Marlins Rumors: Cueto, Leake, Cespedes

In his Sunday column, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald has a number of noteworthy Marlins items.  Here’s a look at some of the highlights..

Giants, Eddy Julio Martinez Agree To $2.5MM Deal

The Giants and highly-touted center field prospect Eddy Julio Martinez have reached agreement on a $2.5MM pact, according to’s Jesse Sanchez (on Twitter).

Martinez, regarded by some as the top free agent on this year’s international market, has flown under the radar of late after generating quite a bit of buzz late in the spring and early this summer. It was written on multiple occasions that the 20-year-old center fielder was expected to command a bonus in excess of $10MM, but he will reportedly sign a deal worth only 25% of that.  The Giants have already spent heavily enough on international free agents to incur the maximum penalties, so the only further repercussion they’ll face with the Martinez deal is further luxury taxation.  Their high-priced class includes $6MM shortstop Lucius Fox, who is also rated as one of this year’s top international players.

The Dodgers, Reds, Cubs, Astros and Rangers were also linked to Martinez at various times.  As Sanchez noted in his free scouting report, Martinez has a compact and powerful stroke plus the ability to hit home runs to all fields. His speed gives him base-stealing upside, and he should be able to remain in center field thanks to good range in the gaps and an accurate throwing arm.  Baseball America’s Ben Badler (subscription only) is less bullish, suggesting Martinez’s power leads more to doubles than home runs and noting that not all scouts believe he’ll stick as a starter in center field.

Latest On Angels GM Search

11:37am: The Angels will only be hiring one GM, not a GM plus a senior baseball executive, Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times tweets.  Eppler is the most likely choice for the job, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register hears.

8:58am: Internal candidates Hal Morris, Matt Klentak, and Scott Servais are no longer in the running for the Angels’ GM job, sources tell Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times (on Twitter).  Blue Jays assistant GM Tony LaCava has also been taken out of consideration.

Now that the field has been narrowed down, it appears that the shortlist is comprised of Yankees assistant GM Billy Eppler and Dodgers exec Josh Byrnes, per DiGiovanna (link). The Yankees believe that Eppler will get the gig, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, but Jon Heyman of hears rumblings that Byrnes could actually be installed as the president to work above Eppler.

It will be interesting to see what happens with the trio of Angels internal candidates who have apparently been ruled out, as well as LaCava.  Klentak has been linked to high-profile GM jobs in the past, including the recent Red Sox and Phillies vacancies.  Servais, a former major leaguer turned assistant GM, could be lured to Seattle by newly installed Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto, according to Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune.  LaCava, meanwhile, has been strongly considered for GM openings in the past and he even (reportedly) turned down an offer to become the Orioles’ GM back in 2011.

John Farrell To Return As Red Sox Manager In 2016

The Red Sox announced that John Farrell will be back as manager in 2016.   Torey Lovullo, meanwhile, will return as bench coach for 2016.

Lovullo has inked a two-year contract extension with the club taking him through the 2017 season.  Surprisingly, Lovullo has “waived the right to pursue any major league managerial openings in the 2015/16 offseason” as per the terms of his deal.  Lovullo has long been considered a managerial candidate in the majors and many expected him to be a hot candidate once again this winter.

The good news within the press release is that Farrell has completed chemotherapy treatments in Boston.  Ostensibly, the announcement that he will return to managing if given a clean bill of health is another positive sign for his recovery.  The 53-year-old Farrell has served as the team’s manager dating back to 2013 — a season that saw the former Red Sox pitching coach win a World Series title in his return to Boston. He’s compiled a 218-220 record in the regular season while serving as Boston’s skipper and has also managed the Blue Jays at the Major League level.

Baseball Blogs Weigh In: Cubs, Tigers, Blue Jays

On this date three years ago, the Red Sox fired manager Bobby Valentine, as Leo Panetta of writes. Valentine, who lasted only ten months in Boston, led the team to a 69-93 mark, the club’s worst campaign since 1965.

Here’s this week’s look around the baseball blogosphere..

Please send submissions to Zach at

AL East Notes: Anthopoulos, Samardzija, Farrell, Lovullo, Red Sox

Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos’ contract expires on October 31, but he doesn’t want his status to be a story, writes John Lott of the National Post. Both Anthopoulos and Rogers Communications have expressed a desire to continue working together. Given Toronto’s success this season, an extension seems like a formality. While Anthopoulos could potentially earn more via free agency, he says “money has never motivated me in the slightest bit.

Here’s more from the AL East:

  • Jeff Samardzija could be on the Yankees radar, writes Brendan Kuty of Kuty is referencing a previous report via CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman. Kuty adds that GM Brian Cashman nearly acquired Samardzija from the Cubs in 2014, but he was outbid by the A’s. New York’s rotation will include Masahiro Tanaka, CC Sabathia, Luis Severino, and Michael Pineda. Three of those names have battled various ailments while Severino has just 10 major league starts under his belt. Conservatively, the club should probably look to add two starters over the offseason.
  • The Red Sox are in a difficult position regarding manager John Farrell and interim manager Torey Lovullo, writes Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe. Lovullo deserves to manage in the majors, but the club has committed to allowing Farrell to return once treatment for his lymphoma is complete. However, there is a chance Farrell may not be healthy enough to take over next year. Ideally, the Red Sox would love to have Lovullo available to step in. The club could opt to deny Lovullo the ability to interview with other clubs, but that’s an uncommon step in today’s game. Usually, off-field personnel are allowed to interview elsewhere if  it involves a promotion.
  • From Lovullo’s perspective, he hopes to manage again in 2016, writes Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald. He’s happy in Boston, but intends to pursue managerial opportunities elsewhere if necessary. The Red Sox have responded well under Lovullo’s stewardship which should make him a popular target with other clubs.
  • The Red Sox have been one of the best teams in the second half of the season, but was it for real, wonders Joel Sherman of the New York Post. The club has a few excellent, young assets like Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts. Sherman highlights three big storylines to watch in Boston. Hanley Ramirez is being converted to first base, but he may be traded too. The situation with Farrell shouldn’t be left to linger too long. Lastly, the Red Sox are expected to finally acquire an ace – probably via free agency.

NL East Notes: Scherzer, Harang, Pierzynski, Matz, Ichiro

Nationals ace Max Scherzer has completed his second no-hitter of the season. The Mets fell victim to an utterly dominating outing. Scherzer fanned 17 hitters. The only base runner reached via error. The win actually has some postseason implications too. The Dodgers are now just one win away from securing home field advantage against New York. Scherzer no-hit the Pirates earlier this year. He struck out 10 in that contest. This was also the second time the Mets were no-hit (Chris Heston).

  • Phillies starter Aaron Harang has yet to decide if he’ll play in 2016, tweets Jake Kaplan of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Harang, 37, posted a 4.86 ERA with 5.72 K/9 and 2.70 BB/9 over 166 and 2/3 innings. Through his first 11 starts, he had a 2.02 ERA and 3.10 FIP, but injuries soon sapped his production. Harang will consult with his family in San Diego before making a decision.
  • Newly minted Phillies president Andy MacPhail is part of a long baseball tradition, writes Frank Fitzpatrick of the Philadelphia Inquirer. His father, former baseball executive Lee MacPhail once described his son as decisive, adding “he never second-guesses himself.” The Phillies will hope that decisiveness results in a rapid turnaround after a miserable season. If you’re looking to learn more about the MacPhail dynasty, Fitzpatrick provides a thorough background.
  • Against all odds, Nationals infielder Dan Uggla won a roster spot in Spring Training and never gave it up, writes Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post. Uggla didn’t earn much playing time with the Nationals. Including two plate appearances today, he’s hit .183/.298/.300 in 141 plate appearances. Uggla believes his vision and health are back to where they were in his Marlins days. While it’s unclear if Uggla will find a guaranteed contract this offseason, multiple sources with Washington praised his clubhouse presence.
  • The Braves hope to re-sign catcher A.J. Pierzynski, reports David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The soon-to-be 39-year-old had a remarkably productive season after signing a one-year, $2MM contract over the offseason. He’s hit .300/.339/.430 with nine home runs. Pierzynski figures to receive some attention in free agency, but teams may be wary of his age and reputation.
  • Mets starter Steven Matz is starting to build a reputation as injury prone, writes Andy Martino of the New York Daily News. Personally, it seems too soon to worry over seemingly minor injuries – even if they are poorly timed. However, one rival executive wondered “is he one of those guys where there is always going to be an issue?” For now, the Mets have to decide if and how they want to use him in the postseason. However, it’s possible the club could use him as trade bait over the offseason given their rotation strength. His trade value will be at a low point if rival clubs view him as an injury risk.
  • Marlins outfielder Ichiro Suzuki aims to play 10 more years, writes David Waldstein of the New York Times. The former Mariners star has played in 150 games for Miami due to a serious of injuries in the outfield. He’s posted a .233/.286/.284 line over 431 plate appearances. Advanced defensive measures look favorably upon his performance in the outfield. While another 10 years feels like a stretch, Ichiro should receive ample opportunity to reach 3,000 hits. He’s currently 65 shy.

West Notes: Nevin, Puig, Iwakuma, Dipoto

The Padres are considering Phil Nevin for their managerial job, tweet Scott Miller of Bleacher Report. Nevin, currently managing for the Diamondbacks Triple-A affiliate, also played for the Padres from 1999 through 2005. Per Miller, he is “among those under consideration.” Miller also says that current interim manager Pat Murphy isn’t expected to return.

  • The Dodgers have reinstated outfielder Yasiel Puig from the disabled list, the team announced via press release. Puig will man right field and bat sixth tonight. The 24-year-old slugger has battled injury this season. The most recent malady was a right hamstring strain. He’s managed just 306 plate appearances this year. His .256/.324/.440 batting line is solid (112 wRC+) but falls well short of expectations. With the playoffs right around the corner, Puig will have two games to tune up. Manager Don Mattingly doesn’t plan to start him tomorrow, but he’ll be available off the bench, per Bill Plunkett of the Orange Country Register (via Twitter).
  • Hisashi Iwakuma looked at yesterday’s start as a normal appearance, writes Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune. Iwakuma, a free agent after the season, says he prefers to remain in Seattle, but he is seeking a multi-year deal. Mariners officials would also like to re-sign him, calling it a priority. Iwakuma had another solid season despite making just 20 starts. He posted a 3.54 ERA with 7.70 K/9 and 1.46 BB/9.
  • Newly installed Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto has a busy offseason ahead of him, writes Dutton. The club’s farm system has failed to produce a top talent in recent seasons. For that reason (and others), industry insiders expect Dipoto to lure Angels assistant GM Scott Servais away L.A. Dipoto also has to make a quick decision about manager Lloyd McClendon and build depth. Lengthening the rotation is a stated goal so an extension for Iwakuma appears likely.

Santiago Casilla’s 2016 Option Vests

Santiago Casilla closed out the Giants win today for his 37th save. More importantly, he triggered his $6.5MM vesting option for 2016. As we learned earlier this season, Casilla needed to finish 55 games for the option to vest. He was already guaranteed a $1MM buyout if it did not vest, so he secured an additional $5.5MM today.

Casilla, 35,  had a strong season as the Giants closer with a 2.83 ERA, 9.58 K/9, and 3.61 BB/9. The strikeout rate was the best of his career. Over 496 career innings, Casilla has a 3.16 ERA, 7.94 K/9, 3.92 BB/9, and 95 saves.

Following the game, manager Bruce Bochy indicated that Casilla’s option would have been picked up even if it hadn’t vested, tweets Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News. Indeed, the decision was a no-brainer so long as Casilla finished the season healthy. The additional $5.5MM payment is well below market value for an established closer.

Twins Notes: Hunter, Pitching, Cotts

The Twins were eliminated from the playoffs earlier today, notes Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (video). Heyman looked at possible offseason plans for the club. The lineup is youthful and includes top prospects Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano, and former top prospect Aaron Hicks. Eddie Rosario also had a strong season, and Max Kepler is waiting in the wings for an opportunity. The future may be bright, but experience is an issue. Minnesota may benefit from to re-signing Torii Hunter (more on that in a moment), but may need to look at him as a fourth outfielder.

Here’s more from Minnesota:

  • Heyman also highlights the pitching staff as an area that needs improvement. The club will lose Mike Pelfrey to free agency, and he had a deceptively decent season. They’ll hope to get full, healthy seasons out of Ricky Nolasco and Ervin Santana next year. Another veteran in the Pelfrey mold could make sense. Personally, I wouldn’t be shocked to see them compete for a second tier starter like Mike Leake. The club could look at themselves as the 2016 version of the Cubs. The bullpen also needs work. Glen Perkins is a fine anchor, but he’s missed time at the end of the last two seasons with a neck issue.
  • Hunter remains undecided about retiring, he tells reporters including Rhett Bollinger of (via Twitter). “This possibly could be my last game. And there’s a really good chance.Betsy Halfand of has more detail. Hunter says he would have announced his retirement months ago if the Twins had suffered through another futile. However, the possibility that they could return to the postseason next year has delayed his decision. He’ll likely wait until after the college football season (both of his sons play) before making an announcement.
  • Hunter does say he’s not interested in a part time role, “Eighty one games? I’m not coming back for that.” If the Twins want to re-sign him, they may need to get creative with some of their younger players. The 40-year-old is coming off his first below average offensive campaign since 2003. He did manage to hit 22 home runs over 563 plate appearances. An unusually low .257 BABIP looks like the culprit behind his poor average and on base percentage.
  • Reliever Neal Cottswould love” to return to the Twins next season, writes Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press. Cotts, 35, signed a one-year, $3MM contract with the Brewers last offseason. The Twins acquired him in mid-August. With Minnesota, he posted a decent 3.95 ERA with 5.93 K/9, and 2.63 BB/9 in 13 and 2/3 innings. Presumably, he would require a similar commitment to re-sign for 2016.

AL Notes: Chen, Hamilton, Athletics, Walters

Wei-Yin Chen‘s start against the Yankees on Saturday was likely his last for the Orioles, Rich Dubroff of notes. Chen is expected to depart via free agency. “I would be happy if I was given the chance to come back here,” says Chen. “But sometimes as a professional player, it’s inevitable that you have to change teams and adapt to a new environment. I don’t know where I will pitch next year, I just know I will do my best to pitch [in] each game.” Chen’s initial big-league contract, which covered the 2012-14 seasons, included a 2015 option, and ended up costing a total of about $16MM, was a success for the Orioles — Chen gave them more than 700 quality innings, posting an ERA+ at or better than league average in all four seasons. At age 30, he’s now in good position to cash in on the free agent market. As MLBTR’s Jeff Todd noted in August, though, the qualifying offer the Orioles figure to extend could affect Chen’s value, particularly given the market’s strong group of pitchers. Here’s more from the American League.

  • As part of their complex deal to acquire him in April, the Rangers control Josh Hamilton‘s rights through 2017, with the Angels taking on most of his salary. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal tweets that the Rangers’ obligation going forward is extremely minimal — they’ll pay Hamilton nothing in 2016 and only $2MM in 2017. Hamilton has played a small role on the 2015 Rangers, batting .247/.287/.407 in 174 plate appearances.
  • Billy Burns and Mark Canha both unexpectedly played key roles for the Athletics this year, John Hickey of Bay Area News Group writes. Burns thought he would spend most of the year with the Athletics’ Triple-A affiliate in Nashville, while Canha thought he’d be with the Marlins’ Triple-A team in New Orleans. Instead, Burns started about three-quarters of Oakland’s games in center field and hit .295/.333/.394, also stealing 26 bases. Canha, meanwhile, headed to the A’s in the Rule 5 Draft and batted .249/.308/.413. Their emergences have been bright spots in what has otherwise been a lost year for the Athletics.
  • The Indians have announced that infielder/outfielder Zach Walters had shoulder surgery on Friday to fix a labral tear. He’ll be out five to six months, and the team hopes he’ll be ready for the start of the 2016 season. The Indians acquired Walters for Asdrubal Cabrera in 2014 after a hot half-season at Triple-A Syracuse, but he hasn’t been able to maintain the power-hitting pace he set then, either in the minors or the big leagues. He spent most of this season with Triple-A Columbus, batting .249/.310/.416 in 379 plate appearances.

Dipoto On Marte, Wilhelmsen, Mariners’ Core

New Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto touches on a variety of topics in a wide-ranging interview with Larry Stone of the Seattle Times. Here are some of the highlights.

  • Dipoto says he is not planning a full-scale rebuild, and therefore is not looking to trade core players like Kyle Seager, Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz or Felix Hernandez. “The greater likelihood is, we’ll focus on those four guys, and Taijuan Walker, as the core we’re trying to build around,” says Dipoto. “And we’ll have to be more creative in finding ways to augment that group, rather than using that group to build a new program.”
  • Dipoto hasn’t yet seen rookie shortstop Ketel Marte play live much, but he sounds open to the possibility that Marte could play the position full-time.
  • The GM reiterates that re-signing Hisashi Iwakuma will be a priority, as was previously reported this week.
  • Dipoto says he would be happy with Tom Wilhelmsen as the Mariners’ closer next year, but adds that another possibility is that he could also acquire another reliever to close and use Wilhelmsen as a setup man.
  • Dipoto praises hitting coach Edgar Martinez but has not yet committed to Martinez remaining in that position 2016.
  • The GM is aware that the Mariners could get a protected top-ten pick in next year’s draft if they do poorly this weekend, but he says he hasn’t discussed that topic with manager Lloyd McClendon. “It’s something that as a team-planner, an organization builder, I’m aware of the value that’s associated with that,” Dipoto says. “But as a former player, and understanding how it works out there, I try to turn the volume down in my head. Because these guys have to go out and compete.”

Reds To Retain Bryan Price

2:53pm: GM Walt Jocketty has officially announced that Price will return next season, according to C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer  (Twitter links). Decisions on the Reds’ coaches will be made in the coming weeks.

9:44am: The Reds plan to keep manager Bryan Price for 2016, Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported earlier this week that the Reds were considering retaining Price, although changes could be made to his coaching staff.

The Reds have suffered through an ugly 63-97 season and are currently in the midst of a 13-game losing streak, and Price himself attracted headlines earlier this season for a profanity-laced tirade directed at a reporter. They also finished just 76-86 in 2014, Price’s first year on the job.

Via Rosenthal, however, the idea behind keeping Price might be that he is not responsible for trades of veterans like Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake and Marlon Byrd, and neither is it his fault that the Reds haven’t gotten full, healthy seasons from key players like Devin Mesoraco, Homer Bailey, Billy Hamilton and Zack Cozart. The Reds’ rotation currently consists entirely of rookies, so perhaps it’s not surprising that they’re struggling.

The Reds promoted Price from pitching coach to manager following the 2013 season, when they dismissed Dusty Baker. Price is signed to a three-year deal that continues through 2016. There has been no indication yet that the Reds plan to extend Price.

Marlins Front Office To Undergo “Significant Changes”

2:22pm: As has been previously reported, the Marlins have offered Jennings a spot in their front office. He’s still deciding what to do, however, as Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald writes. “From a standpoint of if I’m asked to go back upstairs, then there are conversations that are going to have to take place because I want to understand where things are, because I’ve been removed for 4 1/2 months,” says Jennings. “There’s catch-up that I have to be involved in and conversations that need to take place so that I’m up to speed as to how things have evolved in the front office.”

12:02pm: The Marlins have talked to Rays director of player personnel Matt Arnold about a front office job, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets.

10:12am: There will be “significant changes” in the Marlins’ front office, Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports tweets. Current assistant GM Mike Berger will take over a role similar to that of GM, although it’s unknown at this point what his actual title will be. It’s not clear what role, if any, current manager and former full-time GM Dan Jennings will occupy. Lately, owner Jeffrey Loria has reportedly listened to Berger and others more closely than Jennings. Also, the Marlins recently fired pro scout Mickey White and reassigned vice president of player personnel Craig Weissmann, both close associates of Jennings.

The Marlins are also currently interviewing candidates for their managerial job. It had previously been reported that they had offered Jennings a job in their front office, although perhaps he’ll go elsewhere, with the Phillies being one possibility.

It has, of course, been a disappointing season in Miami. The Marlins acquired Mat Latos, Martin Prado, Dee Gordon, Dan Haren, Michael Morse, Ichiro Suzuki and others last winter in an attempt to contend, but they struggled out of the gate, fired manager Mike Redmond, and have slouched to a 69-90 season so far amidst injuries to key players like Giancarlo Stanton and Jose Fernandez.

Rosenthal On Eppler, Cherington, Orioles, Black

Here’s the latest from Ken Rosenthal, via a video on FOX Sports:

  • Nothing is official, and it’s hard to tell what Angels owner Arte Moreno might be thinking, but the Yankees still believe assistant GM Billy Eppler will get the open GM job in Anaheim. One possible reason the Angels haven’t yet made the announcement is that they might have to face the Yankees in the AL Wild Card matchup.
  • Former Red Sox GM Ben Cherington isn’t likely to try to get a GM job this offseason, but perhaps the Phillies job could be appealing to him, since he and Phillies owner John Middleton both went to Amherst. If Cherington takes a GM job, he’ll want to work with someone he trusts.
  • The Orioles have extended bench coach John Russell’s contract, but have not done the same for their other coaches, and it looks like changes could be afoot. Pitching coach Dave Wallace appears most likely to head elsewhere (and other teams are already inquiring about his availability). Any potential coaching changes could lead to disagreements between GM Dan Duquette and manager Buck Showalter.
  • The Marlins and Nationals could be potential landing spots for manager Bud Black, and the Braves might also become a possibility at some point, given that he once worked as an assistant to current Braves exec John Hart. The Dodgers might also come into play if they part ways with Don Mattingly.