Mondayâ€™s announcement that Ryne Sandberg was hired as the new manager of Lehigh Valley, the Triple-A affiliate of the Phillies, signifies more than just a homecoming for the Hall of Fame second baseman. It means the Red Sox have one less candidate to consider for the managerial opening in Pawtucket.
There have been reports surfacing that Sandberg was interviewed for the PawSoxâ€™ post, though in the end, it made more sense for him to return to where his career first took flight. The Phillies drafted Sandberg in 1978. Three years later he made his major league debut. The 13 games he logged with Philadelphia in 1981 represent a snap shot of what could have been, as Sandberg was traded to the Cubs prior to the 1982 season.
The Phillies probably gave the IronPigsâ€™ gig to Sandberg with an eye towards the future. Current Philly skipper Charlie Manuel turns 67 in January and his contract expires after 2011. Thatâ€™s called smart planning.
Of course we all thought Sandberg was a slam-dunk choice to replace retired Cubs manager Lou Piniella. Sandberg had been managing in Chicagoâ€™s farm system since 2007, but was passed over for Mike Quade, who took over the Cubs after Piniella retired in August. Looks like the Cubs are paying the Phillies back by returning â€śRynoâ€ť to his original stomping grounds.
Another name under consideration to replace Torey Lovullo in Pawtucket had to be Gary DiSarcina. The Massachusetts native took himself out of the running when he accepted a coaching post with the Los Angeles Angels late last week. So thatâ€™s two names off the board.
If Lovulloâ€™s hiring by the Red Sox taught us anything, itâ€™s that the organization prefers to find someone who has ties, be they big or small, to the franchise. In Lovulloâ€™s case, he had dealt with director of player development Mike Hazen and John Farrell, Bostonâ€™s pitching coach turned Toronto manager, from their days working together in Cleveland.
With the General Manager Meetings getting underway Monday in Orlando, the pursuit to find Pawtucketâ€™s next manager may take a back seat. After all, trade and free agent talk is far more appealing that manager talk.
Grabbed a copy of Bill Jamesâ€™ 2011 Handbook. The article entitled â€śPitchers on Course for 300 Winsâ€ť projects only two current pitchers â€“ Roy Halladay and CC Sabathia â€“ as having a legit shot of reaching the hallowed mark.
More than anything, the piece demonstrates that pitchers are treated like precious commodities. Instead of pitchers going the distance, we hear teams talk about limiting innings while a pitcher makes his way through the minors and in the early stages of his MLB stay. The facts James unveils suggests it may be team to think of a new benchmark of exactly what a Hall of Fame pitcher is.