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- Yasmany Tomas Declared Free Agent
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The arbitration order regarding Mid-Atlantic Sports Network television rights fees that is now the subject of litigation between the Nationals and Orioles would deliver about $300MM in payments to the Nationals over the five years, as James Wagner of the Washington Post writes. Documents filed in court show the structure of the award, which spanned the 2012-16 seasons and therefore would have both retroactive and going-forward impact. Beginning with an approximately $53MM payout for 2012, the award escalated to $66MM in 2016.
While that matter goes through the court process, let’s round up the news of the day:
- In other television money news, the Cubs are sending signals that the team could be lining up for an earlier-than-expected cash boost, as Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com reports. The club has an unusual split of its TV rights, the more important part of which is not up for negotiation for some time, but seemingly could be lining up a means of unlocking some revenue ahead of schedule. (Of course, the now-underway Wrigley Field renovations have long been pitched as the key to the team’s anticipated return to big spending.) “We haven’t reached that next level yet where the payroll’s going to significantly increase,” said president of baseball operations Theo Epstein. “The TV deal is really the magic bullet, the paradigm-shifter that’s going to put us in a whole new level.”
- The Mariners had a deal in place with Nelson Cruz last winter before ownership nixed the idea, Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune reports. Cruz was set to sign for a relatively meager $7.5MM or so, while giving the team an attractive option in the $9MM range. Though the magnitude of Cruz’s production this year is surprising, that deal — and, especially, the upside conveyed via the option — sure look good in retrospect, especially for a Seattle club that fell one win out of a postseason slot. It is strange that Seattle did not follow through with the contract for several reasons. With a protected first round pick, the Mariners gave up their second pick to sign Robinson Cano, meaning that Cruz wouldn’t have hurt much in that area. And the team ultimately committed $7MM to Corey Hart.
- Nationals assistant GM Bryan Minniti has left the team, as Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported on Twitter. Minniti said he felt it was time for a change, as James Wagner of the Washington Post reports. Indeed, he could be preparing to enter another field of work entirely. GM Mike Rizzo made clear in a statement that Minniti was an integral part of the organization’s rise over the last five years.
- The Twins could use Danny Santana at short or in center next year, GM Terry Ryan tells Darren Woolfson of 1500 ESPN (Twitter link). That flexibility will presumably open up some additional possibilities for Minnesota. The 23-year-old had a stunning debut, putting up a .824 OPS that dwarfed anything he had done across seven minor league seasons.
Previous experience is no longer the most important criterion for teams deciding on new managers, Phil Miller of the Star Tribune writes. “There are managers who are in the postseason right now who didn’t have one game of experience as manager,” says Twins GM Terry Ryan. A number of recent hirees have had little or no previous managerial experience, including Mike Matheny of the Cardinals and Brad Ausmus of the Tigers. It sounds like the Twins might not prioritize experience in their search for a manager, either. The Twins have recently interviewed Paul Molitor and Doug Mientkiewicz, neither of whom have been big-league managers, although Mientkiewicz has managed in the minors. Here are more notes from the American League.
- The Red Sox might end up regretting trading John Lackey to the Cardinals, Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal writes. Lackey had an option for 2015 at the league minimum salary due to an elbow injury, and that made him very valuable. But Allen Craig and Joe Kelly, who the Red Sox received in return, have been disappointing, or at least questionable. Craig hit just .128/.234/.191 in 107 plate appearances in Boston. Kelly had a respectable 4.11 ERA in 61 1/3 innings, but with 6.0 K/9 and a very high 4.7 BB/9.
- The Tigers, who were eliminated from the playoffs on Sunday, are now “expensive, star-laden and old,” Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes. The Tigers have gone to the playoffs the last four seasons, but they’ve fallen short of a World Series victory each time, and now they have Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera signed to long and potentially onerous contracts.
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.”
After an extended run atop the AL Central last decade, the Twins turned in their fourth consecutive 90-loss season and saw many of their top prospects sidelined by injury.
- Joe Mauer, 1B: $92MM through 2018
- Ricky Nolasco, RHP: $37MM through 2017
- Glen Perkins, LHP: $18.15MM through 2017
- Phil Hughes, RHP: $16MM through 2016
- Kurt Suzuki, C: $12MM through 2016
- Mike Pelfrey, RHP: $5.5MM through 2015
Arbitration Eligible Players (service time in parentheses; projections via Matt Swartz)
- Trevor Plouffe, 3B, (3.162): $4.3MM projected salary
- Tommy Milone, LHP, (2.164, Super Two): $2.8MM
- Brian Duensing, LHP, (5.104): $2.5MM
- Jordan Schafer, OF, (4.121): $1.5MM
- Anthony Swarzak, RHP, (4.038): $1.4MM
- Eduardo Nunez, SS/3B, (3.090): $1.2MM
- Casey Fien, RHP, (2.143, Super Two): $1.1MM
- Non-tender candidates: Duensing, Swarzak, Nunez
- Jared Burton, RHP: $3.6MM club option with $200K buyout
The Twins’ offseason began with what was a surprising move for many, given the team’s loyalty to its front office and coaching staff, as Ron Gardenhire was dismissed from his managerial role and offered another position within the organization. While Gardenhire weighs that decision, the coaching staff will look markedly different next season, as none of the coaches are guaranteed a spot in 2015. The coaching staff will be determined by the new manager and by GM Terry Ryan once Gardenhire’s successor is appointed. Paul Molitor is the primary internal candidate, though Terry Steinbach is another option. Other names floated from outside the organization have been Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo, White Sox third base coach Joe McEwing, Rays bench coach Dave Martinez and former Pirates skipper John Russell.
As Ryan told Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press in late September, the rotation will be the focus of the offseason for the Twins. Hughes has been an unquestionable bright spot — one of the best free agent signings from the 2013-14 offseason — but his acquisition was the only of Minnesota’s three rotation expenditures that paid dividends in 2014. The re-signing of Pelfrey to a two-year, $11MM contract has been an abject failure, and a 5.38 ERA in 159 1/3 innings wasn’t what the Twins had in mind when signing Nolasco to a four-year deal. Perhaps there’s some reason for optimism with him, however, as Nolasco’s .351 BABIP is tied for the eighth-highest single-season mark since 1900 (among pitchers with 150+ IP), and metrics such as FIP (4.30) and xFIP (3.97) feel that his performance wasn’t as bad as that ERA would suggest. Nolasco does have a low career strand rate, which typically keeps his ERA higher than his FIP, but not to this extreme.
The Twins’ internal options didn’t exactly pan out either. Former top prospect Kyle Gibson improved upon a rough debut season but logged a 4.47 ERA in 179 1/3 innings and endured a particularly rough patch from mid-August to mid-September before finishing strongly. Kevin Correia struggled all season before being sent to the Dodgers for a PTBNL, and trade acquisition Tommy Milone didn’t perform any better. Prospect Trevor May posted a cringe-worthy 7.88 ERA, though he showed a propensity for strikeouts and was plagued, to an extent, by a .377 BABIP. Top prospect Alex Meyer didn’t make it to the show but did post solid Triple-A numbers before some shoulder discomfort sidelined him in late August.
The Twins’ rotation problems are tied directly to another team deficiency — their defense. Minnesota’s collective .315 BABIP was the highest in all of baseball this season, and their defense ranked near the bottom of the league in terms of both Ultimate Zone Rating and Defensive Runs Saved. While the infield defense was mostly passable (albeit unspectacular), the team’s -36.2 UZR in the outfield ranked 29th of 30 teams, and no MLB club posted an uglier outfield DRS mark than Minnesota’s -50. The departure of Josh Willingham (via an August trade) and the likely return of converted shortstop Danny Santana to the infield — something the organization has expressed a desire to see — create the opportunity for better outfield defense. (The pitching staff, of course, compounded the defensive shortcomings by finishing with the worst K/9 rate in all of baseball for the fourth consecutive season.)
Minnesota’s bullpen was a relative strength for much of the season, but late swoons by Fien and Perkins, plus some questionable performances from September call-ups, submarined the unit’s collective numbers. Perkins was particularly out of sorts, and his season was eventually cut short due to a forearm strain and some nerve irritation (his UCL is reportedly fine). The Twins will be able to retain the entire group if they wish, though names like Duensing and Swarzak could be non-tender candidates, and I’d expect Burton’s option to be declined. Minnesota drafted Louisville closer Nick Burdi in the second round of this year’s draft, and it’s very possible that he and his 100-102 mph fastball eventually claim a bullpen spot next year. Stephen Pryor, acquired from the Mariners in exchange for Kendrys Morales, could fight for a spot as well. A veteran addition is possible, but the Twins don’t seem likely to spend extravagantly on the relief corps this offseason.
Looking at the team’s arbitration eligible players, Plouffe, Milone, Schafer and Fien seem like locks to be retained, while the others — Duensing, Swarzak and Nunez — are less certain. Cutting ties with those three players would leave Minnesota with about $69MM committed to the 2015 payroll. That would be well south of the team’s $85.5MM Opening Day payroll in 2014 — a figure that grew significantly after adding Morales on a one-year deal in June — so it seems fair to suggest that Ryan could have $20-25MM to spend, should he choose.
History has taught us that the Twins will not be serious players for the likes of Max Scherzer and Jon Lester, both of whom have legitimate shots at landing seven-year contracts. James Shields, the next-best arm on the market, seems too much of a stretch as well. The Twins seem more likely to explore the second tier of starting pitchers, which will include one name they pushed for late last offseason: Ervin Santana. The Twins reportedly made Santana a three-year offer in the $30-33MM range in Spring Training, but Santana preferred a one-year deal in the National League in hopes of cashing in on a bigger deal this offseason. It would make sense, then, to see Minnesota again express interest. Brandon McCarthy‘s excellent finish to the 2014 season could make him a desirable target for Ryan as well.
If the team is looking at a buy-low candidate, longtime division rival Justin Masterson seems like a good fit. The Twins’ infield defense was markedly better than the outfield defense in 2014, and Masterson’s gaudy ground-ball rate would minimize the impact of a potentially questionable outfield defense in 2015. His strikeout rate remained strong as well, but the Twins would need to be convinced that the knee injury which plagued Masterson’s 2014 season (and likely played a large role in his fastball velocity dropping from 91.6 mph to 88.9 mph) is now healed. Brandon Morrow and Brett Anderson are another pair of high-upside names that come with injury risk but could make sense on one-year deals. The Twins did show interest in Anderson last year before he was dealt to Colorado. Each of these three arms would give the Twins a legitimate trade chip in July should they remain healthy on a one-year deal and should the Twins again fail to contend. The success experienced by Hughes in 2014 could cause pitchers in this vein to give a bit of a longer look at the benefits of pitching in Target Field.
Looking to the outfield, it’s clear that the Twins could use at least one upgrade. While top prospect Byron Buxton — whose season was all but lost due to wrist injuries and a frightening concussion — will eventually claim center field, Aaron Hicks has failed to do so in the short term. Schafer impressed the Twins after being claimed on waivers and figures to have locked up a spot as a fourth outfielder. A run at Cuban slugger Yasmany Tomas doesn’t seem realistic; the Twins have never bid that highly on an international free agent, and Tomas could clear $100MM.
If the Twins move Santana back to shortstop and non-tender Nunez (leaving the utility role to Eduardo Escobar), they could pursue options at any of the outfield positions (with Oswaldo Arcia occupying one of the two corner spots). Colby Rasmus is an interesting buy-low candidate, but if he’s looking to rebuild value, a pitchers’ park like Target Field probably isn’t the best setting. Melky Cabrera‘s price tag could preclude a serious pursuit from Minnesota, and while they had interest in Nelson Cruz late last offseason, his price tag figures figures to be prohibitive as well. A trade for a defensively gifted outfielder such as Peter Bourjos would make sense for Minnesota, in my mind. He could provide elite center field defense while Buxton develops, and he would also improve results for the team’s pitching staff. Bourjos’ modest salary would allow Ryan to focus his resources on improving the rotation.
Other areas such as catcher and designated hitter likely don’t need to be addressed. The Twins opted to sign Suzuki to a two-year extension rather than trade him this summer when a market failed to materialize, and switch-hitting slugger Kennys Vargas looked impressive in a second-half call-up, batting .274/.316/.456 with nine homers in 53 games. It’s possible that the Twins could receive trade interest in Suzuki this offseason, given the weak market for catchers after Russell Martin. The team does have an interesting alternative in Josmil Pinto, but Suzuki is well-liked in the organization and it’d be somewhat surprising to see him moved so quickly after signing that contract. Suzuki doesn’t seem to be worried about the idea, as he said in August that he and his agents at MVP Sports Group didn’t think it was necessary to try for a no-trade clause.
One interesting point to consider (a topic which Andrew Bryz-Gornia noted at SB Nation’s Twinkie Town) is the future of Plouffe. The former first-rounder quietly had an excellent season (3+ rWAR and fWAR) and looks to have found a home at third base. The only problem is that Miguel Sano is the Twins’ heir apparent at third and could force his way onto the Major League roster next season. It’s possible that the Twins could once again shift Plouffe’s position to a corner outfield spot (they employed a similar trajectory with Michael Cuddyer early in his career), but with an in-house stopgap such as Escobar under control, Plouffe strikes me as an under-the-radar trade target for teams in need of help at the hot corner.
The Twins will first have to determine who will succeed Gardenhire, and when they do, improving the rotation as well as the outfield defense should be priorities in what will be a busy offseason for Ryan and assistant GMs Rob Antony and Wayne Krivsky.
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.
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.
3:15pm: Gardenhire has been offered a different position within the organization, Ryan said at today’s press conference. Gardenhire says that he hasn’t decided whether or not he would have interest.
1:05pm: La Velle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune reports that the “entire coaching staff is not being brought back,” though he does note that because the new manager will get to choose his staff, some of the current coaches could find their way onto next year’s staff (Twitter links). Presumably, that would happen if the Twins were to hire an internal candidate such as Paul Molitor or Terry Steinbach, both of whom were coaches on this year’s staff.
12:08pm: The Twins have fired longtime manager Ron Gardenhire, the team announced. The 2010 AL Manager of the Year will be replaced following four straight seasons of 90+ losses, and the Twins will immediately begin looking for Gardenhire’s replacement. The status of the other members of the Minnesota coaching staff will be determined by both the new manager and by Twins GM Terry Ryan.
Gardenhire, 56, has been with the Twins organization since 1988, first as a minor league manager and then for 11 years as the team’s third base coach. He took over from Tom Kelly prior to the 2002 season and enjoyed immediate success, leading the Twins to three straight AL Central titles. “Gardy” managed three more AL Central winners from 2006-10, though in all six of his postseason appearances, only won one playoff series.
The last four seasons have been a different story for both Gardenhire and the Twins, as the team struggled to a 265-383 record and finished in last place in three of those four years. Poor roster construction and a lack of minor league depth was generally blamed for Minnesota’s problems rather than Gardenhire, though even in the winning years, he took some criticism for his lineup construction.
Gardenhire has an 1068-1039 record over his career, and given his strong pedigree and reputation around baseball, one would think he’d be an instant candidate for other managerial openings around the game. The Rangers, Diamondbacks and Astros are currently looking for new managers.
This will be the first managerial search in over a generation for the Twins — since September 1986, Kelly and Gardenhire have been the club’s only two skippers. USA Today’s Bob Nightengale predicts that either Terry Steinbach or Paul Molitor (both current members of the Twins coaching staff) will be the next manager. Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo could also be an external candidate, FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi tweets.
Gardenhire’s firing was reported by Patrick Reusse of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports (Twitter link). Earlier in the day, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick tweeted that “the word is not good” on Gardenhire’s status with the club, though the report was unconfirmed at the time.
Photo courtesy of Rick Osentoski/USA Today Sports Images
As Baseball America’s Josh Leventhal writes, yesterday marked a two-week period where Major League clubs are free to negotiate with available minor league organizations. Major League clubs sign player development contracts with minor league organizations much like players will sign contracts with teams. As such, Leventhal notes that the “affiliation shuffle” is akin to free agency for minor league teams. Leventhal’s article provides more insight behind many of the moves and offers quite a bit of detail for those who are curious to read more about this process.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll see multiple teams sign deals with new affiliates, and MLBTR will keep track of them here for those that are interested …
- The Braves announced that they have moved their Class-A Advanced affiliate from Lynchburg, Va. to Zebulon, N.C. (formerly an Indians affiliate) after agreeing to a two-year PDC. They will inherit the Carolina Mudcats moniker.
- Daytona (formerly the Cubs’ affiliate) has announced that it has reached a PDC with the Reds.
- GM Jon Daniels says the Rangers will move their High-A affiliate from Myrtle Beach to High Desert, FOX Sports Southwest’s Anthony Andro tweets.
- The Cubs announced that they will be moving their High-A affiliate from Daytona to Myrtle Beach (previously occupied by the Rangers).
- The Indians announced that they will be moving their High-A affiliate from Carolina to Lynchburg (previously occupied by the Braves).
- The Twins announced that they will be moving their Double-A affiliate from New Britain to Chattanooga (previously occupied by the Dodgers) after agreeing to a four-year term.
- The Dodgers announced that they will be moving their Double-A affiliate from Chattanooga to Tulsa (previously occupied by the Rockies).
- New Britain (formerly the Twins’ affiliate) has announced that that it has reached a PDC with the Rockies.
- The Giants announced that they have reached a two-year PDC with Triple-A Sacramento (formerly occupied by the Athletics).
- The Brewers announced that they have reached a two-year PDC with Triple-A Colorado Spring (formerly occupied by the Rockies)
- Fresno (formerly the Giants’ affiliate) has announced that it has reached a PDC with the Astros.
- The Athletics have announced that they will be moving their Triple-A affiliate from Sacramento to Nashville (previously occupied by the Brewers).
- The Dodgers have announced that they will be moving their Triple-A affiliate from Albuquerque to Oklahoma City (previously occupied by the Astros).
- The Rockies announced that they will be moving their Triple-A affiliate from Colorado Springs to Albuquerque (previously occupied by the Dodgers).
- The Brewers have announced that their Triple-A affiliation with Nashville has been terminated by the Sounds.
Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos and manager John Gibbons are in no immediate danger of losing their jobs, but that could change if team president Paul Beeston leaves his post, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal writes. Beeston is in the last year of his contract, and there is speculation around the game about whether he’ll stay. Beeston backed Red Sox chairman Tom Werner over Rob Manfred for commissioner, which Rosenthal implies might suggest Beeston was looking for a job in the commissioner’s office. Also, Rogers Communications, which owns the Jays, hired a new CEO in January. Here are more notes from the American League.
- Phil Hughes is open to a contract extension with the Twins, writes Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press. Hughes quietly had one of the top seasons among starting pitchers, with 6.1 fWAR and 4.3 rWAR. He walked just 16 batters in 209 1/3 innings. Combined with a solid 8 K/9, Hughes set a major league record for K/BB ratio at 11.63 while pitching to a 3.52 ERA. Hughes is entering his age-29 season and has two years and $16MM remaining on his contract.
- Earlier this weekend, the Orioles designated reliever Preston Guilmet for assignment. For Guilmet, that move concluded a season spent in a transaction vortex, CSN Baltimore’s Rich Dubroff writes. Since Guilmet arrived in a minor trade with the Indians in April, he’s been involved (by MLBTR’s count) in 14 transactions, mostly a function of the fact that he had options. None of those transactions were earth-shaking, but they had to have been trying for Guilmet personally.
In today’s column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe looks at nine managers and GMs to watch. The Braves search for a new GM features prominently on the list. While Royals owner David Glass won’t prevent GM Dayton Moore from pursuing the opening in Atlanta, the matter of compensation could still complicate a move. When the Red Sox traded Theo Epstein to the Cubs, they only acquired an unaccomplished reliever in Chris Carpenter. The Royals would want more in return for Moore.
- If Atlanta’s interim GM John Hart decides to pass on the permanent position, he’ll be heavily involved in picking his successor. Hart helped groom several future GMs like Ben Cherington, Neal Huntington, and Mark Shapiro. Assistant GM John Coppolella could be next on the list.
- It’s surprising Giants bench coach Ron Wotus isn’t connected to more managerial searches. Wotus is Bruce Bochy’s right-hand man and a former PCL manager of the year. My personal observation: the trend of hiring recently retired players has hurt the visibility of Wotus.
- A poll of 12 GMs found in favor of paying Phil Hughes the $500,000 bonus for reaching 210 innings. He fell one-third of an inning short due to a rain delay. He also had another start affected by rain earlier in September. Eight GMs were in favor of paying Hughes with four opposed. Those against the idea cited contractual reasons. As we learned earlier this week, the CBA prevents the Twins from simply paying the bonus to Hughes without restructuring his contract.