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Author Archives: Edward Creech
A look back at the original reporting and analysis found on MLBTR this past week:
- Tim Dierkes ushered in a new season of MLBTR’s recurring series Free Agent Profile with his prediction of a seven-year, $105MM contract for Cuban outfielder Yasmany Tomas.
- Agent Matt Sosnick told Tim Josh Willingham has yet to a make a definitive decision about retirement.
- Tim was the first to report Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr., while in Japan, scouted Kenta Maeda.
- Mark Polishuk examined the trade candidacy of four members of the Reds’ starting rotation: Johnny Cueto, Mat Latos, Mike Leake, and Alfredo Simon.
- Steve Adams asked MLBTR readers to name the best in-season waiver claim. Nearly 21% of you cited the Twins’ pick-up of outfielder Sam Fuld as the shrewdest move.
- Steve hosted the MLBTR live chat this week.
- Zach Links put together the best of the baseball blogosphere in Baseball Blogs Weigh In.
For the second consecutive year, MLB has a no-hitter to close out the regular season. The Nationals’ Jordan Zimmermann threw the first no-hitter for the franchise since their move to Washington, D.C., but needed a diving, over-the-shoulder grab by leftfielder Steven Souza, who entered the game as a defensive replacement for Ryan Zimmerman in the top of the ninth, to preserve the 1-0 gem. “No-doubt double and [Souza] comes out of nowhere. Whatever he wants, I’ll buy him anything,” Zimmermann said (as tweeted by the Washington Post’s James Wagner). As for his defensive wizardry, Souza (as quoted by Paul White of USA Today) “knew it was over my head. I was just hoping I had a prayer of laying out. Anything can happen when you hit the ground. I came down like a football catch and that thing wasn’t getting out.” Henderson Alvarez, who tossed last year’s season-ending no-hitter, was the victim today.
Elsewhere in the National League:
- The Marlins will discuss a contract extension with Giancarlo Stanton this offseason, reports Joe Frisaro of MLB.com. “That is our plan, to talk with him about extending him beyond his arbitration years,” said Marlins President of Baseball Operations Michael Hill. “We have to hear from them and what their goals are, and what they hope to accomplish. We have some ideas we’ll streamline and tighten up as have those meetings. And hopefully we’re on the same page and can get something done.” Stanton is represented by the Wasserman Media Group, per MLBTR’s Agency Database.
- Earlier today, Marlins manager Mike Redmond received a contract extension. Brewers manager Ron Roenicke, meanwhile, is still awaiting his fate. “Yeah, I don’t know where we stand,” Roenicke told reporters, including MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy. “Yeah, it’s always uncomfortable when you’re not sure what’s going to happen. You do the best you can do, and you know when you’re a manager, that sometimes if it doesn’t go well, that you’re the guy that’s going to get blamed for it.” The Brewers lost to the Cubs to finish the year at 82-80 and 9-22 since August 26.
- Ryan Howard is just as unclear about his 2015 status with the Phillies, according to Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com. “Whether it’s going to be here or not, I don’t know. But I’ll be playing baseball. So my future is certain in that aspect,” said Howard, who went so far as to ask reporters if they think he has played his last game as a Phillie.
- Phillies right-hander A.J. Burnett, who will undergo hernia surgery next week, remains undecided about exercising his $12.75MM player option, writes MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki. “It’s ultimately going to come down to me,” Burnett said. “I had the same thoughts last year. Then I woke up and I wanted to compete. So I can’t just shut that down if it’s still there. But then again, my youngins, they have a say in it.“
- Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post opines losing has taken such a toll throughout the Rockies organization that players, coaches, and other staff members are wondering if there is a vision to right the franchise.
- Wally Backman will not be added to the Mets‘ coaching staff in 2015, sources tell Andy Martino of the New York Daily News.
Blue Jays General Manager Alex Anthopoulos met with the media, including Sportsnet.ca’s Ben Nicholson-Smith and Shi Davidi (Twitter links) and the National Post’s John Lott, for 50 minutes today before Toronto’s season finale against Baltimore. Here are the highlights:
- Anthopoulos declined to put a figure on the team’s 2015 payroll, but expects to have the financial flexibility to make moves and has “some ideas on trades and free agents.”
- The Blue Jays will make a competitive offer to Melky Cabrera, but Anthopoulos reiterated the club’s policy of limiting contracts to five years “is still firmly in place. That’s not going to change.”
- On the Jays’ starting rotation, “I wouldn’t feel good going into the season with five,” Anthopoulos said. “Philosophically speaking, you want to hoard as much as you can, keep as much depth as you can.” To that end, Anthopoulos hinted J.A. Happ‘s $6.7MM option will be exercised and Aaron Sanchez (“frontline starter potential“) will be stretched out in Spring Training. He will, however, at least consider trade offers for established arms.
- The Blue Jays will eschew big-name relievers and focus on set-up arms in an effort to rebuild their bullpen. Sanchez may pitch in relief sometime during the course of 2015, but only to manage his innings.
- “Yes,” was Anthopoulos’ reply when asked would he hire John Gibbons if he had a managerial opening next season.
- Brett Lawrie is slated to play third base next year, but could be moved to second if an impact third baseman is acquired. As for evaluating the other position players, Anthopoulos will place a premium on durability.
- Nicholson-Smith opines bench upgrades will most likely be accomplished through trades rather than free agency.
The Marlins have agreed to a contract extension with manager Mike Redmond through the 2017 season, tweets Juan C. Rodriguez of the Sun Sentinel. The Marlins also tweeted the entire coaching staff will return in 2015.
“It speaks volumes of the job they did, just with the perseverance,” President of Baseball Operations Michael Hill told reporters (including MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro) prior to the announcement. “They’ve taken every blow they were given and kept on moving. I think that’s definitely a credit to the manager, and his staff, and the players in that clubhouse.”
Marlins President David Samson told reporters, including Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald, the extension was finalized prior to today’s season finale against the Nationals.
“On this last day of the season, it’s the perfect way to start this offseason, making sure everyone realizes…our commitment to Red,” Samson said. “We knew we were bringing him into a situation where he was going to grow with the team and we’ve watched that happen. The team and Mike have grown in lockstep.“
The Marlins are 139-188 under Redmond, who just completed the second season of his original three-year contract.
Here’s the latest on the Diamondbacks’ search for a new GM following the recent removal of Kevin Towers from that role.
- The Diamondbacks will announce their new GM on Thursday, reports Bob Nightengale of USA Today (Twitter links). Dave Stewart is the heavy favorite for the job, although DeJon Watson is still under consideration. The team will also be promoting scouting director Ray Montgomery, according to Nightengale. In a third tweet, Nightengale says it wouldn’t be far-fetched to see Stewart named GM, Watson hired as an assistant GM, Montgomery promoted and Towers retained in a senior scouting capacity.
- Nightengale also tweets that while a decision won’t come until after the season, a managerial change appears likely given the team’s poor performance.
- Jon Heyman of CBS Sports writes that Stewart, Watson and former Royals GM Allard Baird are the three finalists and runs down some of the qualifications of each candidate.
- Gary LaRocque will remain in his current position as the Cardinals’ farm director, the team confirms to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Twitter link).
- The “strong industry belief” is that Dave Stewart will be hired as the Diamondbacks’ new GM, though Gary LaRocque may also join the organization in some capacity, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports (Twitter links). LaRocque is also still a candidate for the GM job and he and Stewart may be the final two names in contention.
- The Diamondbacks completed the GM interview process today, MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert tweets.
A look back at the original reporting and analysis found on MLBTR the last seven days:
- Steve Adams created a 2015 Free Agent Leaderboard on FanGraphs allowing MLBTR readers to track the performance of the upcoming free agent class.
- For those looking beyond this offseason, Steve updated the list of 2016 free agents.
- Brad Johnson opines Victor Martinez, Brandon McCarthy, and Andrew Miller are the three free agents who have most improved their value.
- Charlie Wilmoth, in the latest Free Agent Stock Watch, is bullish about the prospects of Melky Cabrera given his performance this season and the weakness of the free agent corner outfield market.
- Jeff Todd asked MLBTR readers whether the Giants will re-sign Pablo Sandoval. More than 55% of you believe he will leave his heart in San Francisco and take the rest of his body elsewhere.
- Brad asked MLBTR readers which team will win the Yasmany Tomas sweepstakes. A plurality of you (over 17%) see the Yankees winning the bidding war for the 23-year-old Cuban outfielder.
- Steve hosted this week’s chat.
- Zach Links compiled the latest edition of Baseball Blogs Weigh In.
As a former player, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly can relate to what Cubs prospects Javier Baez and Arismendy Alcantara are going through, writes David Just of the Chicago Sun-Times. “It’s just a time factor with the young guys,” Mattingly said. “They can look good right away, and the next year they come out and it doesn’t look good. Or they can look kind of shaky and figure a lot of it out. So time is going to tell.” As a youngster, Mattingly got off to a slow start with the Yankees, hitting .278 with a .326 on-base percentage in his first 98 games during the 1982 and ’83 seasons. He then led the American League in hits, doubles, and batting average in 1984.
Here’s the latest from the NL Central:
- Pirates GM Neal Huntington says re-signing catcher Russell Martin is a priority for the franchise, tweets Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “We are going to try to do everything we can to keep Russ,” said Huntington. “We’d love nothing more than to have (Martin) in a Pirates uniform.“
- Huntington, however, reiterated the Pirates will not veer from their financial philosophy. “We’re going to continue to have to pay guys for what we believe they’re going to do, and not what they’ve done,” said Huntington (as quoted by MLB.com’s Stephen Pianovich). “The bigger markets certainly have luxury to be able to extend much beyond comfort levels to pay an extra year or two, to pave over prior mistakes with more money.“
- Brewers GM Doug Melvin does not “think there’s a need to go out and try to get another starter” and will instead focus on offense this offseason, reports MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy. The Brewers are all but certain to pick up the $13MM option on Yovani Gallardo, McCalvy opines.
- The Brewers‘ biggest offseason decisions will be the infield corners and whether to exercise Gallardo’s option, according to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in a recent chat. The Brewers will consider both internal and external options at first base, but Haudricourt notes finding productive first basemen is easier said than done.
- In a separate piece, Haudricourt writes Rickie Weeks is nearing the end of his tenure with the Brewers (his $11.5MM option isn’t expected to be exercised), but the team’s senior member in terms of service time is not thinking about 2015. “I’ll worry about that when the time comes,” Weeks said. “I’m still with the Brewers right now. That’s the way I look at it.“
- “What we’d really like is to have a bunch of really good baserunners,” is what Cubs manager Rick Renteria told reporters, including MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat, when asked about the club’s 2015 wish list.
Offense is at a premium this season and Rays manager Joe Maddon doesn’t think it will improve any time soon, writes MLB.com’s Bill Chastain. “The hitter’s at a total disadvantage right now,” Maddon said. “And there’s no advantages on the horizon. I don’t see it. That’s why it’s going to take a lot of creative thinking. It could be just going back maybe to something that had been done before. I’m not sure. But right now, offense is going south, and it’s going to continue going south based on pitching and defense. Everything, data, video, all the information benefits them over offense.” Maddon also pointed to improved bullpens throughout baseball as another factor in the depressed offensive numbers.
Here’s more from the American League:
- July acquisition Joakim Soria deserves a shot at pitching in high-pressure situations for the Tigers, writes Chris Iott of MLive.com. Soria could be the best relief pitcher the Tigers have and they paid a price to get him, so they should utilize him in the best way possible, Iott argues.
- The Indians led the majors in errors for much of the sesaon, but there likely won’t be sweeping changes in Cleveland’s infield, writes Paul Hoynes of The Plain Dealer.
- Nelson Cruz reiterated he would like to stay with the Orioles, but extension talks will still wait until after the season, tweets Rich Dubroff of CSNBaltimore.com.
- Tim Bogar is now the clear runaway favorite to be hired as the next Rangers manager, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today (on Twitter).
Left-hander Yasmany Hernandez has left Cuba for an undisclosed third country with the goal of signing a MLB contract, per Diario De Cuba (h/t Baseball America’s Ben Badler). Badler provides a scouting report on the 23-year-old, who led Serie Nacional with a 1.66 ERA this past season. Hernandez will be exempt from international bonus restrictions after pitching five seasons in Serie Nacional, but Badler doesn’t expect teams to show as much interest in Hernandez as fellow Cubans have drawn. Here are more notes from around the game.
- Badler also recently appeared on the Providence Journal’s Super Two podcast with Tim Britton and Brian MacPherson, where he discussed new Red Sox outfielder Rusney Castillo. Badler says teams are becoming increasingly receptive to spending big money on Cuban players thanks to the successes of players like Jose Abreu and Yasiel Puig, adding that the added power Castillo demonstrated since leaving Cuba increased his value on the market.
- Free-agent-to-be Russell Martin would be a great fit for the Cubs, Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times writes. Signing Martin would involve making a significant financial commitment and giving up on Welington Castillo as a starting catcher, but Martin could help mold the Cubs’ young pitching and provide a strong example for the rest of its young roster.
- The Mariners will not retain national cross-checker Butch Baccala, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports. Baccala is the scout who sent Jesus Montero ice cream during a minor league game while Montero was rehabbing, seemingly as an insult regarding Montero’s weight. Montero threw the ice cream at Baccala and was suspended.
- The Pirates had a quiet trade deadline, but they’ve had a strong second half anyway, MLB.com’s Tom Singer writes. In particular, they didn’t complete a trade for a starting pitcher and didn’t improve what appeared to be a weak bullpen. Since then, though, their bullpen has quietly become a strength, thanks in part to the emergence of John Holdzkom, and their offense has papered over any rotation issues. “You’ll get second-guessed no matter what you do,” says Bucs manager Clint Hurdle. “That’s just the nature of the world. So you gotta do what you feel in your gut is right.”
- The Rays are ready to see what they’ve got in Nick Franklin, who they’re promoting Monday, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times writes. The Rays, of course, acquired Franklin from the Mariners in the three-team deal in which they sent David Price to Detroit. Since the trade, Franklin has hit .210/.288/.290 in 113 plate appearances for Triple-A Durham, although his track record indicates he’s capable of hitting better.
- Padres assistant director of scouting operations Don Welke, who arrived recently from the Rangers organization along with new GM A.J. Preller, is enjoying his first month with San Diego, Corey Brock of MLB.com writes. Welke and other members of the Padres’ front office are currently in Arizona, where they’re watching Padres prospects play in the instructional league.
A look back at the original reporting and analysis found on MLBTR this past week:
- Steve Adams profiled Josh Harrison as a possible extension candidate and sees three years and $15-16MM as the parameters for a deal between the Pirates and the 27-year-old utilityman.
- Jeff Todd presented a Free Agent Stock Watch on Nationals infielder Asdrubal Cabrera and believes his performance down the stretch and in the playoffs will determine the market for his services.
- Charlie Wilmoth issued a Free Agent Stock Watch on Yankees third baseman Chase Headley.
- Tim Dierkes was the first to learn Wily Mo Pena, after spending three seasons in Japan, wants to return to MLB in 2015 and three teams are interested.
- Tim also broke the news left-hander Mike Zagurski asked out of his minor league contract with the Blue Jays and the club granted his request.
- Zach Links was the first to report infielder Matt Hague and right-hander Blake Wood would be placed on waivers by the Blue Jays and Royals, respectively.
- Jeff updated the progress players with a 2015 vesting option are making toward exercising those options.
- Jeff asked MLBTR readers whether the Orioles will extend qualifying offers to pending free agents Nelson Cruz, J.J. Hardy, and Nick Markakis. Nearly 47% of you predict the club will tender Cruz, but there is much less support for Hardy (28%) and Markakis (25%) receiving a QO.
- Zach assembled the best of the baseball blogosphere for you in Baseball Blogs Weigh In.