillies, the Cubs (51-44) were locked in a tie with the San Francisco Giants for the second National League wild card spot as the Giants were set to host the Oakland A's in a late game Friday night.

[RELATED - Cubs not feeling the pressure of ticking clock on trade market]

The Cubs still only have four true starting pitchers, mixing and matching with the No. 5 spot after Travis Wood was moved to the bullpen in mid-May. But it wasn't the rotation that struggled Friday as Lester left the game with a 3-2 lead after the seventh and watched the bullpen gave up three runs in the ninth and 10th innings to the last-place Phillies.

The Cubs have been linked to Cole Hamels and other starting pitchers on the trade block, but even if Theo Epstein's front office doesn't make a move, Lester is just fine with what's already here.

"I think we're pretty darn good right now," Lester said. "Obviously, an addition would be a shot in the arm as far as maybe taking some pressure off the other four guys. But I don't think we can worry about that right now.

"We have to worry about playing good baseball and we have to worry about Jake [Arrieta] pitching tomorrow and the lineup that gets posted and then playing good baseball. That's all we can worry about.

"If Theo and those guys decide that that's what we need, then great. If they decide that we're going to stand pat, then great. I've always been a big believer that you try to stay in your lane as best you can."

It would be easy for the ultra-competitive Lester to sit in front of the Chicago media and play armchair GM, saying the Cubs should do whatever it takes to get Cole Hamels or David Price or whoever.

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But Lester's won two World Series' with the Red Sox and he trusts this front office.

"I don't want their job by any means," he said. "I know how hard it is. I don't want it, they probably don't want mine and we'll leave it at that.

"We'll let them make the baseball op decision and we'll worry about going out and playing baseball."

Report: Giants interested in Cubs first base coach Will Venable for manager opening

Report: Giants interested in Cubs first base coach Will Venable for manager opening

The Giants' search for a successor to now-retired manager Bruce Bochy has led them to the North Side.

According to NBC Sports Bay Area's Alex Pavlovic, the Giants are interested in Cubs first base coach Will Venable for their own managerial opening. San Francisco's interest is intriguing, as Venable went to high school just outside San Francisco in nearby San Rafael. His father — Max Venable — played for the Giants from 1979-83. 

Venable also interviewed for the Cubs' manager job earlier this month, telling the Chicago Sun-Times that his interest is in the "organization in general." He is one of several internal candidates for the Cubs' job, along with bench coach Mark Loretta and front office assistant David Ross.

The Cubs also interviewed Joe Girardi and are set to meet with Astros bench coach Joe Espada and former Phillies manager Gabe Kapler.

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Former Cub Mark Prior likely to take over as Dodgers pitching coach in 2020

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USA TODAY

Former Cub Mark Prior likely to take over as Dodgers pitching coach in 2020

Mark Prior's big-league playing career unfortunately fizzled out due to recurring injury woes, but he's making a name for himself in the coaching realm.

With Dodgers current pitching coach Rick Honeycutt transitioning into a new role, Prior is expected to takeover the position starting next season.

Cubs fans know the story of Prior's playing career all too well. The Cubs drafted him second overall in the 2001, with Prior making his MLB debut just a season later. He went on to dominate in 2003, posting an 18-6 record, 2.43 ERA and 245 strikeouts in 30 starts, a season in which he made the All-Star Game and finished third in the NL Cy Young Award voting.

However, Prior's season ended on a sour note, as he was on the mound during the Steve Bartman incident in Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS. Prior exited the game with a 3-1 lead, but the Cubs surrendered seven more runs that inning, eventually falling to the Marlins 8-3 before losing Game 7 the next day. 

Prior struggled to stay healthy after 2003, eventually retiring in 2013 after multiple comeback attempts. While many blame his injury-riddled career on former Cubs manager Dusty Baker, Prior does not. 

While we can only wonder what could've been with Prior to the pitcher, it's good to see him still making an impact in baseball in some fashion.

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