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Following up: White Sox bench coach search, holding runners

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Sandy Alomar Jr. is reportedly no longer a candidate, and the Cubs show the importance of slowing down the running game

Tom Lynn/Getty Images

For those White Sox fans sifting through boxes to find their old Sandy Alomar Jr. jerseys, Scott Merkin says you can call off the search.

Merkin provided an update on the hunt for a bench coach, and while he backed Daryl Van Schouwen's report that the Sox talked to Alomar about the position, Merkin says the Cleveland first-base coach is not a candidate for the vacancy. In his stead, Merkin lists four other guys who are more legitimate possibilities:

A source confirmed to MLB.com that former managers Manny Acta and Rick Renteria, as well as Raul Ibanez, are names on that list of potential bench coach candidates. [...]

Another possibility is moving Joe McEwing, the team's third-base coach, into the bench coach role and bringing in someone to take McEwing's spot.

It's an intriguing field of candidates with their own identities. Acta is an analytically adept sort who wasn't given the strongest rosters in Washington and Cleveland. Renteria's own managerial career was stunted when the Cubs dumped him after one encouraging season for Joe Maddon. McEwing has worked his way up the minor-league ladder and Robin Ventura's staff. Ibanez would be skipping a few steps.

Yet they also have distinct reasons to be pessimistic about their chances. Acta's exits were accompanied by murmurs of being unable to connect to players. Renteria is a candidate for managerial openings and is still receiving the Cubs' money for one more year. McEwing is part of a staff that hasn't gotten results, and it doesn't seem wise to break in Ibanez alongside a manger who is in the last year of his contract.

But sizing up candidates this way is probably meaningless, because Alomar's resume would've been the hardest to smother with a wet blanket from this distance, and he's apparently not a part of the mix anymore.

Star-divide

A couple weeks ago, I mentioned that the White Sox rotation became unusually difficult to run on due in large part to their lefty-heavy rotation. One thing I didn't mention -- the White Sox as a team posted the third-best Takeoff Rate Above Average at -2.54 percent.

On the flip side is the Chicago Cubs. Over at Baseball Prospectus, Sahadev Sharma noted that Cubs pitchers were the easiest to run on with a TRAA of 4.5 percent, and it wasn't just Jon Lester and his fear of pickoff moves. The staff struggled as a whole, and Sharma says it was a weakness that the Mets picked apart during the NLCS, even though they barely ran during the regular season.

The Mets stole a total of 51 bases on the season, 29th in the game. Eighteen teams stole more bases that the Mets attempted (76). But in this series, New York has stolen five bases, three of which were of third base (they stole third five times in the regular season) with all three of those runners coming around to score. Each of those runs was costly, but the killer may have come in Game Three.

"We came in knowing that we had to be a little aggressive on the bases, something we don't normally do," Mets manager Terry Collins said after his team’s Game Three win. "We're not that kind of a team. But we told the guys, look, if you get on and you think you can go, go."

Yoenis Cespedes did, and this steal of third may have swung the series, as he scored the go-ahead run for the game -- and the series -- on a dropped third strike.