NL Central Notes: Shelton, India, Stephenson, Miley

Terms weren’t reported on Derek Shelton’s contract when he was first hired as the Pirates’ manager in November 2019, but The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal writes that Shelton’s deal is believed to run through the 2023 campaign.  That would make it a four-year commitment to Shelton, who has only a 95-158 record during his two-plus years of managing the rebuilding team.  While nobody expected Shelton to win given his threadbare rosters, progress of some type is expected, so Rosenthal feels there could be some questions asked if the Pirates post another 100-loss season.  However, Rosenthal also notes that “Shelton has served almost as an assistant general manager” to GM Ben Cherington.

Speaking to a broader point of Rosenthal’s piece about skippers around baseball, he writes that “GMs of tanking teams, in particular, often are reluctant to hold managers responsible for the non-competitive clubs they’ve assembled, knowing a dismissal will only lead to greater scrutiny of their own actions.”  While there are certainly some managers on shorter-term deals who are under additional pressure in 2022, it remains to be seen how many of these skippers might actually be let go after the year.

More from around the NL Central…

  • The Reds might be able to activate Jonathan India from the 10-day IL on Tuesday, his first day of eligibility to return.  India has taken grounders and run the bases on each of the last two days, and told’s Mark Sheldon and other reporters that he is “feeling great,” though “I’m not going to push anything to come back right now.”  India has been out of action with a right hamstring strain, and is one of 11 Cincinnati players on the injured list
  • Tyler Stephenson is on the seven-day version of the IL after suffering a concussion on April 20, and manager David Bell told Sheldon and company that the catcher will likely be sidelined until early May.  Bell even implied that Stephenson may not join the Reds during an upcoming road trip that runs April 29 to May 5, if just for precautionary reasons in advance of a possible May 6 activation.
  • Wade Miley has yet to make his Cubs debut due to left elbow inflammation that arose during Spring Training, but the veteran southpaw is getting closer to pitching.  670 The Score’s Bruce Levine (Twitter link) was among those to report that Miley came out of a 50-pitch side session on Saturday with no issues, and Miley is now lined up to throw a live batting practice session on Wednesday.  Miley is loosely scheduled to be activated off the 10-day IL sometime in May, though a more exact date will be known as the left-hander takes more steps in the recovery process.

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