• Mike Maddux bailed out on the Red Sox search earlier this week, saying Boston was too far away. "I feel there is too much distance between the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex and Boston to see my family as much as I’d enjoy," he said.
That's fair. But now Maddux is interviewing with the Cubs today.
According to American Airlines, it's 4 hours and 20 minutes from Logan Airport to the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport. It's two hours and 25 minutes from O'Hare Airport to DFW.
So we're talking one hour and 55 minutes extra time in the air. That's not insignificant when you're trying to get home to your family. But the Cubs are in the National League, so there is no yearly trip to Dallas or trips to nearby Kansas City, either.
Maddux may prefer the Cubs and that's fine. His brother was a Cubs legend and works in the front office. That's a close connection. But the travel excuse seems a little lame.
• That four-year, $44 million deal the Phillies agreed to with closer Ryan Madson seemed extravagant and maybe Philadelphia owner David Montgomery thinks so, too. Sports Illustrated reports that he has yet to approve the deal. It would be unusual for the team to make a deal with one of its own players and then renege, however.
The Phillies were negotiating with Jonathan Papelbon, too. Also worth noting: Scott Boras represents Madson. So sometimes his free agents do stay with their teams.
• As of today, the Red Sox have been looking for a manager for 40 days. Better to take your time and find the right man than rush and end up with the wrong man.
• As of today, the Red Sox and Cubs have been dickering over Theo Epstein for 28 days. That's just silly. The guy was a good general manager, not Branch Rickey. It really takes a month to figure out what he's worth? Trey McNutt and a Single A outfielder of some sort. Boom, done.
• If Torey Luvollo ends up getting the gig, be advised that he loves Ryan Kalish. In 2010, Lovullo told anybody who would listen that Kalish would be an All-Star in the majors.
• Baltimore hiring Dan Duquette is either genius or crazy, not sure which. It's hard to believe a team would hire somebody as GM whose most recent experience was running summer camps and semi-pro leagues.
But the Duke did have a knack for finding players when he was in charge of the Expos and Red Sox.
• Terry Francona said after he left the Red Sox that managing again in 2012 would require the right situation or otherwise he'd wait. Hard to beat the Cardinals. There's talent, a smart GM, and a city passionate about baseball, albeit with less media scrutiny.
If you're the Cardinals, however, how do you reconcile Francona's great track record with his admitting his lost the clubhouse in 2011 and the almost complete lack of support (Dustin Pedroia aside) from the players?
• The Red Sox should do their due diligence with Mark Buehrle, as he's a better risk than C.J. Wilson. But Buehrle is from Missouri, spent his whole career in Chicago, and goes to his 1,200-acre property in Missouri on days off to shoot at stuff. Dragging him to Boston (or New York) will take a lot of years and/or lot of money and he'll be 33 in March.
• Carlos Beltran would be a good idea on a two-year deal. Beltran is not a spotlight guy and he'll be able to go about his business quietly in Boston given the other personalities on the team. Good outfielder, a switch hitter who's better righthanded, and apparently healthy again. Use him in right field in 2012 and as the DH in 2013.
• As for the DH, David Ortiz has been tremendous the last two seasons. But any team, including the Red Sox, would be crazy to give him three years. It would be better to overpay Ortiz for a year (say $12 million with an option) than go long term.
• Until the new CBA is done, most teams won't sign Type A or Type B free agents from other teams. They need to see what the new compensation rules will be.
• The next manager? Here are my odds: Sveum 3-1, Lovullo 5-1, Alomar 7-1, Mackanin 12-1, Lamont 20-1. Of course that could change if the Cubs move faster.
My guess is the Cubs hire Maddux and the Sox hire Sveum or Lovullo.