September 2013

Twins Extend Ron Gardenhire

1:29pm: The Twins have issued a press release announcing Gardenhire's two-year extension. The entire coaching staff is coming back as well, though their contracts only run through the 2014 campaign, according to the release.

10:57am: Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press tweets that the Twins will retain their entire coaching staff as well.

10:51am: The Twins have called a press conference for 2:30pm CT this afternoon, and the team will announce the re-signing of manager Ron Gardenhire, according to Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (Twitter link). The contract is expected to be a two-year deal, adds Rosenthal, who also tweets that Gardenhire would not have accepted a one-year deal and likely wanted assurance that the team's payroll would rise again before accepting a new deal.

Gardenhire's job security was up for debate following a third consecutive 90-loss season for the Twins. However, much of the team's decline can be pinned on injuries in 2011 and a lack of on-field talent in 2012-13. Gardenhire is one of the game's longest-tenured and most well-respected managers, having served as Minnesota's skipper since the 2002 season — his first as a big league manager.

"Gardy," as he's commonly referred to, has a career record of 998-947 and led the team to six AL Central titles from 2002-10, winning American League Manager of the Year honors in 2010. One knock against him is that the team has been swept in the ALDS in each of its past three postseason appearances and has only won one playoff series in that run of six postseason appearances.

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Mets Notes: Murphy, Young, Abreu, Tanaka

Earlier today, the Mets officially announced their two-year extension of manager Terry Collins' contract. Andy Martino of the New York Daily News reports that pitching coach Dan Warthen also received a two-year contract, making him the only coach on the Mets' staff to secure a multiyear guarantee. Here's more on the Amazins…

  • The team will be open to trading Daniel Murphy this offseason, according to's Adam Rubin. He cautions that the Mets don't necessarily expect to trade Murphy, but adds that they'll be open to moving him if the trade fills a larger hole like shortstop or the outfield. New York would move Eric Young Jr. to second base in that scenario to keep his much-needed speed in the lineup. Rubin feels that Young, who swiped a league-leading 46 bases this season, will be a starter on next year's team in some capacity.
  • Rubin also notes, once again, that Shin-Soo Choo is the only free agent the Mets would surrender a pick for (he would cost the Mets their second-rounder, as their first is protected). Choo will likely be too expensive for the Mets, however, especially in light of Hunter Pence's five-year, $90MM extension, so the Mets are likely to instead follow Boston's model from last offseason and sign multiple middle-tier free agents to shorter-term deals. Rubin points out that the Mets could make several external additions and still see a decrease in payroll due to the huge contracts they have coming off the books.
  • The Mets have upped their international scouting efforts, which could be a sign that they'll be more active on the global market this winter, tweets Marc Carig of Newsday.
  • Along those same lines, Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets that the Mets have three scouts in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic to watch Jose Dariel Abreu. They also plan to do due diligence on Masahiro Tanaka, tweets Anthony DiComo of Sherman is careful to add that the Mets are still seen as a long-shot to land Abreu.
  • After talking with a club official, Mike Puma of the New York Post (on Twitter) feels that the Mets will try to "get creative" in a trade for a big-ticket item before going the free agent route. Carig chimes in as well, adding that with so much money coming off the books, the Mets could take on a big contract should they go that route (Twitter link).
  • GM Sandy Alderson told reporters, including DiComo, that he's hopeful the team will be able to make a splash in free agency this offseason (Twitter links).

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Cubs Fire Dale Sveum

11:25am: Cubs president Theo Epstein has issued a lengthy statement praising Sveum for his work on game-planning and defensive positioning, and never complaining about the hand he was dealt while with the Cubs. Within the statement, he adds that he and GM Jed Hoyer accept responsibility for the team's win-loss record, which is the result of their own rebuilding plan. Says Epstein:

"Today, we made the very difficult decision to relieve Dale Sveum of his duties as Cubs manager.  Dale has been a committed leader for this team the last two seasons, and I want to thank him for all of his dedication and hard work.  I have a lot of admiration for Dale personally, and we all learned a lot from the way he has handled the trying circumstances of the last two years, especially the last two weeks, with strength and dignity."

The entire statement can be read over at

10:59am: The Cubs have fired manager Dale Sveum, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter).

Sveum took over as the Cubs manager at the onset of the 2012 campaign and has managed the team to a 127-197 record in two seasons at the helm. He hasn't been handed a great deal of big league talent to work with from the rebuilding Cubs. Sveum has previously served as a third base coach for the Red Sox and was also the bench coach and third base coach for the Brewers before eventually taking over as their interim manager to close out the 2008 season. He finished that season 7-5 and lost to the Phillies in the NLDS.

Sveum has been thought to be on thin ice for quite some time now, and there are rumblings that Chicago native Joe Girardi could be of interest to the Cubs. Girardi's contract with the Yankees ran only through the 2013 season.

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Mets Sign Terry Collins To Two-Year Extension

MONDAY: The Mets have officially announced a two-year extension for Collins (via Twitter). The contract includes a club option for the 2016 season. In a press release announcing the move, GM Sandy Alderson offered the following praise for his manager:

"Terry has a great passion for the game. He has helped make our younger players better.  He’s a great motivator. He has had to overcome a lot this year with injuries and trades.  The club played hard for Terry and I think that was obvious for everyone to see. Of course we aren’t where we want to be record-wise, but I think we are on the right course. I think Terry deserved the chance to help us turn things around."

SATURDAY: The Mets will bring back manager Terry Collins for the 2014 season, according to a report from FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal (on Twitter). Rosenthal says that Collins is working out the details on a two-year extension, which is expected to include an additional option year and could be announced Monday.

The deal also includes a club option for 2016, a team source tells Adam Rubin of  Entering today's game against the Brewers, the 64-year-old has amassed a a 224-260 mark In three years as the Mets' manager.  The Mets are 73-87, good for third place in the NL East, but the club appears confident that Collins is the man to help guide them going forward.

Collins' job security was in question for the first half of the season, but over the summer, word began to leak out that his return was quite likely.  The Mets may not have been winners this year, but they weren't necessarily expected to do a whole lot with the roster they had this season.  They also dealt with a great deal of setbacks, including Matt Harvey's UCL tear, Bobby Parnell's season-ending herniated disk, and David Wright's hamstring injury which cost him seven weeks of play.  

Zach Links and Steve Adams contributed to this post.

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AL East Notes: Girardi, Feldman, Hammel, McLouth, Jays

The Rays and Rangers will square off in a one-game playoff to determine the second American League Wild Card team tonight and finalize the postseason picture. Should the Rays come up short, it will mark the first time since 2006 in which the AL East has not been represented by two teams in the postseason (the Yankees, Twins, Tigers and A's were playoff teams that year). Here's more on the AL East…

  • There has been increasing speculation about whether or not Yankees manager Joe Girardi will return to the team in 2014 given his expiring contract, and ESPN's Buster Olney hears that the Yanks will have to significantly increase Girardi's $3MM salary in order to retain him (Twitter link).
  • There's mutual interest between Scott Feldman and the Orioles, according to Roch Kubatko of Kubatko thinks the O's will re-sign their midseason acquisition unless another team vastly overpays for him on the free agent market.
  • Within that piece, Kubatko also notes that free agent Jason Hammel's tenure with the Orioles is likely finished. He adds that if our own Tim Dierkes' two-year, $10MM projection for Nate McLouth is accurate, then McLouth is as good as gone, too.
  • The Blue Jays' payroll won't be moving back in 2014, GM Alex Anthopoulos told reporters yesterday, including's Gregor Chisholm. Anthopoulos stated that the team was more likely to address its holes via trade than free agency, noting that this year's free agent crop is once again looking weak. Chisholm lists second base and starting catcher as areas of focus, and he also notes that Toronto is searching for at least one middle-of-the-rotation starter.

AL Notes: Cruz, Yankees, Wedge, Blue Jays

Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz will be back for Game 163 against the Rays, writes Scott Miller of CBS Sports. Cruz, who was suspended for 50 games for his involvement in the Biogenesis scandal, will be activated in time for the game on Monday. Cruz adds a big bat to Texas' lineup, and for what it's worth, he has good numbers against Rays starter David Price in a small sample. Miller contrasts Cruz's situation with Melky Cabrera's disappearance from the Giants last season — unlike Cabrera, Cruz put his team in a good position to opt to activate him because he expressed regret about what he had done and stayed in touch with his teammates. Here are more notes from the American League.

  • Upper-level Yankees employees were frustrated that the team got so little high-end help from its farm system this year, Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes. There may be "a scapegoat or two" for that problem, but not GM Brian Cashman or manager Joe Girardi. Instead, scouting director Damon Oppenheimer or senior vice president of baseball operations Mark Newman could be out of a job.
  • Eric Wedge, who managed his last game with the Mariners on Sunday, left his post with dignity, says Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times. His decision to leave the team may have seemed strange, particularly after GM Jack Zduriencik said he had no plans to fire Wedge. But, Baker says, Wedge "doesn’t just talk the talk. He walks the walk, even when it required him to swallow some job security and walk the walk right on out of here."
  • The Blue Jays could aim to trade relievers this offseason, Shi Davidi of writes. "The club’s surplus of relievers is one area of depth we might have that could be attractive to other teams," says GM Alex Anthopoulos. "[I]t will not surprise me if maybe we use some of that depth to help the club in some other areas." Despite suffering through a disappointing season in 2013, the Jays finished with the fourth-best bullpen ERA in the American League, at 3.39. Given their salaries and 2013 performance, Casey Janssen, Steve Delabar, Brett Cecil and Aaron Loup would all make attractive trade candidates.

2014 MLB Draft Order

With the 2013 MLB regular season now over, here's the current order for the first round of the 2014 MLB Draft. First, some notes:

  • The draft order is determined in reverse order of record. If two or more teams have the same record, the tie-breaker is 2012 record, with the team with the worse 2012 record getting the higher pick. That's why, for example, the Cubs (61-101 in 2012) pick ahead of the Twins (66-96 in 2012), even though the two teams had the same record this season.
  • Notably, the Athletics and the Braves had identical 96-66 records in 2013 and 94-68 records in 2012.'s Jim Callis confirms in an email that the next tie-breaker is 2011 record, and the A's were worse that year, so they will pick before the Braves.
  • The winner of Monday's Wild Card tie-breaker between the Rangers and Rays (which counts as a regular-season game) will get the No. 23 overall pick, while the loser will take No. 22.
  • The Jays have pick No. 11 in addition to their usual first-round pick, since they did not sign 2013 No. 10 overall pick Phil Bickford. The No. 11 pick is a protected pick for the Jays.
  • Teams may have to forfeit first-round draft picks when they sign free agents who have been extended qualifying offers, so this list is subject to change later this season.The first eleven picks of this year's draft, however, are protected, so those teams would lose a second-round pick for signing a player who has received and rejected a qualifying offer.

Without further ado, here's the order.

1. Astros
2. Marlins
3. White Sox
4. Cubs
5. Twins
6. Mariners
7. Phillies
8. Rockies
9. Blue Jays
10. Mets
11. Blue Jays (for failing to sign 2013 No. 10 pick Phil Bickford)
12. Brewers
13. Padres
14. Giants
15. Angels
16. Diamondbacks
17. Orioles
18. Yankees
19. Royals
20. Nationals
21. Reds
22. Rangers or Rays
23. Rangers or Rays
24. Indians
25. Dodgers
26. Tigers
27. Pirates
28. Athletics
29. Braves
30. Red Sox
31. Cardinals

Retirement Notes: Helton, Johnson, Oliver, Konerko

The season ended Sunday for 19 of baseball's 30 teams, many of which feature players who will not be back in 2014. Here are some notes on players whose careers might (or might not) be over.

  • Rockies great Todd Helton's illustrious career ended in Los Angeles, Thomas Harding of reports. Dodgers broadcaster recorded a tribute to Helton that played on the scoreboard before the game, and he received a standing ovation for his last plate appearance. "The last at-bat, I got a little emotional, but other than that, it's Sept. 29th and I'm ready to go home," Helton says. Helton finishes his 17-year career with 369 home runs.
  • Nationals manager Davey Johnson leaves the game with a 1372-1071 career record, writes Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. Johnson will continue on with the Nationals as a senior adviser, although he's not expected to play a strong role in the organization.
  • Veteran lefty Darren Oliver ended his two-decade career with a perfect inning for the Blue Jays on Sunday,'s Evan Peaslee reports. "20 years — very few guys get to do that," Jays manager John Gibbons says. "Longevity in this business is hard to come by, but to do it for that long and be that effective until the very end that speaks volumes." Oliver, 42, also pitched for the Cardinals, Red Sox, Rockies, Marlins, Astros, Mets and Angels, and he had three separate stints with the Rangers. He finishes his career with a 4.51 ERA, 5.9 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 over 1,915 2/3 innings.
  • White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko still hasn't announced whether he's retiring, but he left Sunday's game against the Royals to applause, reports's Scott Merkin. After a tough .245/.314/.356 season, it's unclear whether Konerko will be back, and if so, if that might be in a part-time role. Merkin notes that Konerko think for a month this offseason about whether or not to return in 2014. If he does want to return, the White Sox will have to decide whether to re-sign him.

NL Notes: Dodgers, Oswalt, Coonelly

The Dodgers will not be bidders for Robinson Cano, Mark Feinsand of New York Daily News reports. The Dodgers could soon sign Cuban infielder Alexander Guerrero, which would mean they won't need a second baseman, but Feinsand writes that even if Guerrero and the Dodgers don't come to terms, the Dodgers aren't planning on signing Cano. Here are more notes from around the National League.

  • Roy Oswalt would like to return to the Rockies, writes Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post (on Twitter). The veteran pitcher says he would be interested in starting or relieving. Oswalt posted an 8.63 ERA in 32 1/3 innings for Colorado this year, although with 9.5 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 — a .442 BABIP seems to be the primary factor in Oswalt's poor results.
  • Pirates president Frank Coonelly will not head back to MLB's front office after Bud Selig's retirement, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports. Coonelly served as Major League Baseball's senior vice president and general counsel of labor before the Pirates hired him in 2007. "I really enjoy it in Pittsburgh," says Coonelly. "We're just starting to have fun here, and I want to be around for the fun."

Week In Review: 9/22/13 – 9/28/13

Here's a look back at this week at MLBTR.

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