Chicago Cubs

Rothschild signs three-year deal with Yankees

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Rothschild signs three-year deal with Yankees

Friday, Nov. 19, 2010Updated 6:45 PM

By Patrick Mooney
CSNChicago.com

Larry Rothschild started out with a Cubs team that had a veteran catcher in Joe Girardi and a young rotation filled with the promise of Kerry Wood and Mark Prior.

It seemed like Rothschild enjoyed the job security of a Supreme Court appointment. Since 2002, hes worked with Don Baylor, Dusty Baker and Lou Piniella as well as a few more interim managers and survived each change in the dugout.

Rothschild exercised his 2011 option last month before the Cubs reintroduced Mike Quade as their manager and appeared ready to return for his 10th season as pitching coach.

A long relationship ended quickly as the Yankees announced Friday that Rothschild has agreed to a three-year-deal and will join Girardis staff in New York.

Rothschild spent several hours on Tuesday watching video of three Yankee pitchers CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Phil Hughes and formally interviewed for the job the next day.

By Friday afternoon, the 56-year-old pitching coach who doesnt go out of his way to talk to the media and get his name in print was on a teleconference explaining to some 50 reporters the lure of training near his home in Tampa, Fla., and spending more time with his wife and three children.

I didnt feel like it was time to leave the Cubs, Rothschild said. Its hard because Im very close with Mike Quade and have a lot of respect for him as a baseball person and I think hell do a great job for them. But it was time family-wise when this opportunity came along (and) the decision became relatively easy.

It has less to do with where the Cubs are than what I needed to do personally.

In recent years, Rothschild had informed Cubs general manager Jim Hendry that if possible he would like to explore options with a team that has a Florida presence. The Yankees facility is located a mile or two from Rothschilds house. Rothschild once managed the Tampa Bay Devil Rays for three-plus seasons.

Hendry expects to make a new hire shortly after the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Greg Maddux the future Hall of Famer and front-office assistant to Hendry is said to be reluctant to take on a full-time job in uniform right now because of similar family concerns.

Mark Riggins the Cubs minor-league pitching coordinator and one-time St. Louis Cardinals pitching coach is well-regarded for his work with the organizations young arms.

The Cubs led the National League with 96 quality starts last season. Whoever replaces Rothschild will have to connect with Carlos Zambrano, who may or may not have had a breakthrough near the end, finishing 8-0 with a 1.41 ERA in his final 11 starts.

Rothschild finally convinced Zambrano to worry more about location and movement instead of pure velocity. The Yankees have been intrigued by Zambrano, though he has a no-trade clause and is owed more than 35 million over the next two seasons.

Rothschilds first major project figures to be Burnett, who went 10-15 with a 5.26 ERA last season and isnt even halfway through a five-year, 82.5 million deal.

I think you grow to care about people, and when they know that, it becomes a better working relationship, Rothschild said. If you have kids, its not always smooth sailing. (Sometimes) you do different things to try to get them where you need to get them.

It will be easier if the Yankees sign free agent Cliff Lee to a nine-figure contract and add another Cy Young Award winner to the staff. Rothschild who grew up in Chicagos suburbs and graduated from Homewood-Flossmoor High School said his father is a big Yankees fan. They used to go watch the team at Comiskey Park. Its hard to turn down those pinstripes.

Its unique, Rothschild said, because it is the Yankees and everyone knows what that means.

Patrick Mooney is CSNChicago.com's Cubs beat writer. Follow Patrick on Twitter @CSNMooney for up-to-the-minute Cubs news and views.

Justin Wilson isn’t running away from big moments with Cubs: ‘I want the ball’

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AP

Justin Wilson isn’t running away from big moments with Cubs: ‘I want the ball’

MILWAUKEE – The Cubs have tried to find lower-pressure spots for Justin Wilson to work on things and rebuild his confidence without publicly burying a lefty reliever they specifically targeted before the July 31 trade deadline.

Both manager Joe Maddon and team president Theo Epstein have given Wilson the vote of confidence, though the real test will be whether or not the Cubs actually trust him in the playoffs.

“It’s an open book of communication here,” Wilson said. “We talk. I’ve talked to them and said: ‘Hey, I’m going to get right. I want the ball. I just want to keep getting back out there.’”

Even after All-Star closer Wade Davis blew his first save in more than a year, the Cubs could find big-picture optimism about their bullpen because Wilson got four outs during Saturday’s 4-3 10-inning loss to the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park.

“How good was that?” Maddon said. “That’s really something looking forward. He made a nice adjustment out there. It looked really good from the side. If we get that out of him, that could be a huge difference-maker for us.”

That was the idea when the Cubs made Wilson their headliner in the package deal with catcher Alex Avila and reinforced the bullpen for another World Series run. Wilson closed for the Detroit Tigers, notching 13 saves for a bad team, putting up a 2.48 ERA in 42 appearances and shutting down left- and right-handed hitters.

Wilson – who gave up 16 walks in 40.1 innings for Detroit – allowed 16 walks and 17 hits through his first 14.1 innings as a Cub while putting up a 6.28 ERA.

On a smoking 88-degree afternoon and in front of a loud crowd of 44,067, Wilson faced the top four hitters in the Milwaukee lineup and unleashed 17 fastballs in a row, all of them buzzing around 95-97 mph across the seventh and eighth innings. Wilson struck out Eric Sogard and Neil Walker, forced Ryan Braun to fly out to left field and struck out Travis Shaw swinging.

With stuff like that, the magic number to clinch the National League Central title in the low single digits and another week left in the regular season, the Cubs hope Wilson can figure it out and become the late-inning weapon they envisioned.       

“Clearly, it hasn’t been the same for me from before the trade,” Wilson said. “I just want to keep pitching.”

The Streak ends as Cubs watch Wade Davis finally blow a save: ‘It’s definitely on me’

The Streak ends as Cubs watch Wade Davis finally blow a save: ‘It’s definitely on me’

MILWAUKEE – The efficient, emotionless way Wade Davis did his job helped the Cubs stay afloat during the disappointing first half of this season, a time when late-inning losses could have really damaged the clubhouse and the defending World Series champs might have collapsed.  

Standing at his locker, Davis had the same stone-faced expression on his bearded face after Saturday afternoon’s 4-3 walk-off loss, the third straight 10-inning game the Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers have played at Miller Park. Because Davis had been 32-for-32 in save chances this year, the Cubs could appreciate all the heart-pounding action and how this compared to October.  

“We 100 percent won that game today, it seemed like,” Davis said in his monotone voice. “The offense and everything was incredible, coming back twice. It’s definitely on me.”

It was jarring to watch Travis Shaw drive a hanging curveball over the fence in left-center field and into the Milwaukee bullpen. Teammates waited for Shaw at home plate with Gatorade buckets after that game-winning two-run homer, showering him and tearing his jersey apart amid the mosh pit, the Brewers still clinging to their hopes in the National League wild-card race.

The perfect season already ended for Davis in the ninth inning, when Orlando Arcia hammered a misplaced 92-mph fastball that stayed just inside the left-field foul pole and landed in the second deck.

The crowd of 44,067 watched Davis blow his first save since Sept. 2, 2016, which also happened to be his first game back in the Kansas City Royals bullpen after spending more than a month on the disabled list with a flexor strain in his right elbow.

“There’s nothing to lament right there,” manager Joe Maddon said. “Another intensely good baseball game. And they got us at the end. But there’s no way, shape or form to point a finger at Wade.”

Davis wasn’t pointing a finger at Maddon and doing an Aroldis Chapman impression, but the All-Star closer did admit: “My arm was dragging a little bit.”

The Cubs had used Davis five times within the last eight days, including a back-to-back-to-back last weekend against the St. Louis Cardinals and then asking him to get five outs in Thursday night’s 10-inning comeback win over Milwaukee. Until Saturday’s comeback, the Brewers had been 0-54 when trailing after eight innings.  

“I just made a lot of bad pitches,” Davis said, who had converted his last 38 save chances and set a new franchise record to begin his Cubs career/set him up for a big contract this winter as a free agent.

Maddon, who will face another round of bullpen-management questions when the playoffs begin, had Hector Rondon warming up in the 10th inning, but the right-hander threw a scoreless inning on Friday night, his first appearance since Sept. 8 after getting treated for a sore elbow.

“If we did not score when we scored, I would have brought Rondon into the game,” Maddon said. “But once we scored, I put him back out there. It was a pretty easy equation.

“He’s your best guy. There’s no second-guessing whatsoever. He was fine to go back out there.”

What did The Streak mean to you?

“Not much,” Davis said. “I obviously wanted to win today’s game and put us in a better position than we were yesterday. So it kind of stinks, but, you know, move on from it.”

That summed up the entire mood inside the visiting clubhouse, the Cubs pointing to a dominant Kyle Hendricks start (one run in six innings), Justin Wilson auditioning for a trusted role out of the playoff bullpen (four outs) and a resourceful lineup that manufactured offense without hitting home runs.  

“It’s been a hell of a series so far,” Hendricks said.

The magic number to eliminate the Brewers from the division race remains four, while the Cardinals were at five heading into their Saturday night game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Cubs can’t wait to unleash Davis in October.

“There’s no difference between these three games and the games that are going to occur the next month,” Maddon said. “They were absolutely that intense.”