West Notes: GMs, Tanaka, A’s DH, Cruz

The annual "Black Monday" NFL head coach firing day does not have an analog for baseball GMs, who have enjoyed much better job security than either those coaches or MLB managers, writes Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. Since 2011, only Larry Beinfest (the Marlins' former president of baseball operations) has been canned amongst top baseball operations men. Ten GMs have been in place since at least 2006, while only nine of the remaining twenty teams have undergone what Piecoro classifies as "full regime changes." Though several elements — such as baseball's long player development timeline — may support this phenomenon, Piecoro says that we could see more front office shakeups in the near future. He lists several GMs who could be on a short leash, many of whom represent western division clubs: Kevin Towers of the Diamondbacks, Dan O'Dowd of the Rockies, Jack Zduriencik of the Mariners, Ruben Amaro Jr. of the Phillies, and Jerry Dipoto of the Angels.

Here's more from the National and American League West:

  • D-Backs fans should temper their expectations about the possibility of the club landing Masahiro Tanaka, writes MLB.com's Steve Gilbert. Though Arizona has been prominently connected to the hurler, Gilbert says that the commitment needed to beat the market on Tanaka would be "very tough" to cram into the club's payroll space.
  • The Athletics are likely to employ John Jaso as the club's primary designated hitter rather than adding salary to put a new bat in the lineup, says Jane Lee of MLB.com. Yoenis Cespedes and Coco Crisp could also see time in the DH slot to reduce their wear and tear in the outfield, Lee notes. Meanwhile, Lee notes, the club is highly unlikely to trade away Cespedes (unless it gets a huge offer) and does not seem to be in play for free agent Nelson Cruz.
  • The Astros made a surprising addition to the club's 40-man roster recently, protecting unheralded 23-year-old Luis Cruz from the Rule 5 draft. As Jose De Jesus Ortiz of the Houston Chronicle writes for Baseball America (subscription required), Cruz exploded last year and caught the attention of GM Jeff Luhnow. "We promoted him to Double-A not really expecting him to do what he did," said Luhnow. "He went out and dominated." Though Cruz threw only 17 innings at that level, he also notched 10.2 K/9 against 3.2 BB/9 across 113 1/3 innings  in High-A (though his 5.16 ERA was less promising). "The fact is that he is lefthanded, he profiles as a starting pitcher and has dominant stuff," Luhnow explained.
  • The American League West race gets its own spot on ESPN.com's Buster Olney's top storylines of 2014 (Insider link). The division features big money additions to the Rangers and Mariners, as well as numerous interesting newcomers to the rosters of the A's, Angels, and Astros. As Olney explains, the results of the division's arm race — and the fallout for those teams that fail to meet expectations — promises to be great baseball theater.

23 Responses to West Notes: GMs, Tanaka, A’s DH, Cruz Leave a Reply

  1. There aren’t a ton of appealing old veterans this year who would be good low cost fits for Oakland at DH. I wouldn’t really be excited about having Jaso at DH.

    • Guest 2 years ago

      Despite all the speculation, I highly doubt Jaso will wind up being the regular DH. Last year they started 14 different players at DH, and that doesn’t seem likely to change much. I’m sure Crisp, Cespedes and Lowrie will get a lot of DH starts again, so they can keep them in the lineup, while also keeping them somewhat fresh. And I wouldn’t be surprised if Moss did quite a bit of DHing, as well.

      Only time will tell. But I can’t see Melvin ever using anyone as a ‘primary’ DH. He might start Jaso at DH 25 times, or so. But I’d be surprised if it happened much more than that.

    • Stevil 2 years ago

      I would love to see him return to Seattle. The M’s still need a catcher to back up Zunino, possibly hold his seat. Jaso’s a solid left handed bat.

      • Marinersforever71 2 years ago

        Adding Jaso as backup catcher and acquiring both Batista & Cecil from the Blue Jays in a three team trade w/ the Pirates makes sense as Smoak can use a change of scenery in Pittsburgh as the team needs a first baseman. Cecil can fill the void to be a closer or set up man to Farquhar, while Batista can provide power for the Seattle Mariners after losing out to Shin Soo Choo signing by the Rangers. Those two moves can propel the Mariners to possibly end a long drought of the playoffs by finishing in second place of the division.

  2. Riaaaaaa 2 years ago

    I never thought the Diamondbacks would be able to outbid big market teams anyway. No offense to Arizona fans.

    • He hasn’t signed elsewhere yet.

      • Riaaaaaa 2 years ago

        I didn’t say he has. I’m just stating my opinion. Plus, I think he would choose a big market team. Therefore I agree with what Steve Gilbert said.

    • Rook 2 years ago

      Thats totally dependent on if a big market team offers an outrageous contract. If that happens, the Dbacks can’t and shouldn’t, try to hang.

      • Riaaaaaa 2 years ago

        It most likely will take an outrageous contract to sign Tanaka. However he’s still a mystery in the MLB, no matter how hard you scout him you won’t know how good he is against major league hitters until he’s signed. I just don’t see the Diamondbacks being desperate ENOUGH to spend so much of their money on a guy they hope will a good pitcher.

        • Rook 2 years ago

          What do you think your Yankees will end up offering?
          Just curious what you think an “outrageous” number will be or if they will be the team to make it.

          • Riaaaaaa 2 years ago

            I think the Yankees will give him something reasonable or maybe a slight overpay (perhaps 7/140), but don’t assume that because I’m a Yanks fan that I think they will get him. Because I don’t. I strongly believe that he will end up with the Cubs because they claimed they “won’t be outbid”.

    • AZDbacksfan1 2 years ago

      Believe me, the dbacks fans with common sense realize that theres teams with bigger pockets that can take on Tanaka’s asking price and that the dbacks don’t really have anything to offer him

    • None taken. We don’t expect to win the bid, and if we do, I’m sure we will have massively overpaid.

  3. David X 2 years ago

    Does this mean the A’s would go with a Vogt/Norris platoon at catcher?

  4. JasonGrabowski 2 years ago

    Didn’t arizona want kuroda when he came over too? Not gonna happen

  5. Zak A 2 years ago

    Jaso at DH? Really? I’d kick the tires on Delmon Young, John Buck, and a few retreds before giving Jaso the DH.

  6. Remember92 2 years ago

    I don’t see any agent worth his salt letting Tanaka sign for more than 5 years on his first contract. That way if he is legit, he can really cash in on his age 30-31 season and beyond. And if he ends up busting, he still gets a 9 figure deal for the efforts. But if he is legit, then another big payday, bigger than the first will be coming his way. I see somewhere around 5/100 to 5/115 for his first deal. If.legit, and inflation I’m players salaries, an extra two years now.could potentially cost him 15-20 million down the road in just two years. Plus his age 31 and 32 yr.old seasons will be.pretty darn valuable if he is the real deal in my humble opinion.

    • 王威評 2 years ago

      Agreed, best strategy for Tanaka would be picking a pitcher’s park, and sign for 5 years around 100M.

      Set for life, and get a chance to double that money come 30 years old.

  7. Joe McHugh 2 years ago

    Why is everyone so high on Texas this season? Sure their lineup may be the best in baseball, but their rotation (aside from Darvish) is extremely questionable. I was reading the predictions for 2014 on mlb.com and it seemed that everyone chose the Rangers to take the West. I see the A’s, Angels, and Mariners all competing very closely with the Rangers and the A’s probably coming out on top.

    • Sean Young 2 years ago

      Please explain your “extremely questionable” comment. Matt Harrison won 19 games the year before last, Derek Holland is a solid bet to win 13-15 games, Martin Perez missed the first 1/3 of the season because of a broken forearm and was awesome as a rookie. Texas will be there in the end, either DIV winners or taking up one of those wild card spots. Their pitching staff was actually a solid point last year, even with many injuries. The offense failed them and they are working to correct that with a few of the moves they’ve made.

    • dasjman 2 years ago

      Sorry Joe, but if you think the problem with last year’s Texas Rangers was pitching, then you didn’t pay much attention. Darvish, Harrison, Holland, Perez, are all solid. What you view as “extremely questionable” most view as one of the better staffs in the AL.

      • Joe McHugh 1 year ago

        Darvish is obviously the ace and I see nothing wrong with him. However, Holland’s career ERA is 4.36, Harrison is coming off an injury so I don’t consider him a definite, and Perez is unproven as far as I see. I think they’ve obviously improved but putting them as “obvious picks” as one writer put it on MLB to win the west and the world series is a stretch after finishing 5.5 games behind the A’s last year.

    • Marinersforever71 1 year ago

      Agree in some ways as the Mariners have a chance to compete for the division if able to acquire Cliff Lee, Dominic Brown, and Jonathan Papelbon from the Phillies or Jose Batista & Brett Cecil from the Blue Jays for some good return the other way involving Nick Franklin & Justin Smoak (both going to a third team in a three way trade like the Brewers) plus few prospects.

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