Jon Daniels Rumors
Credit Dodgers' scouting director Logan White for ensuring that Clayton Kershaw's big league successes have come in a Dodger uniform, says Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times. The club had targeted Kershaw and Evan Longoria in the 2006 draft, but were worried that neither would last until the team's seventh overall pick. Several pieces had to fall into place: Luke Hochevar failed to sign in 2005, leading to his being taken first overall the next year. Meanwhile, with many scouts on hand for the last pre-draft starts of Kershaw and Brad Lincoln, the former struggled while the latter dominated. Lincoln went fourth overall to the Pirates. According to White, with Longoria already off the board to the Rays, the Dodgers "were hoping and praying Clayton would get to us." That's just what happened: consensus top arm Andrew Miller fell, perhaps owing to signabilty concerns, and was nabbed by the Tigers at number six, leaving Kershaw for L.A. The decision to take Kershaw caused some initial consternation when Tim Lincecum, taken with the tenth pick by the rival Giants, began his career with a bang. Now, of course, the Dodgers (and their fans) could not be more pleased with their selection. Here are a few more notes from the leagues' western divisions:
- With the Rockies off to an up-and-down start, the Denver Post's Woody Paige has some harsh words for the team's ownership and management. He says that, with a top-12 attendance but a bottom-7 payroll, the club appears "content to produce a .500 team." Among the decisions Paige disagrees with are the team's apparent intention to rely on veteran pitchers like Roy Oswalt and Jon Garland while former top prospect Drew Pomeranz toils in Triple-A and Tyler Chatwood bounces between the minors and the big club. He also faults the club for going with the now-departed Chris Nelson and Reid Brignac instead of bringing up Nolan Arenado and DJ LeMahieu to start the season. He warns that the Rockies could be in danger of losing the affections of stars Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez. Unhappy superstars can always cause problems by demanding a trade, of course, but it is worth noting that Colorado has no immediate need to sell its shortstop and left fielder on staying in town. Tulowitzki is inked through at least 2020 (with a 2021 club option), while Gonzalez is under contract through 2017.
- Despite four starters on the disabled list, the Rangers lead the American League in ERA (3.38). Richard Justice of MLB.com writes that the success of the pitching staff is attributable to GM Jon Daniels's efforts to create a deep, talented organization. Likewise, Justice praises Daniels's confidence to enter the season without prior stalwarts Michael Young, Josh Hamilton, Mike Napoli, Mike Adams, and Koji Uehara, and to bring in veterans Lance Berkman and A.J. Pierzynski on one-year deals. The 37-year-old Berkman, in particular, has hit .299/.422/.465 in 154 plate appearances as the club's primary DH.
- Astros GM Jeff Luhnow says it is still too early for the club to narrow down its likely pick with the first choice in the upcoming amateur draft, tweets Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle. The club will likely have more clarity when it conducts staff meetings in early June, Smith further tweets.
- As the Astros gear up for an important draft, the club is holding a series of four regional player workouts, writes Brian McTaggart of MLB.com. According to scouting director Mike Elias, the workouts will allow the club to "get up close and personal with the process and see some guys further down the list." He further notes that the process was utilized with success by the Cardinals: "It really helps those players get drafted and helps us make better decisions in the draft."
- Meanwhile, Houston is beginning to see returns from its efforts to develop a pipeline of talent from the Dominican Republic. According to another tweet from Smith, Luhnow is excited about the first Dominican prospect that the club's efforts produced. Jose Cisnero, a right-hander that was originally signed in 2007, checked in at fifteenth on Baseball America's ranking of the club's prospects and has been pitching from the club's bullpen this year.
The Angels are on the lookout for a backup catcher, Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com writes, confirming an earlier report by Danny Knobler of CBS (on Twitter). Hank Conger is currently slated to back up Chris Iannetta, Gonzalez notes, but Conger has struggled with his throwing this spring. Luke Carlin and John Hester are also technically candidates for the backup job, but both are minor-league veterans with limited big-league experience. The Pirates, Phillies and Rays are also reportedly in the market for catching. Here are more notes from around the AL West.
- The Rangers' Jon Daniels says he doesn't know of Nolan Ryan's plans, but that he "can't eliminate" the possibility that Ryan might leave the organization after its recent front office shakeup clouded his future with the team. Daniels' comments came in an interview with Norm Hitzges on KTCK-AM 1310 The Ticket, transcribed by the Dallas Morning News. Daniels says that the Rangers' baseball operations "have a really good thing going," and that he doesn't want Ryan to leave. Speculation about Ryan's role as CEO of the Rangers began when Daniels was promoted to president of baseball operations/GM and Rick George was promoted to president of business operations.
- Scouts have been watching Rangers prospect Mike Olt, who doesn't currently have a position with the Rangers, but that doesn't mean Texas is likely to move him, MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan writes. Olt has not hit well this spring, but Sullivan notes that manager Ron Washington has been impressed with Olt's defense in right field. Olt hit .288/.398/.579 for Double-A Frisco in 2012 and had a cameo in the big leagues, but has not yet played at the Triple-A level.
- The Mariners will need to decide what to do with pitcher Jon Garland, who appears to have an out clause in his contract that he can exercise next week, Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times writes. Garland missed much of 2011 and all of 2012 with shoulder trouble.
- Mariners hurler Lucas Luetge is in a different position than he was in 2012 after spending the year in the majors as a Rule 5 draft pick, Greg Johns of MLB.com reports. Unlike last year, when Luetge's Rule 5 status meant he had to stay on the Mariners' 25-man roster the entire season, the Mariners have the option of sending Luetge to the minors. Luetge kept his head above water in 2012 despite having never before pitched above Double-A, posting a 3.98 ERA with 8.4 K/9 and 5.3 BB/9 in 40.2 big-league innings.
One American League executive told Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com that he'd be talking to Mike Trout about a "crazy-long deal" if he were running the Angels. Castrovince considers some possible comparables for extension talks, concluding that it probably makes sense for the Angels to wait before extending Trout. His leverage is high right now, even though he's arguably the best bargain in MLB.
Here are some more notes from the AL West...
- The Rangers announced that Jon Daniels has been promoted to president of baseball operations/general manager. Daniels, who became the club's GM in 2005, will still report to CEO Nolan Ryan.
- Daniels told Scott Miller of CBSSports.com that he's intent on being more than "the team that used to be good.” The Rangers lost Mike Napoli, Josh Hamilton and Ryan Dempster to free agency, but Daniels isn't worried about the transition. “You've got to keep moving forward and not be afraid of change,” Daniels said. The GM explained the importance of depth and noted that being the best team on paper doesn’t guarantee success.
- The Rangers are among the teams still interested in free agent infielder Ryan Theriot, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter). However, Theriot continues looking for more playing time.
- Mariners right-hander Felix Hernandez recently established a new record for starting pitchers, signing a seven-year, $175MM contract. Hernandez told Heyman that he expects Clayton Kershaw will be the one to break the record because "he's a little younger" than other top pitchers. Hernandez suggested that Justin Verlander "might get the money, but less years.'' The Mariners ace said he helped other pitchers a bit, adding that he won't mind when another pitcher breaks his record.
Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo has delivered three game-winning RBIs in his five games since being called up from Triple-A last week. Here's the latest news and headlines from around the big leagues...
- The Rangers will take a business-as-usual approach to the upcoming trade deadline meaning Jon Daniels and his associates plan to consider the best players available, writes Evan Grant of The Dallas Morning News. Daniels hopes his team will benefit from getting four pitchers back from the disabled list before the end of the month. "... I’m hoping we’re not big players at the deadline. Hopefully, we get our guys back, get healthy and stay healthy. That’s the biggest thing."
- The Phillies will make at least one more attempt to sign Cole Hamels to a long-term contract before the team fully commits to dealing the left-hander, reports Buster Olney of ESPN.com (via Twitter). As mentioned earlier today, opposing clubs believe Philadelphia has an asking price of four to five prospects for Hamels, which makes a deal unlikely at this point. The 28-year-old was selected for his third All-Star team on Sunday after posting a 3.08 ERA with 9.0 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9 through 16 starts this season.
- Dodgers star Matt Kemp remains confident in his team's ability to be successful on the field after Los Angeles' deal with the Astros for Carlos Lee fell through on Sunday, says Alex Angert of MLB.com. "It's always good to get people to make your team better," Kemp said. "I don't know exactly what people think we need. We did a great job with what we have here. If we get somebody, that's good. But if we don't, it keeps going on and we have to keep playing the way we have in the first half."
- The Rays, depleted by a series of injuries, will determine how they approach the trade deadline based upon the health of Evan Longoria and Matt Joyce, writes Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. If Longoria and Joyce return from the disabled list shortly after the All-Star break, it would free up the Rays to bolster their weak spots at catcher and shortstop. More likely, Tampa Bay will pursue an offensive weapon that adds power to the lineup, such as Cubs outfielder Alfonso Soriano, who has 15 home runs since May 15.
The Rangers agreed to a four-year contract extension with GM Jon Daniels, according to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (on Twitter). Daniels' contract was set to expire after the 2011 season and his new deal covers the 2012-15 seasons.
Daniels, who took over as GM in 2005, saw the Rangers increase their win total in each of the past three years. Baseball America named Daniels the 2010 Executive of the Year after he overhauled the Rangers' farm system and led the team to its first ever World Series berth.
The Rangers' eighth GM, Daniels became the youngest GM in MLB history when he was promoted into his current role a month after his 28th birthday. For a more complete look at Daniels' work, click through to MLBTR's Transaction Tracker.
The Rangers are interested in exploring extensions for a number of their players, as well.
The Rangers are negotiating a contract extension with general manager Jon Daniels, writes Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com.
Rangers president Nolan Ryan said on Jan. 20 that he expects Daniels' extension to be finalized before Spring Training, Durrett notes.
Daniels' current contract, negotiated with former Rangers owner Tom Hicks, expires after the 2011 season. That contract includes an opt-out clause in the event that ownership changed hands -- which it did -- but Daniels has insisted that he's happy with the Rangers and wants to remain with them.
Daniels was the youngest GM in baseball history at 28 when he originally signed on with Texas following the 2005 season. He has helped bring the organization to prominence, culminating in a World Series berth in 2010.
For a comprehensive look at all of Daniels' moves as a GM, check out our Transaction Tracker.
- Jon Daniels called a report indicating that he asked the Mets (through back channels) to hold off on their GM announcement until after the World Series "complete bull," according to CBSSports.com's Scott Miller. Daniels can opt out of his contract after the season since the Rangers were sold this year.
- Hisanori Takahashi switched agents from Peter Greenberg to Arn Tellem, tweets Newday's David Lennon. We learned that Takashi and the Mets were discussing an extension just a few days ago, but it appears that the lefty is positioning himself to test the free agent waters.
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post says the "belief in the sport" is that Josh Byrnes will join the Padres' front office after losing out on the Mets GM gig. Byrnes has strong ties to San Diego's front office, most notably owner Jeff Moorad.
- Peter Abraham of The Boston Globe wonders if the Tigers and Red Sox are getting ready to battle for the same free agents in a few weeks.
- The Yankees have had internal discussions about how much money they'd be willing to offer Cliff Lee, according to Jack Curry of the YES Network.
- The Cubs outrighted Jeff Gray to Triple A, so he’s no longer on the team’s 40-man roster. The 28-year-old righty struggled through 9.1 big league innings this year.
- Alex Speier of WEEI.com explains that the Red Sox will have trouble finding another pitching coach like John Farrell, the new Blue Jays manager.
- Omar Minaya isn't sure whether he'll stay with the Mets, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (on Twitter). Heyman says there's a decent chance Minaya returns, since he gets along well with owner Fred Wilpon and incoming GM Sandy Alderson.
Sandy Alderson is "the overwhelming favorite" to become the next Mets GM, writes Mike Puma of the New York Post. A source with knowledge of the hiring process told Puma Alderson is "close to a slam dunk" for the position. His source adds that Alderson has the votes of Jeff and Fred Wilpon and only needs the approval of team president Saul Katz. Puma speculates that Alderson's hiring could be announced on Friday, a World Series travel day.
Andy Martino of the New York Daily News agrees that Alderson is the favorite and also speculates on a Friday announcement. Martino says Rangers GM Jon Daniels is no longer being considered for the Mets job.
Alderson, 63 next month, served as GM of the Athletics from 1983 through the 1997. He later worked in the commissioner's office and for the Padres.
Some links to check out as Cody Ross attempts to follow up yesterday's two-home run performance and the Phillies look to even the score...
- Speaking of Ross, Andrew Baggarly of The Mercury News reports that Giants GM Brian Sabean left a "clear impression" before tonight's game that the outfielder will be tendered a contract this offseason.
- Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe tweets that Red Sox bench coach DeMarlo Hale is getting a second interview for the Blue Jays managerial position.
- SI.com's Jon Heyman tweets that the Mets have been "asking around" about Rangers GM Jon Daniels, and things could get interesting. Daniels can opt out of his contract after the season since the team was sold.
- Steve Popper of The Bergen Record says that the Mets might not be making the popular choices right now, especially with Francisco Rodriguez, Oliver Perez, Carlos Beltran, and Luis Castillo, but they're the right moves.
- Popper also reports that the Tigers denied the Mets permission to talk to assistant GM Al Avila about their GM vacancy.
- ESPN's Buster Olney tweets that Eric Young will be named the D'Backs first base coach later this week. In a second tweet, he says Eric Wedge's former pitching coach Carl Willis will likely play a big role on his new staff in Seattle.
- Despite the expected heavy interest from the Yankees and Rangers, Michael Silverman from the Boston Herald thinks the Red Sox should make a serious run at Cliff Lee.
- In the second page of that same article, Silverman quotes an unnamed executive in saying that a package consisting of Jacoby Ellsbury, Jed Lowrie, and prospect Anthony Rizzo wouldn't be enough to pry Adrian Gonzalez away from the Padres. He speculates the names that would be mentioned next would include Casey Kelly and Jose Iglesias.
- Roch Kubatko of MASN Sports says it makes more sense for the Orioles to trade for a middle-of-the-lineup hitter and an ace starter than seek one in free agency, and asks readers whether or not the O's should pursue Zack Greinke. In his blog post earlier today, ESPN's Buster Olney didn't see Baltimore as a fit for the Kansas City ace.
- Reduced payroll will force the Rays into some tough decisions, writes Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times. As Topkin points out, nearly the entire bullpen is entering free agency. Rafael Soriano, Grant Balfour, Randy Choate, Joaquin Benoit, and Chad Qualls are only signed through 2010, while Dan Wheeler's $4MM option will be declined and Lance Cormier could be non-tendered. Balfour and Choate are most likely to return, while Benoit will likely look to capitalize on his monster season.
- Richard Griffin from the Toronto Star spoke with Phillies bench coach Pete Mackanin, who could be a candidate for the Jays' managerial opening, about the difficulty of getting a foot in the door as a manager. As Griffin says, part of the reason they continue to interview candidates while other teams are filling their managerial positions could be because they have a high level of interest in someone like Mackanin, whose team is still playing.
- The Phillies' worst nightmare isn't losing to the Giants in the NLCS or losing to the Yankees in the World Series, according FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal. It's going to the World Series and facing the ace they traded away last offseason, who now sports a Rangers uniform -- Cliff Lee.
Links for Wednesday, in the lull before the Yankees and Rangers face off in Texas on Friday...
- White Sox assistant GM Rick Hahn interviewed for the Mets GM position yesterday, and Kenny Williams told Dan Martin of the New York Post, "I know I'm gonna lose him, and it's gonna be a heavy blow." Williams explained that Hahn has been picky with previous opportunities. Josh Byrnes was scheduled to interview for the Mets job today.
- The Mets won't be plucking Jon Daniels from the Rangers. Owner Chuck Greenberg told Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, "He's not going anywhere" (Twitter links). Greenberg also spoke to ESPN's Richard Durrett about his desire to retain Cliff Lee, after the lefty's dominant start last night gave the Rangers their first playoff series win.
- Jim Edmonds told Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "I'm kind of in wait-and-see mode right now" in terms of playing next year. Edmonds expressed his desire to land a backup first baseman gig for 2011.
- Talking about his next contract, Jose Bautista told Morgan Campbell of the Toronto Star, "The differences of $50,000 or $100,000 may not seem huge but it’s actually really stressful when you’re about to commit." For much more on Bautista's arbitration case, check out Ben Nicholson-Smith's article from earlier today.
- RotoAuthority explains why Homer Bailey is a fantasy baseball sleeper for next year.