I'm thawing out from a weekish-long writing hibernation, and should be back at it in a day or two with a more regular routine of reports and COFFEY's.
In the meantime, today's the day that Mike Maddux, who pulled his name out of consideration for the Red Sox manager's job on Monday, is set to interview for the Cubs post.
Said the Rangers pitching coach about the Boston decision: "My wife and two daughters are together in the same state for the first time in three years and words cannot describe my happiness. The game of baseball has many sacrifices but being apart from family is the toughest. 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."
Maddux will be Chicago's third interview, following Pete Mackanin and Dale Sveum.
In the days following the World Series, the Rangers lost Senior Director of Player Development Scott Servais and Four Corners area scout Andy Pratt. They could be on the verge of losing a key member of the big league coaching staff and the lead starter in the rotation, too.
The involuntary delayering, to some degree, has been inevitable. Texas is one of the formidable organizations in baseball right now, having gotten there with adherence to a paradigm that most reloading clubs like to think they'll be able to commit to. Maybe the only surprise about the fact that clubs are targeting Rangers personnel is that it didn't happen to this extent sooner.
And relationships are key. Servais is the new Assistant General Manager/Scouting & Player Development for the Angels, whose new GM, Jerry Dipoto, was Colorado's director of player personnel when Servais served as a pro scout for the Rockies. Dipoto, a pitcher, and Servais, a catcher, were also both with Colorado in 2000, near the end of their playing careers.
Pratt will be a pro scout for the Brewers, whose baseball operations department includes Doug Melvin, Reid Nichols, and Dan O'Brien, all of whom were with Texas when Pratt was drafted and developed by the Rangers as a left-handed pitcher. Pratt will report to Milwaukee director of professional scouting Zack Minasian Jr.
Relationships are one key reason not to fear that the loss of Servais and Pratt, and possibly Maddux and C.J. Wilson, will put the Rangers up on cinder blocks. Nobody wants to see guys like that go away. But the Rangers are always prepared. There are capable folks internally, perhaps ready to be entrusted with greater responsibility themselves. There are also relationships around the league, undoubtedly, upon which Texas might be able to draw to bring in people from the outside, if that's the direction the club wants to go.
Losing premium talent, on the field and off, is a necessary cost of being really good. But Texas will carry on, caught off guard by none of it, prepared to move on with a different lineup if that's what it takes, in uniform and in the front office and on the back roads of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah. It's a natural step for a winning franchise.
There were Plans A, B, and C when Cliff Lee decided not to come back last winter, and as a result Adrian Beltre is here for five or six years, having helped Texas get to the World Series for a second straight season, and for the first time himself.
Rest assured that the Rangers have Plans A, B, and C in place to deal with the loss of just about any key figure in the organization. We won't find out today, but soon enough we should know whether those plans need to be fired up to address the loss of a pitching coach.
With the book now in the hands of the publisher and the printing process underway (thanks for the really cool head start we've gotten off to on preorders), I'll be back with a little more regularity going forward, as the Rangers' off-season starts to really get cooking.
Thanks for your patience.