How Common Are Early-Season Manager Firings?

Already, in late April, there are rumors surrounding Marlins manager Mike Redmond, whose job could be in jeopardy after the team’s 3-10 start. April sounds awfully early in the season to fire a manager, and in fact it is — in the past ten seasons, there have been no manager firings in the month of April. There have been plenty of firings in the first halves of seasons, however. Here’s a look at the nine firings in the past decade that took place before a team had finished 81 games in a season, and a brief glimpse at what happened in the next few years after each dismissal. As we’ll see, the outcomes of these firings run the gamut of possible outcomes, making it difficult to say whether replacing a manager early in a given season is a good idea.

  • The Reds fired Dave Miley on June 21, 2005, replacing him with Jerry Narron. Narron lasted barely two seasons and was replaced by Dusty Baker, who had two sub-.500 seasons before leading the Reds to three seasons of 90 or more wins in his next four.
  • The Mariners fired John McLaren on June 19, 2008 after a 25-47 start. After Jim Riggleman finished out the season, the Mariners turned to Don Wakamatsu and Eric Wedge, neither of whom had success, before finally turning to Lloyd McClendon, who had a good first season in 2014.
  • The Rockies fired Clint Hurdle on May 29, 2009 after they got off to an 18-28 start. Jim Tracy took over and the Rockies went 74-42 the rest of the way, making the playoffs.
  • The Diamondbacks fired Bob Melvin on June 8, 2009, replacing him with A.J. Hinch, who managed the team for less than a season and a half before being fired himself.
  • The Royals fired Trey Hillman on May 13, 2010 after a 12-23 start, replacing him with Ned Yost. Yost’s tactical managing gives fans fits, and his first two-plus seasons with the Royals were unsuccessful, but the team has played exceptionally well since then.
  • The Orioles fired Dave Trembley on June 4, 2010. The team struggled for about two months with interim manager Juan Samuel at the helm, but performed well for the last two months of the season under Buck Showalter, whose hiring has so far been a boon for the franchise.
  • The Marlins fired Fredi Gonzalez on June 23, 2010, replacing him with Edwin Rodriguez. Rodriguez posted a .500 record the rest of the season, but he resigned during the 2011 season as the team struggled.
  • The Diamondbacks fired Hinch on July 1, 2010, replacing him with Kirk Gibson. The D-backs had a 94-win season in 2011, but after two .500 seasons and a poor 2014, they fired Gibson, too.
  • The Athletics fired Bob Geren on June 9, 2011, replacing him with Melvin. The team continued to struggle down the stretch in 2011 but has made the playoffs in three straight seasons since.

The Rockies’ swap of Clint Hurdle for Jim Tracy in 2009 (along with the Marlins’ own Jeff Torborg/Jack McKeon switch in their World Series-winning 2003 campaign) is exactly what a team hopes for when it fires a manager early in the season. The Rockies turned their season around under Tracy and made the playoffs after an amazing stretch run.

But the Hurdle/Tracy swap could also be read as evidence of how difficult it can be to identify or predict a manager’s effect on a team. Tracy had previously managed the Pirates, but was fired after two ugly seasons. He lasted only three more years in Colorado. Meanwhile, Hurdle ultimately took over in Pittsburgh and led the team to its first two winning seasons in two decades, earning praise for his leadership and his integration of sabermetrics into the Pirates’ day-to-day strategy. Perhaps Tracy really was the right manager for the Rockies in 2009, and Hurdle the wrong one. A manager’s job is to lead, and his ability to lead the ever-changing cast of players around him is surely somewhat fluid. But a team’s performance is informed by any number of factors that have little to do with its manager.

With that in mind, it’s difficult to draw conclusions from the list above. Some teams’ manager swaps appear to have worked well, like that of the Rockies, or the Athletics’ switch of Geren and Melvin. Others didn’t, although that’s not surprising, given that teams who fire their managers tend not to be the best ones.

Perhaps there’s a distinction between firings in April and firings in June and July. In April, it’s hard to be completely out of the race, but in June, it isn’t, and maybe it makes sense for a team to make big changes rather than having a lame-duck manager limp through the rest of the season. There’s also the problem of how best to hire a permanent manager while a season is going on. Many teams on the list above turned to interim managers after firings, and surely that’s not what the Marlins would do if they fired Redmond. It probably isn’t easy to hire a permanent manager in-season. Of the teams on the list above, only two, the Royals (Yost) and the Athletics (Melvin), immediately replaced their outgoing managers with managers who turned out to be real long-term replacements.

Then there’s the lack of stability an early-season firing can betray. As FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal points out, the Marlins’ struggles are due in part to pitchers’ injuries and to Mat Latos‘ ineffectiveness. Those problems have little to do with Redmond, and replacing him would probably do nothing to solve them. Perhaps Redmond isn’t the right manager for the Marlins, but what might be most striking about the list above is the absence of many  successful franchises who seem to highly value organizational stability, like the Cardinals, Giants and Tigers. Of course, it’s surely true that those franchises are mostly stable in part because they’re successful, and not the way around. And there are other franchises who are generally stable, like the Rockies and Twins, who haven’t done well lately. But the Marlins have had five managers since 2010 (Gonzalez, Rodriguez, McKeon, Ozzie Guillen and Redmond). One wonders how difficult it must be for players to develop given that many changes of leadership.


East Notes: Marlins, Stammen, Francis

Marlins manager Mike Redmond is rumored to be on the hot seat, but MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro writes that the team doesn’t need a new manager, just better starting pitching. Marlins starters have a 5.23 ERA with 5.2 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9, and they’re reeling from the loss of Henderson Alvarez with a shoulder injury. Still, the Marlins have enough talent to rebound from their 3-10 start, Frisaro says. Here are more quick notes from the East divisions.

  • Nationals pitcher Craig Stammen had surgery Sunday to fix two torn flexor tendons in his forearm, James Wagner of the Washington Post reports. He is likely to miss the rest of the season and will be able to return for Spring Training next year. In the last three seasons, Stammen has been a workhorse in the Nats’ bullpen, pitching 242 2/3 innings in that span. He’ll make $2.25MM in 2015 and is arbitration eligible next winter for the last time before free agency.
  • Jeff Francis is back in the big leagues with the Blue Jays, and he’s hoping to stick around even though he knows it might be tough to do so, John Lott of the National Post writes. The former Rockies starter pitched 3 1/3 innings Sunday, but he’s 34 and throws in the upper 80s. He’s now pitching for his fourth team since the start of the 214 season, having appeared with the Reds, Athletics and Yankees last year. Francis, who is from Canada, calls playing for his favorite childhood team a “thrill” but says it’s one he’ll mostly enjoy after he’s done playing.

Dodgers Notes: Alvarez, Startups

Last week, Kiley McDaniel of Fangraphs noted that he’s heard from multiple internaitonal scouts who believe the Dodgers have an agreement with Cuban righty Yadier Alvarez for a signing bonus of around $16MM. While he cautioned that no deal is completed and other teams still have interest, it’s a significant development in the market for Alvarez, who is waiting to hear whether or not he will be cleared to sign in the current signing period or in the 2015-16 period, which begins on July 2. The Dodgers likely wouldn’t sign Alvarez until the upcoming signing period, McDaniel noted. Here’s more out of Los Angeles.

  • Jon Heyman of CBS Sports’ latest piece on Alvarez seems to line up with McDaniel’s findings, as Heyman lists the Dodgers as the favorite to sign and adds that he’s heard L.A. has already made an offer to Alvarez. Heyman lists the division-rival Diamondbacks as competition, along with the Rangers, Blue Jays and Nationals. Texas, of course, can’t sign Alvarez until July 2, as they’re restricted for signing a player for more than $250K in the current signing period. The Blue Jays seem unlikely to sign him in the current period even if he’s cleared, as they’re rumored to have a $4MM+ deal with Vlad Guerrero Jr., and going over their pool to sign Alvarez in the current period would prohibit them from finalizing that deal.
  • In an outside-the-box move, the Dodgers are planning to invest up to $1.2MM in ten startup companies, Pedro Moura of the Orange County Register writes. Specifically, the Dodgers will focus on startups with ideas that might help make them more money or improve their team. That might mean they’ll invest in companies working in fan engagement or customer relationship management, but they could also invest in sports analytics. “We’re in this to find products and companies and technologies that solve our problems but are ultimately scalable,” says Dodgers CFO Tucker Kain. “We’re not really going to cross over into the proprietary, competitive-advantage area. But, hey, listen, if somebody comes to us with something that is incredibly proprietary … we might pull it out of the program.”


Draft Notes: Rodgers, Fulmer, Buehler, Red Sox

We’re about six weeks away from the June draft. Here’s the latest on what’s emerging as a thin class at the top.

  • Shortstop and top draft prospect Brendan Rodgers‘ season ended Monday as Seminole beat Lake Mary in Florida’s 8A-2 playoffs, John Manuel of Baseball America notes (on Twitter). As BA’s J.J. Cooper tweets, that at least ensures that, unlike many potential early draft picks (Brady Aiken, California high school pitcher Kolby Allard, Duke pitcher Michael Matuella), Rodgers will have gotten through the season healthy. It’s been an ugly year for top-end draft talents, but Rodgers’ season ends with him at the top of MLB.com’s draft rankings, as well as Kiley McDaniel’s recent rankings for FanGraphs.
  • Vanderbilt’s Carson Fulmer had the best weekend of any top draft-eligible college pitcher, BA’s Hudson Belinsky writes. Another Vanderbilt pitcher and top draft prospect, Walker Buehler, had trouble with his command against South Carolina. His changeup has also been inconsistent. “I think that’s kind of been the theme for me this year,” Buehler says of his changeup. Fulmer and Buehler join infielder Dansby Swanson as Commodores likely to be selected in the top half of the first round.
  • In a chat at FanGraphs, McDaniel says that Fulmer to the Red Sox at No. 7 overall is a “rumor that won’t go away.” As noted this weekend, Red Sox GM Ben Cherington watched Fulmer and Swanson on Friday. McDaniel gives Fulmer a 65-70 percent chance of sticking as a starter in the Majors, though he notes in his draft rankings that he likes Fulmer more than most — at 5-foot-11, Fulmer is relatively small for a top-end starting pitcher, and he has a higher-effort delivery.

Mike Redmond Could Be On Hot Seat

APRIL 20: Redmond’s fate could be the first test of Loria’s patience with his new front office, notes Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter links). Loria has said that he’s much more comfortable with his restructured front office, and sources tell Rosenthal that neither GM Dan Jennings or president of baseball ops Michael Hill wants Redmond fired.

APRIL 19, 10:33pm: A Marlins official denies that the team is considering firing Redmond, Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press tweets.

9:26pm: Marlins manager Mike Redmond could be in danger of being fired, Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald writes. According to Spencer’s sources, the Marlins have already considered firing Redmond, and have even considered potential replacements (with Mets Triple-A manager Wally Backman as one possibility).

Redmond is in his third season as Marlins manager. He is 142-194 as the Marlins’ manager, although the Marlins were rebuilding much of that time and performed somewhat unexpectedly well last season, finishing 77-85 despite the loss of ace Jose Fernandez, who had Tommy John surgery. Late last season, the Marlins extended Redmond’s contract through 2017.

After an offseason makeover that included the additions of Mat Latos, Martin Prado, Dee Gordon, Mike Morse, Dan Haren and Ichiro Suzuki as well as big new contracts for Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich, however, the Marlins are 3-10 and seven games out of first place in the NL East. Of course, the season is only 13 games old, but as Spencer notes, Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria has frequently been quick to make managerial changes and has also fired managers in-season (including Jeff Torborg in 2003 and Fredi Gonzalez in 2010). Stanton said Friday that the Marlins lacked “fire,” and Spencer suggests that, while Stanton’s comments weren’t intended as a criticism of Redmond, they could help convince Loria to view Redmond’s laid-back style as a problem.


Mets Notes: Collins, d’Arnaud, Plawecki, Lefties

Mets manager Terry Collins would like to remain with the team beyond the 2015 season but isn’t worried that he has to contractual guarantee that he’ll be back, writes Steven Marcus of Newsday. Collins, whose contract contains a club option for the 2016 season, tells Marcus that he’s better equipped to handle the uncertainty at the age of 65 than he would have been earlier in his career, and he’s used to receiving short-term renewals from the team. “They know I want to be here,” says Collins. “They know I like it here. But I also understand the business as good as anybody. Hey, look, my job is to go out [and help them] do the best we can do to have a big year. If we do, the rest of it takes care of itself.”

Here’s more on the division-leading Mets…

  • Travis d’Arnaud‘s fractured hand will sideline him for six to eight weeks, per Newsday’s David Lennon, but the team had already discussed the idea of eventually having d’Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki split time at catcher once the latter forced his way onto the MLB roster (All Twitter links). Plawecki has some experience at first base as well, but the Mets wanted him to focus solely on catching this spring in advance of him getting some big league reps. Lennon adds that the Mets considered Plawecki virtually untouchable in trade discussions this offseason, because they were concerned about d’Arnaud’s injury history. While d’Arnaud’s injury was a fluke occurrence as opposed to the flaring up of a prior injury, the decision to hold onto Plawecki certainly looks to have paid off.
  • Alex Torres will step into more high-leverage situations against lefties following Jerry Blevins‘ injury yesterday, Collins told reporters, including MLB.com’s Joe Trezza. While there’s no specific timetable for Blevins’ return from a broken forearm yet, Collins implied that the team won’t necessarily look outside the organization for help. “We have a couple of lefties still at Las Vegas that are potential replacements,” said Collins. “Although we lost Jerry, we still have far more depth than we had in, say, mid-Spring Training, because the development of a couple of guys and the fact that we still have Alex Torres.”
  • Fangraphs’ Dave Cameron examines his site’s playoff projections, noting that the top three teams — the Nationals, Cardinals and Dodgers — were all widely expected to occupy those slots, and the fourth-ranked team, the Padres, entered the season with similarly high expectations. The Mets currently rank as the fifth-most likely club to earn a playoff berth, per Fangraphs, and while they’ll be tested due to the losses of d’Arnaud and Wright, Cameron notes that it’s not hard to envision them getting there. With 10 wins already in the bank, the Mets have an edge over other Wild Card contenders that have better rosters, such as the Cubs and the Pirates. And if the team upgrades its rotation sooner rather than later by swapping out Rafael Montero or Noah Syndergaard for Dillon Gee, or if a superior fourth outfielder to John Mayberry is acquired, the .500 outlook for the rest of the season could trend upwards a bit and push them into the postseason, he concludes.

Braves’ Andrew McKirahan Suspended 80 Games

11:40am: The league has officially announced the suspension, adding that the banned substance for which McKirahan tested was Ipamorelin.

10:43am: Bowman reports that McKirahan’s positive test was conducted in March, before the Braves claimed him from the Marlins, but the results of the test were not revealed until Sunday (Twitter links).

9:03am: MLB.com’s Mark Bowman tweets that McKirahan apologized to his teammates yesterday and informed them that he used a cream during Spring Training.

7:45am: Braves left-hander Andrew McKirahan has been suspended 80 games after testing positive for performance enhancing drugs, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter).

McKirahan, 25, was the Marlins’ selection in the 2014 Rule 5 Draft, (out of the Cubs’ system) but the team placed him on waivers late in Spring Training and saw the division-rival Braves claim him. McKirahan has pitched 4 1/3 innings for Atlanta so far this season, yielding a pair of runs on three hits and a walk with two strikeouts.

It’s not yet known what substance triggered the positive test, but four players have been suspended for Stanozolol over the past month. Ervin Santana and Jenrry Mejia were the most notable names among the four, but the Braves also lost Arodys Vizcaino for 80 games. The other to test positive was another Rule 5 Draft selection — the Mariners’ David Rollins.

In a bizarre way, the suspension does make it easier for the Braves to retain the rights to McKirahan. Because McKirahan was a Rule 5 pick, the Braves were required to keep him on the 25-man roster or Major League disabled list all season, as he cannot be sent to the Minors without first clearing waivers and then being offered back to the Cubs. As we saw with Rollins, the team will still control his rights while he serves his suspension on the restricted list, and they can therefore avoid rostering an inexperienced arm for much of the season. Of course, that’s not how the Braves wanted to retain McKirahan, and it remains to be seen if they’ll maintain their interest following the suspension.


White Sox Designate Kyle Drabek For Assignment

The White Sox announced that they have designated right-hander Kyle Drabek for assignment in order to clear a 40-man roster spot for top prospect Carlos Rodon, whose contract has officially been selected from Triple-A Charlotte.

Chicago claimed the 27-year-old Drabek off waivers from the Blue Jays in late March, and the former top prospect secured a spot in the Sox bullpen to open the season. Drabek, who was one of the centerpieces of the trade that sent Roy Halladay from the Blue Jays to the Phillies, totaled 5 1/3 innings with the South Siders, allowing three runs on nine hits and a pair of walks with three strikeouts.

Drabek was the 18th overall pick in the 2006 draft and, at one point ranked as high as 25th on Baseball America’s Top 100 prospect list and 14th on Baseball Prospectus’ version of that same list. Tommy John surgery in 2012 was among the injuries that have slowed the development of Drabek, and to date, his body of work at the Major League level is rather unimpressive. In 177 2/3 innings, he’s recorded a 5.27 ERA with 6.1 K/9 and 5.7 BB/9.


Braves, Mitchell Boggs Agree To Minor League Deal

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

  • The Braves have agreed to a Minor League pact with veteran right-hander Mitchell Boggs, tweets MLB.com’s Mark Bowman. The 31-year-old Boggs didn’t appear in the Majors last season and struggled greatly in 2013, but he was a reliable member of the Cardinals’ bullpen prior to that. From 2010-12, Boggs, worked to a 3.08 ERA with 7.1 K/9, 3.1 BB/9 and a 52.3 percent ground-ball rate, averaging 63 appearances and 67 innings per season. Boggs had disastrous results in a 2014 season split between the Triple-A affiliates for the White Sox and Giants, posting an 8.29 ERA with more walks (26) than strikeouts (23) in 51 innings of work.

Rosenthal’s Latest: Redmond, Cubs, Harvey, O’s, White Sox

It would be foolhardy for the Marlins to fire manager Mike Redmond this early in the season, opines FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal in his latest notes column. Redmond is well-respected among the industry, Rosenthal notes, and he cannot be blamed for the fact that Henderson Alvarez is injured and Mat Latos has struggled so greatly. (Latos’ diminished velocity is likely a significant culprit in that regard.) Rosenthal writes that owner Jeffrey Loria needs to realize that the unstable culture he creates by cycling through managers so willingly is part of the problem in Miami.

A few more notes from Rosenthal’s latest column…

  • In the video atop his column, Rosenthal notes that Cubs top prospect Addison Russell has begun playing some second base and may eventually get a look there in the Majors. However, because he is their best defensive shortstop, Russell may eventually push Starlin Castro to third base and Kris Bryant to the outfield, or his arrival may lead to a trade of Castro.
  • Rosenthal writes about former Mets GM Omar Minaya’s decision to draft Matt Harvey with the seventh pick in the 2010 draft. The team had been deciding between Harvey and Chris Sale, but the Mets, like many other clubs, had some reservations about whether or not Sale would last as a starter. Minaya became convinced of Harvey after watching him in an April start at the University of Miami, though as Rosenthal notes, others in the front office/scouting department, including Marlin McPhail, Rudy Terrasas and Bryan Lambe all played large roles as well. Interestingly, Rosenthal adds that the White Sox were thrilled to get Chris Sale at No. 13, as they feared the Royals would select him fifth overall. Kansas City instead selected Cal State Fulelrton infielder Christian Colon.
  • Delmon Young told the Orioles that he wanted to regain some of his lost athleticism, and so the team had him work extensively with outfielder-turned-executive Brady Anderson in Spring Training. Young was the first to the clubhouse every day during Spring Training and is now has the fastest 10-yard dash time on the Orioles, per manager Buck Showalter. Rosenthal also notes that Everth Cabrera told the O’s that he knew advanced metrics pegged him as a below-average defender, and he expressed an interest in improving in that area. Baltimore is working with Cabrera to correct a tendency to retreat with his hands and “baby” the ball, as Rosenthal put it.
  • The White Sox weren’t as successful in upgrading their catching position as they’d have liked, but for the time being, they’re content with Tyler Flowers and Geovany Soto. Rosenthal notes that while Welington Castillo is widely believed to be available, the Sox and Cubs rarely make trades.

Quick Hits: Astros, Young, Mesoraco

Five current members of the Astros bullpen (Luke Gregerson, Chad Qualls, Pat Neshek, Joe Thatcher and Sam Deduno) were on the 2011 Padres, MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart notes. Astros manager A.J. Hinch was an executive with the Padres in 2011, but he says the Astros weren’t intentionally aiming to acquire former Padres players. “When we started this offseason, we wanted to have multiple guys that could finish games,” says Hinch. “Chad Qualls has a long history of closing, and Neshek and Gregerson were added for that reason. The way the game has evolved, those last nine outs are really hard to get, and to have guys that have done it before is nice to have.” Here are more quick notes from around the Majors.

  • Outfielder Chris Young has had much more success with the Yankees than he had with their crosstown rivals, writes MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch. “We’ve always talked about [how] New York sometimes can be a tough place to get used to and adjust to. Sometimes it takes some players some time,” says Yankees manager Joe Girardi. “The way he’s played for us, I’m a little bit surprised that’s what happened [with the Mets], but he’s been really good for us.” Young now has 17 extra-base hits in 112 plate appearances with the Yankees going back to last season, after having just 20 in 287 plate appearances with the Mets. He’s also done a better job hitting for average and getting on base. His history suggests he might come back to earth, but at only 31, he could continue to help in a part-time role in the Bronx. Hoch notes that Young’s contract contains a series of bonuses for plate appearance thresholds, so if Young continues to play well, he could end up making significantly more than the $2.5MM he’s guaranteed.
  • The Reds say catcher Devin Mesoraco (hip impingement) was available to pinch-hit this weekend, but his absence in the ninth inning with the tying run aboard against the Cardinals says otherwise, C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer writes. Mesoraco wasn’t even in the team’s clubhouse after the game, Rosecrans reports. Mesoraco has been out for a week now, but the Reds continue to play with a short bench, even though they could place Mesoraco on the disabled list and backdate the move to April 13. In any case, being without a healthy Mesoraco hurts the 5-6 Reds — he earned a January extension after hitting .273/.359/.534 in a breakout 2014 season.

NL West Notes: Kendrick, Tomas, Rockies

Howie Kendrick has been so impressive with the Dodgers in the early stages of the 2015 season that the team is very likely interested in discussing a long-term deal with Kendrick’s agents at Reynolds Sports Management, writes ESPN’s Buster Olney in his daily blog (ESPN Insider subscription required). As Olney explains, the team likely envisions Corey Seager manning shortstop in the long-term, and Hector Olivera could hold down the fort at third base, with Kendrick returning to the keystone on a multi-year pact. I’d note, however, that there are many who believe that Seager will eventually need to play third base, and in that scenario, Olivera would slide over to second base, so the fit isn’t exactly perfect.

Here’s more from the NL West…

  • The D-Backs‘ handling of Yasmany Tomas has many pundits scratching their heads, but manager Chip Hale tells MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert that he thinks being eased into the lineup will be beneficial to Tomas in the long run. “People are having a hard time believing it because he’s not getting at-bats every day, which is hard,” said Hale. “But he’s doing [work] offensively with our hitting coaches and then the strength coach; they’re really working hard to get him to where we think he needs to be to be an everyday player.” Tomas has the same translator, Ariel Preto, that worked with Yoenis Cespedes in 2012, when Hale was the Athletics’ bench coach, giving the two experience in helping a Cuban player acclimate to the Majors. Hale explained how difficult the transition became for Cespedes that year when he was thrown directly into the starting lineup, adding that he hopes the handling of Tomas will avoid that.
  • Interestingly, Hale’s comments don’t line up very well with those made by Diamondbacks GM Dave Stewart on a recent MLB Network Radio appearance (Twitter link). Stewart said that the most important thing for Tomas is to get at-bats and play regularly at third base, adding that his contract will not determine whether or not he’s in the Majors.
  • Rockies players spoke favorably to Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post about the tougher attitude and culture around the team as well as the front office’s emphasis on making tough decisions to improve the immediate on-field product. The Rox cut Jhoulys Chacin in Spring Training, for example, despite his long tenure with the team and status as a clubhouse favorite. Left-hander Rex Brothers was sent to Triple-A despite his big league experience, Adam Ottavino seized the closer’s role almost immediately, and manager Walt Weiss has requested and been provided with significant input from the analytics department to drastically increase the amount of infield shifting in Colorado. The change starts with new GM Jeff Bridich, according to Corey Dickerson, who spoke highly of Bridich’s knowledge of players. “There is no messing around, not with this group,” Carlos Gonzalez told Saunders. “We are here to win now. We are not here to be patient.”

MLBTR Originals

A look back at the original reporting and analysis found on MLBTR this past week:

  • MLB Trade Rumors Podcast featured host Jeff Todd and MLBTR’s Steve Adams debating the Craig Kimbrel trade. Jeff also welcomed MLBTR’s Charlie Wilmoth, who wrote last Sunday the Dodgers simply bought a draft pick when they acquired reliever Ryan Webb from the Orioles. A new edition of MLB Trade Rumors Podcast drops every Thursday and can be accessed on iTunesSoundCloud, and Stitcher.
  • Marlins President of Baseball Operations Michael Hill and agent Joe Longo both shared details of the negotiations surrounding Christian Yelich‘s seven-year, $49.75MM extension with Zach Links. “Negotiations have an ebb and flow to them. Ultimately, Christian was okay with waiting on an extension and waiting to see what could come in future years. Really, it’s a positive thing when your employer likes you and in baseball sometimes just getting an offer of an extension feels good, because that’s a good review of what you’ve been doing,” Longo explained to Zach. “I went back to Christian and I told him what the numbers were but I explained that A, they’ve never done anything like this before and B, he’s a unique player and there aren’t a lot of comps out there for him, so we had to be patient and take just the start of the conversation as a positive.”
  • Tim Dierkes analyzed the ramifications of 11 prospects from the last decade who made their team’s Opening Day roster in spite of the service time implications. Tim opines two weeks of a rookie in April is rarely directly worth trading for a seventh year of control, but the tradeoff can be defensible for certain teams and players.
  • Steve named 13 players whose roles for 2015 have already shifted and how those changes will affect their arbitration earnings.
  • Jeff listed five upcoming free agents whose slow starts could affect their market next offseason.
  • The 2014-15 Offseason In Review series continued with a look at the Red Sox (by Mark Polishuk), A’s (by Steve), and Braves (by Jeff).
  • Steve asked MLBTR readers whether Kris Bryant should have made the Cubs’ Opening Day roster. More than 84% of you believe the Cubs made the correct decision having having Bryant start the season in Triple-A.
  • Jeff asked MLBTR readers whether the Rick Porcello four-year, $82.5MM extension was a wise investment by the Red Sox. Nearly 55% of you believe Boston’s money could have been put to better uses.
  • Steve hosted the weekly live chat.
  • Zach gathered the best the baseball corner of the web had to offer in Baseball Blogs Weigh In.

Full Story | Comments | Categories: MLBTR Originals

Minor Moves: Gonzalez Germen, Ryan Dennick

Here are Sunday’s minor moves from around MLB:

  • The Cubs have announced they have purchased the contract of right-hander Gonzalez Germen from Triple-A Iowa. The Cubs optioned outfielder Matt Szczur to Iowa and transferred right-hander Jacob Turner to the 60-day disabled list to create room on the 25-man and 40-man rosters, respectively. German, who was claimed by the Cubs on waivers from the Rangers in January, did not allow a run in his four appearances (4 2/3 innings) for Iowa while striking out five. The 27-year-old posted a 4.31 ERA, 8.9 K/9, 4.2 BB/9 in 54 relief outings for the Mets over the past two seasons.
  • The Dodgers have outrighted left-hander Ryan Dennick to Double-A Tulsa, per the club’s transactions page. It has been a whirlwind week for the 28-year-old who was claimed by the Dodgers off waivers from the Reds and then designated for assignment two days later.
  • Per MLBTR’s DFA Tracker, Grant Balfour (Rays), Todd Redmond (Blue Jays), and Xavier Cedeno (Nationals) remain in DFA limbo.

D’Arnaud Fractures Hand; Mets To Promote Plawecki

The Mets suffered a pair of bad breaks as they extended their winning streak to eight games. Catcher Travis d’Arnaud and left-hander Jerry Blevins both suffered fractures in the 7th inning of the Mets’ 7-6 win over the Marlins: d’Arnaud’s right hand after being hit by a A.J. Ramos pitch and Blevins’ left forearm when struck by a liner off the bat of Dee Gordon. Mets GM Sandy Alderson announced the contract of catching prospect Kevin Plawecki will be purchased from Triple-A Las Vegas and right-hander Hansel Robles will be recalled from Vegas. A 40-man roster move is required to add Plawecki.

Plawecki is ranked 40th overall by FanGraphs’ Kiley McDaniel, 63rd by both Baseball America and MLB.com, and 80th by Baseball Prospectus. Manager Terry Collins told reporters after the game (as tweeted by ESPNNewYork.com’s Adam Rubin) Plawecki will become the Mets’ number one catcher in d’Arnaud’s absence. D’Arnaud told reporters, including Rubin, Plawecki is ready for his MLB debut. “He’s a great catcher, a great player, a really smart player. He can swing the bat really well. And he knows how to work with the pitching staff as well.

Drafted with the 35th selection in the 2012 draft (a free agent compensation pick obtained when the Marlins signed Jose Reyes), Plawecki is viewed as an offensive-minded catcher. MLB.com’s scouting report on Plawecki, however, gives him credit for having good hands and enough agility to block balls well, but believes the 24-year-old will never be the kind of backstop who can shut down a running game because of his average arm. Plawecki was hitting .229/.250/.343 in 36 plate appearance for Vegas before his call-up, though he hit a much more impressive .309/.365/.460 in 419 PA between Double-A and Triple-A in 2014.

The loss of both d’Arnaud and Blevins figure to test the Mets’ depth. While early, d’Arnaud had the makings of a breakout season with his line of .317/.356/.537 at the time of his injury. Defensively, d’Arnaud also stepped up his game throwing out three of the seven runners attempting to steal after catching just five all of last year. Blevins, meanwhile, has been death on left-handed hitters this season retiring all 14 he has faced. Alderson said a timetable for how long d’Arnaud and Blevins will be out will not be known until both are examined by hand specialists Monday.