Bob Melvin Rumors

Quick Hits: QO, Yankees, Athletics, Cubs

The qualifying offer continues to be an interesting topic of conversation and study around the game. It’s clear that it impacts free agent situations, but precisely how and how much remains somewhat difficult to nail down in practice. Next year’s QO will rise to approximately $15.7MM to $16MM,’s Buster Olney tweets, providing another, increasingly-high-stakes opportunity to observe how teams approach the rule.

Here are a few stray notes to finish out the evening:

  • The Yankees have already made use of a significant number of relief arms, often by shuttling players with options, and figure to do even more of that when rosters expand next month, Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes. That strategy may explain in part why the team ultimately chose not to add a starter at the deadline, preferring instead to rely on its depth to reduce the burden and reliance on its starters.
  • The Athletics front office is geared up for the future, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle writes. While GM Billy Beane says he is “always trying to get better in the short term,” he acknowledged that the club’s trade deadline strategy focused on cashing in expiring veteran contracts for “younger players with more of an upside .. as more of a long-term approach.” Having adopted that approach, Beane says that the team likely will not “use prospects for acquisitions” this winter.
  • Notably, the Athletics’ key non-playing figures all seem likely not only to stay on, but to advance their careers. Per Slusser, manager Bob Melvin is likely to receive a multi-year extension at season’s end, while she labels it a “strong bet” that Beane will move up to a president position while handing over the GM title to David Forst.
  • The presence of multiple teams still in contention could slow the August trade market, Cubs GM Jed Hoyer tells Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times“There’ll definitely be deals,” he said. “Whether those will be big deals or not, I would probably say no, simply because I do think people are pretty active on the waiver wire and there’ll be quite a bit of blocking.” Hoyer added that Chicago had already been awarded several waiver claims, though obviously it has not actually acquired any of those players.

Rosenthal’s Latest: Managers, A’s, Reddick, Tulo, Astros

Earlier this week, in the wake of the Marlins’ managerial change, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports noted that the two skippers who were most obviously on the hot seat had now been dismissed. With Mike Redmond and Brewers skipper Ron Roenicke having been replaced, Rosenthal looks at four more managers who could eventually find themselves in danger of losing their jobs, listing John Gibbons (Blue Jays), Bud Black (Padres), Fredi Gonzalez (Braves) and Terry Collins (Mets) as the likeliest options. Gibbons can’t be blamed for the lack of quality relief arms he has at his disposal, Rosenthal notes, but bench coach Demarlo Hale has long been thought of as a managerial prospect and makes sense as a replacement option. Black’s Padres are struggling with pitching, and Mark Kotsay‘s name is floated by Rosenthal as someone who could be the next recently retired player to turn manager. Braves president of baseball ops John Hart isn’t as high on Gonzalez as president John Schuerholz or Bobby Cox, and there’s been some recent “internal finger-pointing,” Rosenthal hears. Collins nearly lost his job at the end of the 2014 season, he notes, and while the team is still in first place, the Mets’ managerial situation has long been volatile in nature.

Here’s more from Rosenthal…

  • In a new Notes column, Rosenthal looks at the Athletics‘ roster in the wake of a brutal start to the season. As many have pointed out, Scott Kazmir, Tyler Clippard and Ben Zobrist — each a pending free agent — would all be logical trade candidates if the team is still underperforming in July. However, Rosenthal writes that there’s no way GM Billy Beane will act quickly and sell, as he’ll first want to see how the team performs with Zobrist and closer Sean Doolittle healthy and activated from the DL. One change that won’t be coming, Rosenthal adds, is at manager. Beane and skipper Bob Melvin have a strong relationship, and it’s “exceptionally unlikely” that Melvin would be dismissed, in Rosenthal’s eyes.
  • Another possible trade chip for the A’s could be Josh Reddick, who is earning $4.1MM after his second trip through arbitration this year. The Athletics, however, resisted trade offers for Reddick all offseason, Rosenthal hears.
  • Rosenthal recently called Rockies owner Dick Monfort to discuss the recent Troy Tulowitzki trade chatter. However, when Rosenthal began asking about Tulowitzki, Monfort “quickly hung up.” The bizarre situation lends credence to wide-spread belief that Tulo, his agent and even GM Jeff Bridich have little say in whether or not the Rockies trade the face of their franchise. Rather, it’ll come down to the team owner’s wishes.
  • The Astros are considering a long list of pitchers that either are or could become available, and they’ve recently been scouting Jeff Samardzija. It remains to be seen if the Astros would be willing to part with enough to get their hands on Samardzija, though. As Rosenthal notes, some rival execs feel that the tandem pitching system the Astros use in the minors devalues their pitching prospects, though one exec told him that it actually increases the value, as it suppresses the young pitchers’ inning counts.
  • Rosenthal believes the Rays should consider trading left-hander Jake McGee to either help their rotation or another area of the team. McGee, he notes, is earning $3.55MM this season and will see that price tag sail beyond $5MM in arbitration this winter.
  • Of course, as I noted yesterday when looking at this topic, using McGee in the ninth inning would help to keep down the future earnings of Brad Boxberger, who would benefit greatly from two full seasons of saves when he heads into arbitration following the 2016 season. And, as MLBTR’s Jeff Todd mentioned to me earlier today when we were chatting, left-handed relief is an area of weakness for the Rays at this time. Nevertheless, I wouldn’t be surprised if the scenario Rosenthal lays out came to fruition, and it’s hard to imagine that the Rays wouldn’t at least be open-minded to moving McGee.

AL West Notes: Hernandez, Andrus, Crisp, Athletics

Astros righty Roberto Hernandez has finally received his visa an is set to report to spring camp for a physical,’s Brian McTaggart tweets. Hernandez has a bit of catching up to do if he hopes to make the roster after inking a minor league deal earlier in the offseason.

Here are some notes from the AL West:

  • A rough 2014 season for Elvis Andrus of the Rangers has left some looking askance at his eight-year, $120MM extension, which officially kicks in this season. As the Associated Press reports (via, Andrus says that he is ready for a better campaign after reporting out of shape last year. “This year I took it a thousand times [more] seriously than I did the year before,” he said. “… That was an offseason that I hope never happens again. In spring training I wasn’t ready.” A turnaround from Andrus would go a long way toward restoring the once-promising trajectory of the Rangers, to say nothing of his own. It would also increase his appeal as a trade chip, though Texas no longer has quite the middle infield logjam it once did.
  • Coco Crisp is set to play left field this year for the Athletics, manager Bob Melvin tells reporters including Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle (via Twitter). That shift, which was occasioned by a desire to protect the team’s investment in Crisp by reducing the toll on his body, will result in Craig Gentry and Sam Fuld platooning in center. In turn, that probably also puts an end to the notion that Oakland could look to acquire a second baseman and move Ben Zobrist to the outfield.
  • While it is hard to deny (and not entirely surprising) that the Athletics got less back for Jeff Samardzija than they gave to acquire him (along with Jason Hammel), the team feels good about the young players that it picked up from the White Sox,’s Phil Rogers writes“Look, both of those deals are difficult,” said assistant GM David Forst. “You never like trading a guy like Addison [Russell], but Jeff and Jason filled a particular need for us at that time. Then to turn around and lose Jason and feel like trading Jeff is the best option is never an easy decision to make. Jeff is a guy who has his best years ahead of him still. He’s right at the age you want to get a pitcher. He knows his game. His stuff is without question. It was not an easy decision to make. It was part of the balancing act we are forced to make.”

A’s Notes: Lineup, Young, Cespedes, Nakajima

The Athletics held their A's Fan Fest today with manager Bob Melvin and GM Billy Beane hosting a Q&A session. Here are the highlights:

  • Melvin says second base will be an open competition between Scott Sizemore and Jemile Weeks while Grant Green, the A's fourth-best prospect as ranked by, will also receive a hard look, reports's Jane Lee (Twitter links).
  • Melvin plans to continue with the Brandon Moss/Chris Carter platoon at first base, tweets Lee
  • Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets the A's will not use any one set lineup because Melvin has multiple options depending on matchups and who's hot. 
  • Melvin views Coco Crisp as the starting center fielder with Chris Young moving around all three outfield spots, Lee tweets.
  • Young says being reunited with Melvin is "like a breath of fresh air." (A's team Twitter feed).
  • Melvin calls Yoenis Cespedes one of most talented players in the league and Beane adds he wouldn't be surprised if the 27-year-old Cuban takes it to another level, Slusser tweets
  • Beane is confident Hiroyuki Nakajima will make a successful transition to MLB, tweets Casey Pratt of In fact, Beane joked he will have a tougher transition in dealing with the effervescent Japanese shortstop.
  • Beane expects their top prospect, outfielder Michael Choice, to open the season in Triple-A, unless something unforeseen happens, according to Pratt (via Twitter).
  • The A's are convinced shortstop Addison Russell, last year's first round draft choice, is mature enough to be invited to Spring Training even though it wasn't part of his contract, writes Slusser on Twitter. Slusser adds this is an indication of how much the 19-year-old has wowed the front office.

New York Notes: Terrasas, Mets Manager, Jeter

The latest on both teams in the Big Apple…

Rosenthal’s Full Count Video: Cubs, Valentine, Dunn

Ken Rosenthal's weekly Full Count video is up over at FOX Sports; here are your highlights:

  • The Cubs would be taking a risk if they choose to wait for the Yankees' season to end to interview Joe Girardi for their managerial opening. Given that six to ten managerial openings may arise, other candidates such as Eric Wedge and Bob Melvin (who's interviewing today), as well as their internal candidates (Mike Quade and Ryne Sandberg) could find work elsewhere.
  • Boston pitching coach John Farrell's contractual clause that prevents him from interviewing for managerial openings expires this offseason. Rosenthal says he's likely to interview with at least one club. He turned down a chance to interview with the Mariners years ago, but may be a fit once again.
  • Seattle, meanwhile, is also looking at Ted Simmons, Joey Cora, and others. They ultimately may prefer someone with more experience than Farrell.
  • Unsurprisingly, the Mets will hire a new GM before a new manager. Bobby Valentine could indeed return, but everyone involved would need to determine exactly what his responsibilities would be. Wally Backman could also be a candidate to manage the Mets, but his managerial experience comes in A-ball. If hired, the team would need to put a strong coaching staff in place around him.
  • Valentine is still a candidate for the Marlins' managerial opening, as is interim manager Edwin Rodriguez, Jim Fregosi, Tim Wallach, Bo Porter, and Simmons. 
  • There's still a chance that the Nationals could sign Adam Dunn to an extension, and the two sides will speak at least once more before the slugger hits the open market. At this point Dunn would require a deal at market value to return, which Rosenthal suggests could be four years, $60MM. As bad as his defense is, several metrics rate him better than Ryan Howard and Miguel Cabrera with the glove.

Rosenthal’s Full Count Video: Orioles, Griffey, Braves's Ken Rosenthal has a new Full Count video up, so let's see what he has for us…

  • The Orioles will almost certainly be the first team to fire their manager this season, and both Bob Melvin and Bobby Valentine came up in past internal discussions. Bigger jobs are in store for Valentine, but Buck Showalter might also be a candidate. Rosenthal reminds us that the team doesn't have anyone in-house with prior big league managing experience. 
  • The Mariners expect Cliff Lee back on Friday and Erik Bedard back in four weeks, but the focus will remain on the offense and Ken Griffey Jr.'s .238/.289/.262 performance. Rosenthal says not to expect anything to happen with him anytime soon; Seattle has five Griffey-centric promotions scheduled for the first half.
  • The Braves are a logical landing spot for Adrian Gonzalez, but they're also very high on first base prospect Freddie Freeman. The last time they traded for a first baseman with a year-plus left on his contract, they basically rebuilt the Texas Rangers.
  • The Nationals made a run at Jermaine Dye and had more than one conversation with Gary Sheffield's agent, but GM Mike Rizzo said those talks were just to gauge interest. For now, they're happy with the a platoon of Willie Harris and Justin Maxwell because of their defensive abilities, and Rizzo says that will remain a point of emphasis as the team moves forward. 
  • Rosenthal expects the Nats to get better as the season progresses. They'll be adding Stephen Strasburg, Drew Storen, Chien-Ming Wang, Ross Detwiler, and Jordan Zimmermann to their pitching staff at various points this year.

Odds & Ends: McCourts, Strasburg, Cotts

Some tidbits from around baseball as we enjoy Game One of the ALCS…

  • Bill Shaikin and Harriet Ryan of the L.A. Times have some ominous news for Dodgers fans surrounding the separation of Frank and Jamie McCourt: his attorneys claim he is the sole owner of the Dodgers, while her lawyers say the team's ownership is split 50-50 between the soon-to-be ex-couple.
  • On the night of Stephen Strasburg's professional debut in the Arizona Fall League, Jack Magruder of the Washington Times notes that Strasburg won't pitch much in the AFL.
  • Reliever Neal Cotts doesn't know if the Cubs will non-tender him, but he is just focused on pitching somewhere in 2010 after undergoing Tommy John surgery in July, reports's Carrie Muskat.
  • Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel relates a nice anecdote about Craig Counsell to illustrate why he thinks the Brewers should bring back the veteran infielder in 2010.
  •'s Mychael Urban praised the young, talented and affordable Oakland bullpen in his ongoing team report card series.
  • Manny Acta and Bob Melvin "have to be 1-2" for the Houston manager's job thus far, says's Brian McTaggart (via Twitter)

Astros Managerial Search Update

The Astros are more than halfway through their first round of interviews for their open manager position, so here are a few of the items stemming from their search.

  • Bob Melvin cited his experience at winning with both younger and older rosters in his interview for the Astros managerial job today, reports Jose De Jesus Ortiz of the Houston Chronicle.  
  • Meanwhile, San Diego batting coach Randy Ready (who interviewed for the same Astros job on Thursday) may not have the experience of some of the other Astros managerial candidates, but he argues that every manager "had to get a start somewhere".
  • Brian McTaggart of reports that former Astros skipper Garner originally contracted the team not in search of a job, but rather to endorse fellow candidate Bob Melvin.
  • Richard Justice of the Houston Chronicle believes the Astros have so many intriguing candidates that they should hire three of them.