Epstein’s replacement in Boston, Ben Cherington, 37, who worked at Fenway for 13 years, has the toughest job. John Lackey, who had a terrible year (12-12, 6.41 ERA) will miss all of 2012 with an arm injury. Daisuke Matsuzaka won’t return from his arm trouble until after the All-Star break. Cherington has a lot of uniforms to fill as the new manager will probably bring a new coaching staff, too
Speaking of general managers, Rangers GM Jon Daniels is in the best position. Flush with cash from a great local television contract and postseason dollars, Texas has the bait to land an expensive big name free agent. Also, the Rangers are blessed with numerous talented young players in their minor league system to use in trades.
Daniels, born and raised in the New York area is a graduate of Cornell University and began his baseball career in 2001 as an intern with the Colorado Rockies. In 2004, he was hired by Rangers general manager John Hart ( now a frequent face on the MLB channel). Daniels became Hart’s assistant and when Hart retired in October 2005, Daniels, 28 at the time, became the youngest GM in baseball history.
A tip of the cap to the St. Louis Cardinals. (St. Louis is one of my “mancation” sites in 2012.) The Cards played great ball in the last month by coming from a 10-and a half-game deficit to clinch a wild card spot and take all their opponents in the postseason. I really expected the Tigers and Phillies to face off in the World Series as both are superior teams to the Cardinals.
The Rangers, however, are a bit better than the Tigers, so Detroit must improve more than Texas this off-season. St. Louis and the rest of the top teams are all looking to get better for next season. Which is why we’re in for a very interesting winter.
Irwin Cohen headed a national baseball publication for five years and earned a World Series ring while working in a big league front office. To read his illustrated autobiography on how he made it to the baseball field, send a check for $19.95, payable to Irwin Cohen, to 25921 Stratford Place, Oak Park, Michigan, 48237. Cohen, the president of the Detroit area’s Agudah shul, may be
reached in his dugout at email@example.com.