Author Archives: Zach Links

MLBTR Originals

A look back at the original reporting and analysis found on MLBTR the last seven days:

  • In the most recent edition of the MLBTR Mailbag, Steve Adams fielded questions on Carlos Beltran‘s Hall of Fame credentials, managers who could get canned, the Tigers’ late-inning needs, and more.  You can submit questions for the mailbag at any time throughout the week via email –
  • Mark Polishuk ran down three major offseason needs for the White Sox.
  • If you missed out on this week’s chat with Steve, you can get caught up with the transcript.
  • Recently, MLB Trade Rumors launched a brand new official Instagram account:@TradeRumorsMLB.  Each day, we’re€™ sharing conversation-inspiring images about the hottest topics in baseball.  From there, we invite you to give us a like, weigh in with your thoughts in the comments section, and even share the link with a friend.  So, what are you waiting for?  If you don’€™t have an Instagram account, this is the perfect excuse to sign up and get one.  Follow us on Instagram today!
  • On Sunday morning, we ran down the best blog posts from around the web in Baseball Blogs Weigh In.

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NL East Notes: Phillies, Biddle, Nats, Williams

The Phillies haven’t won much in 2015, but they have won the race to the bottom, as Jake Kaplan of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes.  For the first time since 1998, the Phillies will pick No. 1 in the amateur draft and while there isn’t a slam-dunk top choice, it never hurts to have the top pick.  The Phillies will also get the largest bonus pool in the international signing period, which will aid them in the long term.

Kaplan notes that this will be the first No. 1 pick for incoming Phillies president Andy MacPhail. The highest he ever drafted was No. 2 when he was with the Cubs in 2001 – he used that selection to take right-hander Mark Prior.

Here’s more out of the NL East..

  • Phillies interim GM Scott Proefrock announced that former top prospect Jesse Biddle has suffered a torn UCL, as Kaplan tweets.  The left-hander will undergo Tommy John surgery on October 14th.  Biddle was rated as the No. 71 prospect in the country by Baseball America prior to the 2014 season, but his struggles through multiple levels of the Phillies’ farm system knocked him out of the top 100.  Things weren’t much better this year for the 23-year-old (soon-to-be 24), as he pitched to a 4.95 ERA with 6.4 K/9 and 4.4 BB/9 in 24 outings between Double-A and Triple-A.
  • Despite talk that he’ll be ousted as Nationals manager, Matt Williams says that no one in the front office has talked to him about his job status, as Bill Ladson of writes.  Jon Heyman of recently reported that Williams is all but certain to be fired after the season while a source says that GM/president of baseball ops Mike Rizzo is safe.
  • Rizzo says that the front office will meet tomorrow and that decisions will be made “sooner rather than later,” as Mark Zuckerman of tweets.  The GM added that he doesn’t “want anybody twisting in the wind.”

AL East Notes: Buehrle, Blue Jays, Red Sox

On Saturday night, Indians pitcher Corey Kluber gave the Red Sox a reminder of what they’re missing, Timothy Britton of The Providence Journal writes.  The reigning AL Cy Young winner is the type of frontline pitcher that Boston will seek this winter and interim manager Torey Lovullo fully understands how important a strong ace is to a ball club.

When a pitcher of his caliber starts working, getting in a rhythm, and has that special day going, it’s going to be a long day for the offense,” Lovullo said. “He was feeling very good and wasn’t throwing any pitch in the middle of the zone.”

Here’s more from the AL East..

  • Mark Buehrle‘s short start against the Rays today could wind up being his last, an MLB source tells Bruce Levine of WSCR-AM (on Twitter).  While the Blue Jays are advancing to the playoffs, Buehrle is not expected to be a part of the team’s postseason roster.  Buehrle, 37 in March, tried to go two innings today in order to notch his 15th straight year of 200 innings pitched.  However, a rough start and bad defensive play led to Buehrle getting the hook before the end of the first.  Heading into today’s game, Buehrle owned a 3.82 ERA with 4.1 K/9 and 1.5 BB/9.  Since August 1st, however, the veteran has posted a 4.92 ERA and a ghastly 5.67 ERA across his last five outings.
  • Matt Silverman overhauled the Rays after taking over last year but he expects things to go a little bit differently this winter, as Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times writes.  “We are champing at the bit for a ‘normal’ offseason during which we can focus all our efforts on advancing the organization,” Silverman said. “One byproduct from last offseason was the emergence of many new thoughts and ideas, and now is the time to fully explore them.”
  • John Farrell’s battle with cancer has forged an even stronger bond between him and Lovullo, as Gordon Edes of writes.
  • On Sunday morning the Red Sox announced that Farrell will be back as manager in 2016. Lovullo, meanwhile, will return as bench coach for 2016 and will not pursue any managerial openings this winter.

Marlins Rumors: Cueto, Leake, Cespedes

In his Sunday column, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald has a number of noteworthy Marlins items.  Here’s a look at some of the highlights..

Giants, Eddy Julio Martinez Agree To $2.5MM Deal

The Giants and highly-touted center field prospect Eddy Julio Martinez have reached agreement on a $2.5MM pact, according to’s Jesse Sanchez (on Twitter).

Martinez, regarded by some as the top free agent on this year’s international market, has flown under the radar of late after generating quite a bit of buzz late in the spring and early this summer. It was written on multiple occasions that the 20-year-old center fielder was expected to command a bonus in excess of $10MM, but he will reportedly sign a deal worth only 25% of that.  The Giants have already spent heavily enough on international free agents to incur the maximum penalties, so the only further repercussion they’ll face with the Martinez deal is further luxury taxation.  Their high-priced class includes $6MM shortstop Lucius Fox, who is also rated as one of this year’s top international players.

The Dodgers, Reds, Cubs, Astros and Rangers were also linked to Martinez at various times.  As Sanchez noted in his free scouting report, Martinez has a compact and powerful stroke plus the ability to hit home runs to all fields. His speed gives him base-stealing upside, and he should be able to remain in center field thanks to good range in the gaps and an accurate throwing arm.  Baseball America’s Ben Badler (subscription only) is less bullish, suggesting Martinez’s power leads more to doubles than home runs and noting that not all scouts believe he’ll stick as a starter in center field.

Latest On Angels GM Search

11:37am: The Angels will only be hiring one GM, not a GM plus a senior baseball executive, Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times tweets.  Eppler is the most likely choice for the job, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register hears.

8:58am: Internal candidates Hal Morris, Matt Klentak, and Scott Servais are no longer in the running for the Angels’ GM job, sources tell Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times (on Twitter).  Blue Jays assistant GM Tony LaCava has also been taken out of consideration.

Now that the field has been narrowed down, it appears that the shortlist is comprised of Yankees assistant GM Billy Eppler and Dodgers exec Josh Byrnes, per DiGiovanna (link). The Yankees believe that Eppler will get the gig, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, but Jon Heyman of hears rumblings that Byrnes could actually be installed as the president to work above Eppler.

It will be interesting to see what happens with the trio of Angels internal candidates who have apparently been ruled out, as well as LaCava.  Klentak has been linked to high-profile GM jobs in the past, including the recent Red Sox and Phillies vacancies.  Servais, a former major leaguer turned assistant GM, could be lured to Seattle by newly installed Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto, according to Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune.  LaCava, meanwhile, has been strongly considered for GM openings in the past and he even (reportedly) turned down an offer to become the Orioles’ GM back in 2011.

John Farrell To Return As Red Sox Manager In 2016

The Red Sox announced that John Farrell will be back as manager in 2016.   Torey Lovullo, meanwhile, will return as bench coach for 2016.

Lovullo has inked a two-year contract extension with the club taking him through the 2017 season.  Surprisingly, Lovullo has “waived the right to pursue any major league managerial openings in the 2015/16 offseason” as per the terms of his deal.  Lovullo has long been considered a managerial candidate in the majors and many expected him to be a hot candidate once again this winter.

The good news within the press release is that Farrell has completed chemotherapy treatments in Boston.  Ostensibly, the announcement that he will return to managing if given a clean bill of health is another positive sign for his recovery.  The 53-year-old Farrell has served as the team’s manager dating back to 2013 — a season that saw the former Red Sox pitching coach win a World Series title in his return to Boston. He’s compiled a 218-220 record in the regular season while serving as Boston’s skipper and has also managed the Blue Jays at the Major League level.

Baseball Blogs Weigh In: Cubs, Tigers, Blue Jays

On this date three years ago, the Red Sox fired manager Bobby Valentine, as Leo Panetta of writes. Valentine, who lasted only ten months in Boston, led the team to a 69-93 mark, the club’s worst campaign since 1965.

Here’s this week’s look around the baseball blogosphere..

Please send submissions to Zach at

Latest On Angels, Huston Street

On Saturday night, Angels closer Huston Street had to be helped off the field after suffering a groin injury.  The team is still waiting for more information, but manager Mike Scioscia said the early prognosis is “not good,” as Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times writes.  On Sunday, Scioscia added that the injury was “significant” (via Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times on Twitter) and that doesn’t leave a ton of room for optimism as the Angels wait for the MRI results.  Here’s the latest on Street and how the Angels might explore their limited options at this stage of the season…

Newest updates

  • Street told reporters (including Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register) that he suffered a Grade 1 groin strain and will be out for the rest of the regular season.  Since a Grade 1 is the least-serious level of strain, however, there’s still a chance Street could return in the playoffs provided the Angels make it deep enough into the postseason.

Earlier today

  • Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register (on Twitter) hears that there is “absolutely no chance” that 2014 first-round pick Sean Newcomb will come up to the Angels in reaction to the Street injury. The left-hander has worked his way up to Double-A this season. In total, Newcomb has 27 minor league starts to his credit with a 2.38 ERA, 11.1 K/9, and 5.0 BB/9.
  • Fletcher (on Twitter) hears that the Angels are trying to get a reliever from outside the organization to help bolster their bullpen.  However, at this point, they’re unlikely to get anyone of impact.  Furthermore, anyone they did acquire would not be eligible for postseason play.
  • Halos skipper Mike Scioscia confirmed that GM Bill Stoneman is looking “inside and outside the organization” for relief help, as Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times tweets.
  • One possibility from within is Vinnie Pestano, Fletcher tweets. Pestano, who pitched to a 2.10 ERA with 11.0 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9 at Triple-A, is not currently on the 40-man roster.

AL East Notes: Ramirez, Red Sox, Rays

New Red Sox GM Mike Hazen joined MLB Network Radio (Twitter link) to talk about a wide range of topics, including the divvying up of responsibilities in the revamped front office.  Hazen explained that he’ll be more based in the office while senior VP Frank Wren will have a heavier hand in the evaluation of players.  Unsurprisingly, he says (link) that president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski will be making the “final decision” on all personnel matters.

Here’s more from the AL East..

  • Hazen (link) says that the Red Sox are tentatively planning to look at Hanley Ramirez as a first baseman in spring training.  Ramirez was recently shut down for the year with a shoulder injury.  He hit just .249/.291/.426 at the plate while advanced metrics labeled him as a weak defender.
  • This offseason, Dombrowski will have to figure out what he’ll do with is trio of major league-caliber catchers, Brian MacPherson of The Providence Journal writes. Boston could use one of its backstops in a package to land a frontline starting pitcher, but Christian Vazquez‘s health might throw that plan into flux.  In order to trade Blake Swihart, the Red Sox would have to have confidence in Vazquez’s recovery from surgery, but his situation could still be murky come December or January.
  • Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times took a position-by-position look at how the Rays look heading into 2016.  At first base, the Rays have James Loney signed at an $8MM salary, but Topkin wonders if they might be better off trading him, even if they have to eat some of his contract.  Tampa Bay, he writes, could give themselves additional flexibility while opening a spot for Richie Shaffer, who would need to be paired with a lefty hitter.
  • Rich Hill has been excellent this month for the Red Sox and he could be carving out a spot for himself in the rotation in 2016, as Peter Abraham of The Boston Globe writes.  However, the 35-year-old says that he’s not thinking that far ahead.  “I don’t want to even go there, really,” he said. “Just really kind of focus in on tomorrow and get ready for that next start. You want to get to the finish line and worry about [next year] when it comes around.”  Hill, who previously owned a 4.72 ERA over parts of ten big league seasons, has a 1.17 ERA over three starts with 30 strikeouts and just two walks.