Chicago White Sox Rumors

Chicago White Sox trade and free agent rumors from MLBTradeRumors.com.

AL Central Notes: Avila, Lindor, Indians, White Sox

Tigers catcher Alex Avila is now symptom-free after suffering yet another concussion in the final game of this year’s ALDS against the Orioles, he tells MLive.com’s Chris Iott. While many have speculated that Avila could need to step away from the game after being diagnosed with what he referred to as three “mild” concussions this year, Avila isn’t thinking along those lines. “I had a CT scan and an MRI checking my brain and my neck and the arteries leading to it, and everything checks out normal and healthy,” Avila told Iott. “And talking with the neurologist that examined everything, I shouldn’t have any concern.” Avila’s concussion issues do predate this season, Iott notes, but the catcher maintains that he’d be ready to step on the field today if the Tigers needed him to do so. Detroit holds a $5.4MM option on Avila with a $200K buyout. Even if the option were to be declined, he’d still be under control via arbitration.

Here’s more from the AL Central…

  • MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian discusses a wide variety of offseason- and 2015-related topics in his latest Indians Inbox piece, including Francisco Lindor. Bastian writes that he would be “shocked” if Lindor wasn’t with the team next season, but given the notable step back he took in terms of his K/BB numbers at Triple-A and a lack of seasoning at that level, Lindor is probably headed for the minors to open the year. The defensively gifted Jose Ramirez will likely be ticketed to open the season as Cleveland’s shortstop.
  • Also from Bastian, he notes that if Lindor is indeed expected to be Triple-A bound to start the season, it makes sense for the team to exercise Mike Aviles‘ $3.5MM club option. Bastian downplayed the idea of Josh Tomlin as a non-tender candidate due to his modest salary and remaining options, and he also touched on the future of Lonnie Chisenhall, noting that third base is one of the most logical areas of upgrade for Cleveland.
  • Left-handed power will be a priority for the White Sox this winter, writes Bruce Levine of 670thescore.com. Levine runs down a list of potential targets for the ChiSox, headlined by Victor Martinez but also including Melky Cabrera, Adam LaRoche and Pablo Sandoval. LaRoche is a bit of a reach to me given the presence of Jose Abreu and LaRoche’s reputation as a solid defensive first baseman. Levine notes that he spoke to a Tigers source that indicated the team would do “whatever it could” to bring back Martinez for 2015 and beyond — and that’s not the first time a reporter has gotten that vibe from Detroit; ESPN’s Buster Olney heard something similar earlier in the month.

White Sox Notes: Payroll, Second Base, Montas

Here’s the latest from the South Side of Chicago…

  • Jose Abreu, Chris Sale and Jose Quintana will combine for (at most) $16.445MM in salary in 2015, a huge bargain for three star players that has left the White Sox with plenty of payroll space, CSN Chicago’s Dan Hayes writes.  Quintana and Sale’s contracts, in particular, looks like very shrewd investments for the Sox at this point.  Sale, for his part, has no regrets about signing his extension in March 2013 since it allows the team to acquire more talent.  “With them being able to do that and have pieces of the puzzle and still a little money in the bank, they can kind of assemble guys around us to do the same things,” Sale said.
  • Marcus Semien, Carlos Sanchez and Micah Johnson will be competing for second base job in the spring, and ESPN’s Doug Padilla doubts all three players will still be with the team by Opening Day.  Padilla figures one of the trio could be dealt for a reliever, or could be part of a package in a larger trade.
  • In a look at notable Arizona Fall League prospects, ESPN’s Keith Law (Insider subscription required) praised White Sox righty Francellis Montas, who joined the organization as part of the Jake Peavy trade in July 2013.  Montas, 21, posted a 1.44 ERA, 8.9 K/9 and 3.64 K/BB rate over a combined 81 innings at rookie ball, high-A ball and Double-A in 2014, and Law said Montas’ fastball touched 102 mph in a recent instructional league game.
  • Law also had good things to say about the White Sox farm system in general, saying this is the strongest Chicago’s system has been in the six years he’s been working for ESPN.  Law hinted that four White Sox minor leaguers are slated for his next top-100 prospect list.

AL Central Notes: Sox, Indians, Tigers’ Bullpen

Though the White Sox weren’t in a position to add veterans on short-term deals last offseason, GM Rick Hahn feels that with the club closer to contention, that’s an avenue worth exploring, writes Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com. “We’re never going to move our eye from those long-term targets being a priority,” Hahn said. “At the same time, we may be in a position where some shorter-term deals with some veteran-type players might make some sense in order to get this team closer to where we want to be.” The additions of Jose Abreu and Adam Eaton, the progression of Jose Quintana, and the selection of Carlos Rodon in last year’s draft have all accelerated Chicago’s timeline to contend again. Hayes feels that an outfielder and/or DH would make sense, and he also mentions the bullpen. I think they could look to upgrade behind the dish as well, as Tyler Flowers whiffed at a 36 percent clip last season and is a long shot (to say the least) to repeat his .355 batting average on balls in play. MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes recently provided a preview of Chicago’s upcoming offseason.

More from the AL Central…

  • Once arbitration numbers and league-minimum players are accounted for, the Indians project to have $72-75MM committed to the 2015 roster, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian writes in his most recent inbox piece. The team has typically operated in the $80-85MM payroll range, so there’s some degree of financial flexibility. However, Bastian notes that with the large number of contracts spread around the team, Cleveland is limited as to where and how it can upgrade what was a stagnant second-half offense. He feels that third base and right field are the most logical areas to target, noting that the trade market may be “more opportunistic” for the Indians this offseason.
  • The Tigers will look to upgrade on a bullpen that melted down and, in the estimation of many, cost them their season in the playoffs, writes James Schmel of MLive.com. However, he cautions not to expect a new closer in 2015. There’s a “strong chance” that the team will exercise Joakim Soria‘s $7MM club option, Schmel writes, and he also notes that Joe Nathan, Al Alburquerque, Bruce Rondon, Blaine Hardy, Kyle Lobstein and Luke Putkonen are expected back. Joba Chamberlain, Phil Coke, Jim Johnson and Joel Hanrahan are likely on the outs. Schmel lists some speculative bullpen targets for Detroit, including Luke Gregerson, Andrew Miller, Neal Cotts and Pat Neshek, and as he notes, the Tigers have been linked to Gregerson in the past and nearly reacquired Miller this past July.


AL Central Notes: Anderson, Tomas, Sox, Cabrera

Twins pitching coach Rick Anderson will not be back with the team next year, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. According to Rosenthal’s source, Anderson informed GM Terry Ryan that he wouldn’t return once Ron Gardenhire was ousted as manager. However, John Shipley of the St. Paul Pioneer Press spoke with Anderson directly, who went on the record with a different story, saying he didn’t quit, but just assumed he was out once Gardenhire was dismissed. “It’s been a tough four years,” Anderson tells Shipley. “I understand where they’re coming from. Maybe they need someone new. I imagine the new guy will want someone new. It’s not like I’m saying, ‘I’m out,’ I’m just assuming that will be the case.” However the scenario truly played out, it does appear certain that the Twins will have a new pitching coach for the first time in 13 years next season.

Here’s more from the AL Central…

  • The Twins have expressed interest in arranging a private workout for slugging Cuban outfielder Yasmany Tomas, reports Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN (Twitter link). The news comes as a bit of a surprise, because as I noted in yesterday’s Offseason Outlook for the Twins, the team has never shown a willingness to approach the dollars Tomas figures to command. However, the team does have a need in the outfield.
  • White Sox GM Rick Hahn spoke with Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times earlier this week and offered several glimpses into the South Siders’ upcoming offseason. “Long-term targets are priority,” the GM said when asked whether the Sox would be players on the free agent market before softening his stance a bit. “We may be in position where shorter-term deals for veteran players might make sense.” The bullpen will be a target for the Sox this winter, and while Hahn isn’t opposed to signing or trading for an established ninth-inning arm, he said he’s never much bought into the “proven closer” concept: “The overall goal for the bullpen is to have multiple options from potentially the right and left side, many of which could be end-game options. I’ve never been of the mindset that somebody has to be the closer. It’s not an ideal way to deploy what should be your best reliever.”
  • ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick hears from multiple sources that Miguel Cabrera‘s comments about not wanting his postseason bonus money were made in jest, and the Tigers slugger will indeed sign the paperwork to receive his money. As USA Today reported Tuesday, Cabrera stated that he wouldn’t sign and didn’t care about the money, as he “just want[ed] the ring.”

Offseason Outlook: Chicago White Sox

After a fourth place finish in the AL Central, the White Sox will supplement their bullpen, and perhaps add reinforcements at left field, designated hitter, catcher, and in the rotation.

Guaranteed Contracts

Arbitration Eligible Players (service time in parentheses; projections via Matt Swartz)

Contract Options

Free Agents

It was another summer of trading away veterans for the White Sox, as GM Rick Hahn dealt Gordon Beckham, Alejandro De Aza, and Adam Dunn in a span of 11 days at the end of August.  The exact return on Beckham won’t be determined until the offseason, but Hahn did acquire a solid pitching prospect for Dunn in Nolan Sanburn.

It was an ugly campaign, but the 2014 season did provide Chicago clarity at several key positions.  Most importantly, 2013 signing Jose Abreu looks like a huge bargain after posting MVP-caliber numbers in his rookie MLB season.  Also, center fielder Adam Eaton established himself with a quality year worth 2.8 wins above replacement.

While the player acquired alongside Eaton from Arizona, Matt Davidson, remained in Triple-A and took a step backward, the Sox still found a solid stopgap at the hot corner in 27-year-old Conor Gillaspie.  Gillaspie fits on the strong side of a platoon, and could match up with Marcus Semien again.

Avisail Garcia is the incumbent in right field after missing much of 2014 due to a shoulder injury.  Just 23, Garcia could take a leap forward in 2015.  Tyler Flowers had a passable season as the starting catcher, but struck out a ton and could easily see his average back around the Mendoza line in 2015.  The Sox could pony up for Russell Martin, but Hahn should be proactive in attempting to find a quality backstop via trade.  The Yankees are probably the team with the most depth at the position, in terms of long-term catchers.

25-year-old Dayan Viciedo declined to a .231/.281/.405 line, and does not look like a long-term piece for Chicago.  He could be non-tendered or traded.  Should Hahn turn to the free agent market to fill left field, options include Melky Cabrera, Nelson Cruz, and Mike Morse.  Nori Aoki, Michael Cuddyer, Torii Hunter, and Nick Markakis haven’t generally played the position, but could be considered.  The Rays’ Matt Joyce could be a trade option, and the Dodgers’ outfield surplus remains unresolved.  The most intriguing choice would be young Cuban corner outfielder Yasmany Tomas, with whom Abreu is familiar.  The problem is that Abreu’s success reset the Cuban market such that Tomas’ price tag could be in the $100MM range.  The White Sox have not been connected to Tomas in any notable way thus far.

The White Sox have finally gotten Adam Dunn off the books, and in August Bruce Levine of CBSChicago.com wrote that stealing Victor Martinez away from the Tigers tops Chicago’s offseason wish list.  The Sox fell just short of signing Martinez four years ago, leading to their deal with Dunn.  Martinez, who had a monster offensive 2014 season few saw coming, turns 36 in December and now spends the majority of his time as a designated hitter.  Martinez would represent a fairly risky win-now signing for the Sox, but the switch-hitter would make a fantastic tandem with Abreu in 2015 as he did with Miguel Cabrera in Detroit.  The Carlos Beltran deal should be Martinez’s floor, and the Sox would have to forfeit their second-round draft pick.

Trades for Alexei Ramirez could be entertained, though he still has value to the White Sox.  He’s under contract for 2015 and has a club option for ’16, and could make a nice bridge to hopeful shortstop of the future Tim Anderson.  Anderson, the team’s first-round pick in 2013, missed nearly two months with a broken wrist but still received a surprise promotion to Double-A.  With Beckham gone, second base next figures to be a competition, with Micah Johnson, Marcus Semien, and Carlos Sanchez in the mix.

In the rotation, Chris Sale’s dominance continued and Jose Quintana had a quietly excellent campaign.  John Danks ate innings at the back end, if nothing else.  Hector Noesi, claimed off waivers from the Rangers in April, posted a 4.43 ERA in 27 starts for the Sox.  The team is missing at least one more above average starting pitcher, and they could have it soon in 2014 first-round pick Carlos Rodon.  Rodon finished the season at Triple-A and has a chance to break camp in 2015 in the big league rotation.

The Paulino experiment was a bust, though the Sox spent very little on him.  To reduce the risk of dipping heavily into the team’s No. 6-8 starters, the Sox should at least add a project arm or two for depth.

The White Sox bullpen struggled in 2014, putting up a 4.28 ERA that was second-to-last in the American League.  Jake Petricka and Zach Putnam filled the ninth inning void after the offseason trade of Addison Reed, injuries to Matt Lindstrom and Nate Jones, and ineffectiveness from Ronald Belisario (a likely non-tender candidate).  Petricka, Putnam, and Daniel Webb were able to keep the ball on the ground, but failed to miss bats.  Jones underwent Tommy John surgery in July, so he’s a non-factor for 2015 even if the Sox tender him a contract.  The bullpen is a clear area of upgrade for Hahn, who told MLB.com’s Scott Merkin in September, “The overall goal of the bullpen is going to be to acquire multiple options, potentially from the right and left side … many of which could be end-game options for us.”  Even if Chicago decides to pass on top free agent reliever David Robertson, the market offers a wide array of quality options.

Hahn used the word “aggressive” multiple times regarding the upcoming offseason, as reported by MLB.com’s Scott Merkin.  An aggressive approach makes sense, with Abreu, Sale, and Quintana currently so affordable.  The Sox have about $46MM in contract commitments for 2015, plus maybe another $6MM if they retain Flowers, Noesi, Jones, and Guerra.  Hahn could have around $40MM to play with in 2015 salaries without raising payroll, enough to add multiple significant free agents.

Though 2014 didn’t go as planned, the Sox received star-caliber performances from Abreu, Sale, and Quintana and quality seasons from Eaton and Gillaspie.  There seems to be much offseason work to do to vault this team into contention, with the wish list including a retooled bullpen, an effective bat or two, and added rotation depth.

Note: there is some question as to Javy Guerra’s official service time.  MLB’s calculation of 2.133 would make him a likely Super Two player, but his contract being selected (at least publicly) on May 20th suggests 2.128, which would fall short.


White Sox Outright Frank De Los Santos

The White Sox announced that they have outrighted left-hander Frank De Los Santos to Triple-A, dropping their 40-man roster to 39 (Twitter link).

Chicago acquired the 26-year-old De Los Santos from the Rays last September in exchange for cash considerations or a player to be named later. In his first season with the ChiSox, De Los Santos posted a 4.84 ERA with 4.2 K/9 and 3.8 BB/9 in 44 2/3 innings at Triple-A Charlotte. In parts of eight minor league seasons, the Dominican hurler has a 4.09 ERA with 5.8 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9 in 657 1/3 innings.

Many teams figure to follow suit and begin outrighting players over the coming weeks as they perform some 40-man roster maintenance to gear up for the offseason.


Rule 5 Draft Roundup

With the regular season in the books, it’s worth assessing how things ultimately shook out from last winter’s Rule 5 draft. Only nine players were taken in this year’s draft. Here’s where things stand:

Remember, players are eligible for the Rule 5 Draft if they aren’t on the 40-man roster four or five years after signing, depending on the age at which they signed. If a team makes a selection, it pays the former team $50K and must keep that player on the Major League roster all season or offer him back to his original team for $25K. (Note that Rule 5 selections can change hands like any other player, with an acquiring team stepping into the shoes of the original selecting club. Click here for more details.)

  • Patrick Schuster, LHP (taken first overall by the Astros from the Diamondbacks): Returned to Arizona. But not before a somewhat eventful tour. He was first dealt to the Padres, then placed on waivers and claimed by the Royals before finally being sent back. He never ended up throwing a big league inning, and ultimately struggled to 4.50 ERA in 18 frames at Triple-A once back with the D’backs.
  • Adrian Nieto, C (taken third overall by the White Sox from the Nationals): Retained by Chicago. The switch-hitting, 24-year-old backstop hung on all year, posting a .236/.296/.340 line in his first 118 MLB plate appearances. He is now White Sox property.
  • Kevin Munson, RHP (taken fourth overall by the Phillies from the Diamondbacks): Returned to Arizona. Munson never made it onto the active roster, and was sent back in mid-March. Though he never saw MLB action this year, he did post a rather dominant campaign at Triple-A: 2.60 ERA, 11.8 K/9, 3.2 BB/9.
  • Tommy Kahnle, RHP (taken eighth overall by the Rockies from the Yankees): Retained by Colorado. The 25-year-old was an oft-used bullpen piece for the Rockies, posting a 4.19 ERA in 68 2/3 frames with 8.3 K/9 against 4.1 BB/9. Colorado owns his rights moving forward.
  • Brian Moran, LHP (taken ninth overall by the Blue Jays from the Mariners): Still in limbo after season-ending surgery. Moran was dealt by Toronto to the Angels on the day of the draft, and opened the season DL’ed on the active roster. But his left elbow ultimately required Tommy John surgery, meaning that he ended up on the 60-day DL. The Halos do not yet own Moran’s rights permanently: to keep him, the club will need to carry him on the active roster without a DL stay for at least 90 days.
  • Seth Rosin, RHP (taken tenth overall by the Mets from the Phillies): Returned to Philadelphia. Dealt immediately after the draft to the Dodgers, Rosin was claimed by the Rangers late in the spring and made three appearances before his roster spot was needed and he was returned. Back at Triple-A with the Phillies, he worked to a 3.86 ERA over 58 1/3 rames.
  • Wei-Chung Wang, LHP (taken eleventh overall by the Brewers from the Pirates): Retained by Milwaukee. It took some doing, but a contending Brewers club was able to hold onto Wang for the entirety of the season. Though he did miss 45 games with a DL stint, Wang ultimately made only 14 appearances for the club. The 22-year-old will presumably be stretched out as a starter again as he returns to his development track in the lower minors.
  • Marcos Mateo, RHP (taken fifteenth overall by the Diamondbacks from the Cubs): Returned to Chicago. Mateo was the first player to be returned, heading back in mid-March. The 30-year-old threw to a 3.86 ERA in 37 1/3 innings upon his return to Triple-A with his original team.
  • Michael Almanzar, 3B (taken sixteenth overall by the Orioles from the Red Sox): Returned to Boston … but ultimately traded back to Baltimore. Shelved with injury for much of the year, Almanzar was returned to the Red Sox in the middle of the summer after a rehab stint. But the O’s obviously wanted him back, and added him as part of the Kelly Johnson deal. Over 233 minor league plate appearances on the year, Almanzar posted a .245/.322/.389 slash.

AL Central Notes: Moore, Twins, White Sox

With the Royals playing in the postseason for the first time in nearly three decades, general manager Dayton Moore has been validated, at least in part, writes ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick. The small-market club has stayed with the principles he carried into the job. As Moore explains it: “We’ve got to play defense. Power is expensive and power comes later, and our ballpark just isn’t conducive to home runs, anyway. So we asked ourselves, ‘What can we control?’ We said, ‘Let’s get pitchers who can command the fastball, try to have power in the bullpen and play great defense.’ Of course, we’re trying to develop good hitters, but hitting is tough.” Needless to say, that quote is an apt description of the Royals roster that is on the field tonight.

Here’s more from the AL Central:

  • The Twins have yet to finalize a payroll but expect it to remain steady with this year’s books, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports on Twitter. According to club president Dave St. Peter, he does not “see [payroll] going down significantly” and expects it will be “comparable to 2014.” The club opened this year with about $85MM in guarantees, and already owes nearly $60MM for 2015 before accounting for arb raises to several players, including Trevor Plouffe.
  • As the Twins fire up their effort to find a new manager, one possible name to watch is John Russell, tweets Peter Gammons of GammonsDaily.com. Russell managed the Pirates at an inopportune time (2008-10) and has coached with the Orioles since that time.
  • Meanwhile, GM Rick Hahn of the White Sox faces an offseason of many possibilities, but has yet to learn exactly how much cash he’ll have to work with, MLB.com’s Scott Merkin reports. Saying he intends to move toward contention as quickly as possible, Hahn emphasized that it is his “goal to address ideally all of what we feel are our needs, before they shift, as quickly as possible.” Though last winter was quite productive for Chicago, Hahn says he is excited to act aggressively again this year. As Merkin notes, Hahn should have some room to maneuver, as Chicago has only about $46MM in 2015 obligations on the books at present.

Projected Super Two Cutoff

The projected cutoff for Super Two status for this offseason’s arbitration class is looking like it’s going to come in at two years, 133 days of Major League service (written as 2.133), MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes hears (Twitter links). However, as he notes, there’s no official ruling on what this year’s cutoff will be. Before getting too much further into the fallout of this figure, let’s provide a quick refresher on what, exactly, Super Two status entails.

Players with at least three but less than six years of Major League service are considered arbitration eligible. Additionally, a player with at least two years but less than three is eligible for arbitration if he has accumulated at least 86 days of service during the immediately preceding season and ranks in the top 22 percent in total service in the two-to-three-years service class; these players are referred to as “Super Two” players. The current collective bargaining agreement, which went into effect December 12th, 2011, raised that Super Two cutoff percentage from 17 percent to 22 percent, and that 22 percent of players will be eligible for arbitration four times instead of the standard three times. Also bear in mind that for MLB purposes, 172 days is the equivalent of one year of Major League service time.

For some context on this year’s cutoff, here’s a look at the cutoffs from the previous five years:

  • 2013: 2.122
  • 2012: 2.139
  • 2011: 2.146
  • 2010: 2.122
  • 2009: 2.139

Astros infielder Marwin Gonzalez, who will finish with exactly 2.133 years of service, will be the last from the two-to-three-year service class to qualify for the distinction if this cutoff holds. One additional fallout for the White Sox is that the salaries of Jose Quintana will escalate. The southpaw signed a five-year, $21MM contract prior to this season, but his contract contains a clause that causes the guarantee to grow to $26.5MM if he qualifies as a Super Two. Quintana had projected to earn $1MM in 2015, $3.8MM in 2016, $6MM in 2017 and $8.35MM in 2018 with $10.5MM club options for 2019 and 2020 (each with a $1MM buyout). Those salaries will rise to $3.4MM, $5.4MM, $7MM and $8.85MM, respectively. The options will remain unchanged.

Others who looked like candidates early in the season, such as Eduardo Escobar of the Twins, Drew Hutchison of the Blue Jays and DJ LeMahieu of the Rockies would fall just shy of the distinction. (Each of those candidates was identified as a possible Super Two player in our last look at the projected Super Two cutoff back in April.)


Reactions To And Fallout From Ron Gardenhire’s Dismissal

The Twins shook up the organization earlier today by announcing that Ron Gardenhire would be replaced as manager. Gardenhire was one of the game’s longest-tenured managers (13 years), and perhaps more incredibly, his departure will ignite the Twins’ first managerial search since 1986. I’d expect both Paul Molitor and Terry Steinbach to be among the team’s internal candidates, though the search will of course feature some outside candidates as well.

Here are some reactions to the move…

  • Brian Dozier tells Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press that he was “shocked” by the news of Gardenhire’s dismissal. “Everybody in that clubhouse had so much respect and love for Gardy,” said Dozier. “It’s pretty saddening.” Trevor Plouffe tweets that he has “nothing but the utmost respect” for Gardenhire and the rest of the staff.
  • Berardino spoke to a source close to longtime American League Central rival Ozzie Guillen and was told that Guillen would have a great deal of interest in managing the Twins (Twitter links). The source described Guillen as “very interested” and “very hungry,” noting that he knows the AL Central and wants to get back into the game.
  • Berardino also tweets that a person with direct knowledge of the situation tells him that Molitor would “possibly” have interest in the manager’s role if offered to him, but that isn’t a slam dunk.
  • Ryan called the move the toughest decision he’s had to make in his tenure as a general manager at today’s press conference, noting that he considers Gardenhire to be his brother more than his manager. Ryan also noted that the contracts of the team’s coaching staff run through Dec. 31, so those contracts are in limbo until the new manager can make a decision. Gardenhire said at the conference that he isn’t burned out at all and would consider another managerial opportunity if he felt it were right for him and his family (All Twitter links to MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger).
  • In a full article, Neal writes that a source tells him Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo and White Sox third base coach Joe McEwing are both names to watch. Neal speculates that other names such as Cardinals third base coach Jose Oquendo and Rays bench coach Dave Martinez could surface as well. Neal also speculates, much like Berardino and others have recently, that Twins bench coach Terry Steinbach could be a fit in Arizona due to his ties to Tony La Russa and new GM Dave Stewart.
  • Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times opines that if and when the Cubs decide they want a “next level” manager for their rebuilding process, Gardenhire should be the first phone call placed by president Theo Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer (Twitter link).
  • Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports feels that Gardenhire should’ve been given a chance to oversee the next wave of young talent in the Twins organization, but he’s not surprised to see the team seek a new voice following another 90-loss season. He notes that Gardenhire could immediately pursue another managerial job, with current openings with the D’Backs, Rangers and Astros. He also notes that it’s possible the Brewers will fire Ron Roenicke, so Gardenhire could fit there also.