The Rundown: Maddon Admits Fault in Lackey’s Usage, Cubs Targeting Rays’ Cobb?

Those of you who’ve been waiting (im)patiently for Joe Maddon to come out and admit that he mismanaged the bullpen have finally had your wishes granted. That’s right, the Cubs manager did own the mistake of having a former Red Sox pitcher warming in the pen unnecessarily. Except he wasn’t talking about Jon Lester.

The first name was the same, though, as Maddon was lamenting his decisions to get John Lackey up for potential relief appearances twice last August.

“I take full responsibility for permitting him to warm up,” Maddon said. “That was inappropriate. I should not have done that. I learned a lesson there. I will not let that happen again. Had he not gone through that moment, he would have gone through the rest of the season just like he had been going.”

My immediate reaction to this is that Maddon is doing Lackey a solid, continuing to build goodwill with the famously gruff righty. I mean, c’mon, you’re telling me Big John wasn’t okay with the possibility of coming into those games? Maybe he was super pissed about it, but a competitor like that is generally going to want to win at all costs. In this case, winning was the World Series and the cost was a DL stint.

I think I’ll take that trade every day of the week and twice on Sunday.

Chicago Cobbs?

Hey, did you know that the Cubs are going to be in the market for starting pitching here really soon? And that the Rays have long been rumored to be a suitable trade partner? Maybe the two end up coming together on a deal this summer. And no, I’m not talking about Chris Archer.

As the Tampa Bay Times’ Marc Topkin writes, Alex Cobb is well aware that he’ll probably be a hot commodity come the deadline. To hear Cobb talk about it, he’s almost on a retirement tour as he heads into what is likely his last season in Tampa. It doesn’t make things easier when your potential suitors are already being talked about.

There are already whispers of potential interest elsewhere, including two teams with intimate connections — the Cubs, managed by ex-Ray Joe Maddon; and the Dodgers, presidented by ex-Ray Andrew Friedman.

Where things get really interesting here is with Cobb’s impending free agency, not to mention his health. Trading for a rental starter doesn’t make much sense for the Cubs at this point, and working out a long-term deal could be dicey for a guy coming off of Tommy John surgery. Cobb has never pitched as many as 167 innings in a professional season and you wonder about his durability even without thinking about the elbow injury.

When Cobb is good, though, he can be really, really good. He’s got a nice mix of fastball, curve, and change, and he has done a good job of keeping the ball on the ground. I can’t see the Cubs swinging a deal unless he agrees to a new contract, but this could be a very interesting topic to keep on the radar as the season progresses.

Javy did Javy things again

It’s just every day with this kid. Every inning, even. Whether it’s another swim-stroke slide or a beautiful throw home, Javy does it all. Gonna be nice to have him back in a Cubs uniform.

More news and notes

  • The Red Sox are optimistic about David Price’s recovery, but it’s looking like he’ll be out until at least May
  • That freakishly talented Baez kid will be playing with Puerto Rico in the WBC finals
  • The Braves released John Danks
    • John Danks is still active
    • Well, sorta
  • You should watch those Javy Baez videos again
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