Front Office Notes: Angels, Eppler, Marlins, Jennings

The front office rumblings are coming at a steady pace now. Needless to say, there are a lot of moving parts in the multiple front offices in the midst of turnover around the league. Kiley McDaniel of Fangraphs breaks down some of the names and considerations that will be in play over the coming months.

On to the latest news and rumors:

  • Yankees assistant GM Billy Eppler seems to be an oft-spoken name early in the GM hiring season, and ESPN.com’s Buster Olney tweets that Eppler is “expected to be a strong frontrunner” for the Angels‘ opening. While Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports added on Twitter that Los Angeles had yet to request permission from New York to speak with Eppler, Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times later tweeted that the clubs have been in contact regarding that matter.
  • Eppler will have competition, of course, and DiGiovanna further tweets that the Angels have been in touch with other teams seeking permission to speak with their executives. It’s still unclear at present how many will get serious consideration for the role, he adds.
  • The Marlins‘ lower-level front office changes continued today, as the team fired pro scout Mikey White, per Rosenthal (Twitter links). White was close with GM-turned-manager (and possible future GM) Dan Jennings, says Rosenthal, as was recently-reassigned VP of player personnel Craig Weissman.
  • It’s not clear that anything should be read into those tea leaves, as MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro reports that there were “strong indications” today that Jennings is likely heading back into the Marlins‘ general manager position after the season. Jennings had a meeting yesterday regarding the organization’s future direction, though he declined to discuss it. He’s also been mentioned as a possible candidate for the Seattle opening.

Minor MLB Transactions: 9/4/15

Here are Friday’s minor moves from around the league…

  • Two Angels ballplayers — righty Drew Rucinski and outfielder Alfredo Marte — have cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple-A, Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times tweets. The pair was designated on September 1st as Los Angeles cleared out 40-man space for its September call-ups.
  • Righty Dylan Axelrod was outrighted by the Reds, C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports on Twitter. The 30-year-old, a former starter with the White Sox, has worked 30 2/3 innings of 4.70 ERA pitching out of the Cincinnati pen over the last two seasons.
  • The Phillies announced that they’ve selected the contract of outfielder Brian Bogusevic and transferred left-hander Elvis Araujo to the 60-day disabled list in order to clear a spot for him on the 40-man roster. Bogusevic, 31, has had a nice season at the Triple-A level with Philadelphia, hitting .296/.359/.424 with 12 homers and 24 steals. He has a fair amount of MLB experience under his belt — most recently with the Cubs in 2013, when he slashed .273/.323/.462 in 155 plate appearances. Araujo strained his groin and landed on the 15-day DL late last month, so by transferring him to the 60-day DL, the Phils have effectively ended his season.

Latest On Matt Harvey And Mets

We learned earlier today, in a report from Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, that some disagreement has arisen between the Mets and agent Scott Boras regarding the handling of 26-year-old righty Matt Harvey. Boras claims that the club is risking an injury to Harvey, who underwent Tommy John surgery in October of 2013, by not adhering to a 180-inning limit this season. (Harvey has already thrown 166 1/3 frames on the year, and has never before exceeded 178 1/3 innings in his career.) In turn, Mets GM Sandy Alderson countered that the team does not believe a hard innings cap should apply.

There’s been plenty more back and forth in the hours since that report emerged. Here’s the latest:

  • Mets assistant GM John Ricco addressed the media, saying that the team will not shut down Harvey — who is obviously a key piece of the club’s rotation — down the stretch, as ESPNNewYork.com’s Adam Rubin was among those to report. (Rubin also reported earlier that the team would abide by this approach.) Harvey will have at least one start skipped, with the team moving to a six-man rotation, and is expected to end up with between 190 and 195 regular season innings.
  • Ricco also said that Harvey will throw a “reasonable” number of innings in the postseason, with the team monitoring how he feels as things proceed. He added that the Mets believe they have only received recommendations from doctors regarding innings totals, as opposed to firm mandates. There is a chance, per Ricco, that Harvey “could end up being shut down” in the course of the playoffs, though he said that same possibility applies to some extent “with all our pitchers.” (That last quote came courtesy of Matt Ehalt of The Record; Twitter links.)
  • Boras has made several comments to additional media outlets, including MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM (audio links) and The Michael Kay Show on ESPN Radio New York 98.7 FM (audio link). While many of his comments reflect what Heyman already reported, those sources are worth a listen for those who are particularly interested in the topic.
  • According to Harvey’s representative, determining when to shut down a player under these circumstances “always should be a doctor’s decision.” Going into the year, per Boras, there was agreement on all sides that there should be limits, which “had to be defined by doctors as the season unfolded.” When the subject was addressed in August, says Boras, even the club’s own physician expressed that the advice of the surgeon — in this case, the esteemed Dr. James Andrews — should be followed.
  • The parallels to the Nationals’ shutdown of Stephen Strasburg back in 2012 are hard to ignore, of course. Boras told ESPN Radio that the Nationals never allowed the decision to reach the player, instead deciding to follow the “expert medical opinion” in that case to shut down their staff ace when he reached his specified load (and also to pitch him on regular rest over the course of the season). For the Mets to extend Harvey beyond the medical advice, says the super-agent, is an unprecedented decision that puts the righty in “unfound territory” moving forward — in part because doctors are not sure that he’ll be able to continue his usual level of performance the rest of the way.
  • There are no immediate transactional implications for this decision, aside from the fact that Harvey will have an opportunity to increase his 2016 arbitration salary, but the long-term ramifications are potentially broad. Harvey can be controlled via arbitration through 2018. With Boras as his agent, he may be unlikely to reach an extension regardless of whether this matter affects his relationship with the club in any way. (It is worth noting that, according to Boras, Harvey authorized him to discuss the matter with the media.) Any long-term health issues, of course, would potentially impact both Harvey and the club, though it is impossible to weigh that possibility at present.


Three Needs: Arizona Diamondbacks

Last week, I kicked off MLBTR’s Three Needs series by taking a high-level look at the Rockies. As we move down the list of non-contending clubs that are highlighted in this series, we’ll turn to the Diamondbacks, who presently trail the Dodgers by 10.5 games in the NL West and find themselves 11 games back from the second Wild Card spot. As I noted in the Rockies piece, these are mere overlooks of teams, and we’ll go into far more detail on all 30 clubs in MLBTR’s annual Offseason Outlook series. That said, three needs that the D-Backs should look to address this winter…

1. Sort out the rotation. Patrick Corbin‘s going to be in, and Chase Anderson has probably done enough to warrant a role at the back of the starting five. The same goes for Robbie Ray. Anderson’s never topped 153 innings in a pro season, though, and both him and Ray will probably finish the 2015 season around that mark. Corbin threw 200+ innings in 2013 but missed the 2014 season (and much of 2015) recovering from Tommy John. Rubby De La Rosa dominates righties and gets lit up by lefties; he’s been durable, but he’ll need to iron out his platoon splits by honing a third pitch if he’s to remain in the rotation long term. Randall Delgado spent most of the year in the bullpen already. Hopes are high for Archie Bradley, Braden Shipley and Aaron Blair, but none has done much (if anything) in the Majors yet. Allen Webster was a consideration at one point, but his ERA is a stunning 8.37 at Triple-A this season (in 71 innings). Jhoulys Chacin has an opportunity to prove himself, but he’s a one-year option at best, as he’ll have six years of service time following the 2016 season if he spends next year in the Majors.

In the end, the D-Backs have upside but virtually no certainty in the rotation. They could attempt to patch it together, of course, but the lineup has become a fairly complete and cohesive unit, and there are enough interesting arms to fill out the bullpen behind Brad Ziegler and Daniel Hudson‘s suddenly upper-90s arm. With the rest of the team coming together, the rotation certainty takes on greater priority.

Rather than pursue a trade of Aroldis Chapman, as reports have indicated, the D-Backs are better off leveraging this crop of talented-but-unproven arms and their infield depth to pursue rotation stability with some team control. Granted, that’s easier said than done, but the Indians will probably be listening to offers, and one can imagine that the Rays, once again, will be open to the notion of moving pitchers. Mid-level free agent starters make some sense here as well.

2. Find a taker for Aaron Hill‘s contract. The D-Backs have long had a glut of infield options, but the logjam is beginning to clear up. The trade of Mark Trumbo put Yasmany Tomas where he belongs (in the corner outfield). Nick Ahmed‘s glove is an asset at shortstop, and while Chris Owings can play there and has more offensive upside, he’s better suited defensively at second base. Jake Lamb looks like a potential regular at third base. That’s the best infield alignment for the Snakes, and while Hill can theoretically bounce between second and third to spell Owings and Lamb, so, too, could the younger Brandon Drury. (As noted above, that infield depth could also be used for trade purposes, and the Arizona Republic’s Nick Piecoro recently alluded to as much.)

Hill didn’t fit the team’s roster all that well heading into 2015, and he definitely doesn’t heading into 2016. He’s earning $12MM, and while the D-Backs have shown a perhaps misguided willingness to package valuable assets (e.g. Comp Picks, or prospects such as Touki Toussaint) with undesirable contracts in order to shed salary, that’s probably not the best route for a team in their spot. Swapping him for a different unfavorable contract — Hill and White Sox lefty John Danks have similar salaries and are free agents after 2016, for instance — is a better option than sacrificing even more future value for immediate payroll space. If no trade can be reached, releasing Hill to free the roster space and to give him an opportunity for a change of scenery could make sense as well.

3. Pursue a long-term deal with A.J. PollockThere’s a case to be made that Pollock is the most underrated player in baseball — a star on both sides of the ball that receives nowhere near the attention he deserves. Pollock is hitting .315/.366/.497 over the past two seasons with 162-game averages of 18 homers and 38 stolen bases. A right-handed hitter, Pollock certainly handles left-handed pitchers better than right-handers, but he’s carried an OPS north of .800 against righties dating back to Opening Day 2014. He’s also an elite center fielder and one of the game’s best baserunners. Depending on your preferred version of WAR, Pollock has been the seventh (Fangraphs) or ninth (B-Ref) most valuable player in baseball this season. The former first-round pick is eligible for arbitration for the first time this winter and is in the midst of his prime. Arizona controls him for three more seasons, but they’d be wise to seek a lengthier pact.


Heyman’s Latest: Williams, Collins, ChiSox, Keuchel, Halos, Dietrich

In today’s edition of his weekly Inside Baseball column, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports begins by highlighting the fact that the NL East division title race will determine the fate of Nationals manager Matt Williams and Mets manager Terry Collins. Heyman writes that while Nats GM Mike Rizzo has repeatedly backed Williams, Rizzo is something of a “chorus of one” — publicly, at least. Ownership is extremely frustrated with the team’s recent play, and Heyman points out that it may also be telling that amid multiple reports of players disliking his rigid demeanor, not one player from the Nats has stepped forward to defend Williams. Ownership has already discussed dismissing Williams, Heyman adds. Collins, on the other hand, is in line for a new contract if and when the Mets reach the postseason. Falling behind the Nats and missing the playoffs, though, would harken back to 2007’s epic collapse and almost certainly cost Collins his job. Then again, the Mets have remaining series against the Reds, Braves, Phillies and Marlins, as Heyman points out, so a collapse seems particularly unlikely.

Some other highlights from the column…

  • Jeff Samardzija and another unknown White Sox player were both claimed on the same day that the Yankees claimed David Robertson, Heyman reports. However, the Samardzija claim was, like the Robertson claim, primarily a blocking tactic. Heyman notes that while Samardzija has had a very poor contract season, scouts still love his build, athleticism and competitiveness.
  • Dallas Keuchel and the Astros have tabled extension talks until after the season, per Heyman. Houston hopes to lock its ace up on at least a four-year deal — that’d cover his arbitration years and one free agent season — though as I noted when word of discussions between the two sides broke, Keuchel’s currently slated to hit the open market heading into his age-31 season. Delaying his free agency by even one year would probably put a five-year max on the free-agent deal Keuchel could secure, as teams rarely guarantee pitchers’ age-37 seasons in long-term deals.
  • Regarding the Angels‘ GM vacancy, Heyman characterizes recent interviews of internal candidates Matt Klentak and Scott Servais (both assistant GMs) as “perfunctory,” believing an outside hire to be the probably outcome. Klentak could stay on in a role similar to his own, whereas Servais is said by Heyman to be more at odds with manager Mike Scioscia. Kevin Towers, Ned Colletti and Yankees AGM Billy Eppler are all listed as speculative candidates by Heyman.
  • The Dodgers took on about $150K of the remaining $450K on Justin Ruggiano‘s salary when they acquired him from the Mariners.
  • The Marlins are coming around on the idea of Derek Dietrich as a Ben Zobrist/Josh Harrison type of player that can play everyday in part due to his versatility. While Dietrich’s defense isn’t on the same level as that highly valuable duo, the Marlins see him as an athletic bat with 25-homer upside. The 26-year-old Dietrich is hitting .263/.359/.514 in spite of a cavernous home park (138 OPS+) and has smashed 10 homers in 64 games while seeing time at first base, third base and in the corner outfield. None of those are even his natural position, but he’s blocked at second base by Dee Gordon, of course.

Rockies Activate Justin Morneau, Designate Matt McBride

The Rockies have designated outfielder/first baseman Matt McBride for assignment, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post tweets. His roster spot was needed for Justin Morneau, who was activated from the 60-day DL.

After putting up an excellent 2014 campaign, Morneau lasted just 104 plate appearances this season before going down with head and neck issues. Given his history of concussion difficulties, he and the team understandably took a cautious approach.

With a month to go this year, Morneau will have a chance to rebuild his value somewhat. He had not hit terribly well even before the injury — his .290/.317/.450 batting line looks good at first glance, but is actually below league average when adjusted to account for Coors Field. And he’ll be entering his age-35 season in 2016.

As things stand, it seems likely that Colorado will spend $750K to buy out the $9MM mutual option that remains on Morneau’s contract. In that case, he’d once again hit the open market, and surely would attract a host of teams looking to take a chance on him.

McBride, 30, has not done much with his limited playing time this year. He continues to deliver solid results at the Triple-A level, but has never earned an extended look in the big leagues. McBride is the last part of the return for Ubaldo Jimenez left in Colorado, though of course he’s previously been outrighted off of the 40-man roster.


MLBTR Podcast Featuring Rockies GM Jeff Bridich

Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich joins the show as he approaches the one-year anniversary of his promotion. Bridich discusses his approach to building a contender in Colorado, addressing topics such as player development, the altitude effects of Coors Field, and the prospect haul from the Troy Tulowitzki blockbuster he orchestrated this summer.

Host Jeff Todd also runs down the week’s notes and looks ahead to the free agent market for center fielders this coming winter.

Click here to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, and please leave a review! The podcast is also available via Stitcher at this link.

The MLB Trade Rumors Podcast runs weekly on Thursday afternoons.


Indians Designate Carlos Moncrief

The Indians have designated outfielder Carlos Moncrief for assignment, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian tweets. That move, along with a 60-day DL transfer for lefty T.J. House, created roster space for the team to add Michael Martinez and lefty Giovanni Soto to the 40-man roster.

Moncrief, 26, has not yet reached the majors. He’s slashed a somewhat disappointing .227/.346/.367 this year while splitting his time between Double-A and Triple-A, with the better half of the results coming at the lower level. Moncrief put up a more robust .271/.328/.431 batting line in 2014, all of which was spent at the highest level of the minors.


AL Central Notes: Ausmus, Tigers, Kluber

Tigers manager Brad Ausmus’ job “appears to be” in jeopardy, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Some that are familiar with the team’s thinking are wondering if the players have “stopped playing” for Ausmus in light of the team’s recent skid. He adds that Ausmus was a Dave Dombrowski hire, and while new GM Al Avila supported the decision, the Ilitch family (the Tigers’ owners) was far more skeptical on the idea of a rookie manager succeeding legend Jim Leyland. If he does get dismissed from Detroit, Ausmus would “have to wait about eight minutes for another job,” a rival GM tells Heyman.

More from the division…

  • Speaking of the Tigers, MLive.com’s Chris Iott writes that Detroit’s recent six-game road trip perfectly illustrates what a difficult task Avila will have in his first offseason as he attempts to rebuild the pitching staff. Detroit allowed 61 runs and scored just 20 on their recent six-game road trip, and there aren’t even three locks for the 2016 rotation at this point. Veterans Justin Verlander and Anibal Sanchez will be in, and there are young options beyond that duo (most notably, perhaps, Daniel Norris). However, Iott writes that the Tigers will likely add two starters from outside the organization. As far as the bullpen is concerned, there’s perhaps less certainty there, with only three — possibly four — certainties headed into next year. Neftali Feliz is an obvious non-tender candidate, as Iott notes.
  • The Indians announced today that they’ve scratched ace Corey Kluber from his start due to a strained right hamstring. Kluber will be sidelined for one or two starts, but Cleveland expects him to pitch again in 2015. Nonetheless, the injury is notable for a team that is on the outskirts of the AL Wild Card race at six games back and will play its next nine games against teams with sub-.500 records (the White Sox and Tigers).

New York Notes: Teixeira, Harvey, Bullpens

The Yankees and Mets are both firmly in the playoff picture, with the Yanks currently occupying a Wild Card spot and the Mets holding a six-game lead over the Nationals in the NL East. Here’s the latest on each club…

  • Though the Yankees had to put Mark Teixeira on the DL and will be without him for a week, the team isn’t planning to pursue any outside help at first base, GM Brian Cashman tells Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Astros slugger Chris Carter and the MarlinsCasey McGehee have cleared waivers, Sherman reports, and while neither wouldn’t be eligible for the postseason roster if acquired, either could pair with Greg Bird at first base in Teixeira’s absence. However, Cashman doesn’t think the Yankees can find a definitive improvement over their internal options, suggesting that he doesn’t think too highly of either right-handed corner option mentioned by Sherman.
  • Agent Scott Boras feels that the Mets are putting Matt Harvey in danger by not strictly adhering to Dr. James Andrews’ recommended limit of 180 innings. “Any club that chooses to defy a surgeon’s wishes is putting the player in peril,” Boras tells CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman. GM Sandy Alderson contends that he’s consulted with doctors all year and considered any innings limit placed on Harvey to be “soft” in nature. Boras disagrees: “Expert opinion by medical practitioners is not a soft number. There are no soft numbers. These are medical practitioners providing opinions about when a pitcher is at risk, and when a pitcher isn’t at risk.” The Mets plan to skip one of Harvey’s starts in advance of the playoffs, but the righty has still totaled 166 1/3 innings this season, so he’s on pace to pitch far more than 180, especially if the Mets make a deep postseason run. In that scenario, Alderson said that Harvey would be monitored on a “case by case” basis.
  • Bullpen workload is a challenge for both Joe Girardi and Terry Collins down the stretch, writes the Post’s Ken Davidoff. Each skipper has a pair of late-inning weapons (Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances for Girardi; Jeurys Familia and Tyler Clippard for Collins), but each has had a heavy workload that will need to be monitored heading into October. As Davidoff notes, the presence of Clippard has been a godsend for the Mets, who had hoped to rely on a quartet of power arms — Vic Black, Bobby Parnell, Jenrry Mejia and Familia — only to see all but Familia work their way out of the team’s late-inning plans in one way or another.

NL West Notes: Lincecum, Myers, Castillo, D-Backs

The Giants aren’t ruling out the possibility of a reunion with Tim Lincecum following the 2015 season, CEO Larry Baer and manager Bruce Bochy told John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle“I don’t think Timmy is ruling it out, and I don’t think we’re ruling it out,” said Baer. Bochy added: “My door will always be open for Tim Lincecum. That’s how much I think of him. That’s a decision that’s made on the baseball side, obviously with everybody. I appreciate what he’s done and the time I’ve had to this point with him. It doesn’t mean that won’t continue.” Baer called Lincecum’s contributions to the Giants franchise “endless.” The 31-year-old underwent season-ending hip surgery yesterday that will require about five months of recovery time. A free agent at season’s end, it’s possible that Lincecum’s days with the Giants are done.

Elsewhere in the division…

  • Padres outfielder Wil Myers spoke with ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick about the frustration of the past two season’s wrist injuries and the accumulation of the “injury-prone” reputation that’s now become attached to his name. “It’s the worst,” said Myers of the label. “I see it on Twitter and I hear it all the time. Everybody is like, ‘He’s too injury-prone,’ but it’s not like I have a hamstring injury where every time I run, I’m cautious about it. I had a bone spur taken out, and once this heals I won’t have to deal with this injury anymore.” Myers is confident in his ability to rebound once the wrist injury is fully healed, but as Crasnick notes, there’s a question as to where he will play. Myers was probably miscast as a center fielder this season, so he could slide over to left field if Justin Upton departs via free agency. Another possibility is first base, if the Padres are looking for an upgrade over Yonder Alonso’s low power numbers. One NL scout told Crasnick he feels Myers could be a Gold Glove caliber first baseman, based purely on his athleticism.
  • Welington Castillo has positioned himself as the Diamondbacks‘ catcher of the future, but as Zach Buchanan of the Arizona Repbulic writes, Castillo nearly gave up baseball at the age of 16 when faced with the realization that his future was behind the plate. Castillo grew up playing shortstop but lacked the speed or quickness to play there at a high level as he grew. When a Phillies scout asked for a private workout based on Castillo’s bat and then asked him to make some throws from behind the plate, Castillo was impressive but also uninterested. He walked away from the game for three months before being coerced into returning, only to receive an offer of just $10K after another Phillies scout deemed him “too short to catch.” Castillo eventually signed with the Cubs for a meager $22K bonus — a number that, in hindsight, looks like a considerable bargain for Chicago.
  • Buchanan’s colleague, Nick Piecoro, examines the budding logjam in the D-Backs infield. Chris Owings, Nick Ahmed and Jake Lamb have all shown flashes of potential but lack consistency, Piecoro writes, and now the progress of second baseman/third baseman Brandon Drury has muddied the picture. Manager Chip Hale told Piecoro that teams frequently ask about Lamb in trades, and they’ve also received inquiries on Drury and Owings. The presence of multiple seemingly big-league-ready infielders will give Arizona GM Dave Stewart some options as he navigates the trade market this offseason.

Quick Hits: Hart, Phillies, Davis

CJ Nitkowski of FOX Sports takes a look at the upcoming generation of MLB managerial candidates. He provides some interesting notes on five names to watch: D’Backs scout and special assistant Todd Greene, White Sox third base coach Joe McEwing, Dodgers director of player development Gabe Kapler, and Alex Cora and Raul Ibanez, each of whom currently work in the media.

Here are some more scattered notes from around the league:

  • The Pirates announced today that first baseman Corey Hart is finished playing this year. Hart, who signed a one-year, $2.5MM deal with Pittsburgh over the offseason, had been attempting to make a late-season return, but his health and productivity have been lacking all year. He’ll return to the free agent market after the season, but he hasn’t been a significant contributor since 2012 and his future looks murky.
  • While the Phillies possess an ugly win-loss record, as had been expected, the organization has shown real progress this year, CSNPhilly.com’s Jim Salisbury writes. Rival scouts have looked favorably upon the young players acquired in Philadelphia’s numerous recent trades, says Salisbury, and the team’s best higher-level talent has transitioned well thus far to the majors. There’s more to be done, of course, but it isn’t hard to see a promising path forward — especially given that the big-budget Phils now have less than $100MM in total future commitments on their books.
  • Slugger Chris Davis means more to the Orioles than his home run tallies, writes Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore Sun. Of course, bringing him back in free agency will require a sizable commitment, particularly now that Davis — who has yet to turn 30 — is closing in on 40 home runs with a 138 wRC+. It doesn’t hurt that Davis has shown the ability to play a serviceable corner outfield (UZR views him as a slight positive, DRS as a slight negative) in addition to a solid first base. He’ll hold appeal to a variety of teams this winter.

Front Office Notes: Dipoto, Hazen, Cherington, Angels

The Mariners plan to interview current Red Sox consultant and former Angels GM Jerry Dipoto, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports on Twitter. Seattle recently parted with former GM Jack Zduriencik and is on the hunt for a replacement. Seattle appears likely to choose a baseball operations leader with prior experience in a general manager role, though it’s also said to be considering internal options.

Here are more notes on the front office and managerial changes expected to take place this fall and winter:

  • Red Sox assistant GM Mike Hazen is a candidate for the Brewers‘ general manager position, Rosenthal and colleague Jon Morosi report (Twitter links). Milwaukee has not yet begun a formal interview process, he adds. The Brewers say they’ll take their time in finding a new GM, but could be leaning toward a young, analytically-minded candidate.
  • Outgoing Red Sox GM Ben Cherington, meanwhile, may not be in a rush to reclaim that position with a new team, according to another tweet from Rosenthal. Cherington has received interest from clubs in unspecified opportunities, and he’s “in listening mode” rather than actively pursuing another GM post.
  • MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez discusses the Angels‘ GM search, which as recently reported is expected to move quickly. The club has stayed quiet on its thinking thus far, says Gonzalez, but it seems reasonably likely that it will look to go with a first-time GM from another organization. Gonzalez lists a wide number of theoretical candidates.
  • Bob Nightengale of USA Today provides an overview of the actual and potential front office openings around the game. He breaks down the latest rumblings among all of the clubs that seem reasonably likely to pursue change.

Minor MLB Transactions: 9/3/15

Here are today’s minor moves from around the league…

  • Two recently-designated Padres lefties have cleared waivers and received outright assignments, per Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune (via Twitter). Caleb Thielbar and Chris Rearick will both remain in the San Diego organization. The 28-year-old Thielbar has not received many innings at the big league level after two strong campaigns with the Twins. And Rearick will, it appears, end up back where he started before a recent flurry of claims, DFAs, and outrights.
  • Another left-handed reliever, James Russell of the Cubs, has also been outrighted, per MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat (via Twitter). Russell’s return to Chicago has not gone quite as well as hoped, as he’s worked to a 5.29 ERA in 34 frames with 5.3 K/9 against 2.4 BB/9.
  • The Yankees announced today that they have outrighted infielder Cole Figueroa to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. The Yanks designated Figueroa, 28, for assignment earlier this week to make room for a series of September call-ups. He went 2-for-8 in a pair of games with New York at the big league level in 2015 but has spent most of the season at Scranton, where he’s batted .291/.361/.368 in 492 PAs. Figueroa can elect minor league free agency this winter.

East Notes: Bradley, Bour, Sabathia

The Red Sox‘ patience with Jackie Bradley Jr. is finally paying dividends, as Rob Bradford of WEEI.com writes. As Bradford explains, it’s not just about the results on the field. Bradley has, of course, been producing at a remarkable rate since his most recent call-up, but he’s also presented a different kind of demeanor, coachability, and comfort. Always a highly-regarded defender and a consistent offensive producer in the minors, Bradley seems to be putting it all together at the big league level in his age-25 season.

A few more notes out of the game’s eastern divisions …

  • The Marlins are giving an extended look at first baseman Justin Bour to see if he could play an expanded role in the future, MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro writes in a fan Q&A. The left-handed-hitting Bour is getting more plate appearances against southpaws at present. He owns a strong .252/.321/.449 slash with 15 home runs over 336 plate appearances, though he really has yet to be exposed to left-handed pitching at all to date. Another matter that could need addressing is the fact that defensive metrics are not fans of his efforts with the glove thus far.
  • Yankees lefty CC Sabathia says he’s feeling good about his progress as he works to return to the mound, as George A. King III of the New York Post reports“No pain, I’m excited,” Sabathia said of this right knee. GM Brian Cashman said recently that Sabathia will be utilized as a starter when he is activated. There had been some indication that the club was considering utilizing the high-priced former ace in a relief role.