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With Derek Jeter‘s retirement and the Giants playing in their third World Series in five years, Buster Posey should be the next face of baseball. That’s the theme of separate articles by ESPN’s Jayson Stark and the New York Post’s Joel Sherman. Starks believes Posey is comparable to Jeter in making his team a perennial World Series contender with an understated, but intently competitive manner, the flowing awards and accolades, and his ability to move merchandise. Sherman theorizes Posey hasn’t already assumed Jeter’s mantle because of the position he plays, the market in which he plays, and a lack of a seminal playoff moment.
Here’s more news and notes from the National League:
- It will be tough for other teams to copy “the Giants Way” because the Giants themselves can’t explain their success, reports Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times. “That’s a tough question to answer,” General Manager Brian Sabean said. “Things develop over time.” Time has been on the Giants’ side, notes Shaikin, as Sabean is the longest-tenured GM in baseball and his top lieutenants (Dick Tidrow and Bobby Evans, who told Shaikin he has never been interviewed for a GM opening) have been with the organization for two decades.
- Earlier today, MLBTR’s Zach Links predicted Nationals infielder Asdrubal Cabrera will land a three-year, $27MM contract in free agency. CSNWashington’s Mark Zuckerman posits Cabrera’s best days are possibly behind him, so the Nationals’ interest will be based on whether there are better options available either via free agency or on the trade market.
- The Phillies should have at least $20MM in payroll space this offseason which should be enough for a major signing or a few mid-level signings, provided they are committed to winning in 2015, according to CSNPhilly.com’s Corey Seidman. A.J. Burnett declining his $12.75 option and dealing Antonio Bastardo and/or Domonic Brown could increase that amount, Seidman adds.
- Braves President John Schuerholz indicated to Jim Bowden of SiriusXM (on Twitter) the club’s first choice to be their full-time GM is John Hart; however, he will not force the timeline.
- The first home run of the Dominican Winter League was hit by the Padres‘ Yasmani Grandal. Now a full season away from his 50-game suspension for an elevated testosterone level and knee surgery and possessing excellent plate discipline (13.1% walk rate in 2014), Grandal can become a breakout offensive force for the Padres in 2015, opines the San Diego Union-Tribune’s Dennis Lin.
- The Dodgers are in good hands with Andrew Friedman aboard, writes Peter Gammons for Gammons Daily.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: A.J. Burnett | Andrew Friedman | Antonio Bastardo | Asdrubal Cabrera | Atlanta Braves | Brian Sabean | Buster Posey | Domonic Brown | John Schuerholz | Los Angeles Dodgers | Philadelphia Phillies | San Diego Padres | San Francisco Giants | Washington Nationals | Yasmani Grandal
A number of teams have made staff moves today. Here’s the latest.
- The Padres have announced several changes to their player development staff, reports Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune. Randy Smith, formerly VP of player development, is now the senior adviser for baseball operations and will focus on scouting. Three others were let go from their posts. GM A.J. Preller will focus on hiring a new farm director. Per Preller, “I think it’s a matter of maybe a little different look, a chance to get some other voices in the organization.”
- Scout Mike Russell has left the Tigers to serve as a special assistant to Diamondbacks senior VP of baseball operations De Jon Watson, writes Jason Beck of MLB.com. Russell worked with Watson under GM Dave Dombrowski while with the Marlins in the mid-1990’s.
- Beck also learned that the Tigers are expected to replace Russell with former Pirates GM Dave Littlefield. Most recently, Littlefield has worked as a scout with the Cubs. Littlefield was with Dombrowski in Miami from 1999 through 2001.
- The Blue Jays have hired Nationals scout Paul Tinnell, tweets Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun. Tinnell, a former scouting director with the Pirates, is credited with the signings of Michael Burgess and Steve Lombardozzi per Baseball Reference.
- The Padres have hired former Blue Jays scout Rob St. Julien, according to another tweet from Elliott. Evan Crawford, Danny Farquhar, and Aaron Loup are among his notable signees.
- The Nationals may target former Reds executive Bob Miller to fill the shoes of erstwhile assistant GM Bryan Minnitti, writes Adam Kilgore of The Washington Post. Minnitti resigned last week. Miller’s specializes in budgetary matters, specifically arbitration and other contractual considerations. This makes him a good candidate to fill in for Minnitti.
- Speaking of Minnitti, he has emerged as a front runner for the Diamondbacks assistant GM role, tweets Jon Morosi of FOX Sports. Minnitti has also been linked to the Dodgers front office, so the Diamondbacks may be looking to outpace their division rivals. MLBTR profiled Minnitti as a possible GM candidate back in 2011.
- The Astros have hired Dave Hudgens as their hitting coach, reports Adam Rubin of ESPN New York. Hudgens served for four seasons as the Mets hitting coach before he was dismissed this past May. The Mets have also re-assigned their most recent hitting coach, Lamar Johnson, to the minors. Dave Magadan and Kevin Long are candidates for the role.
The Rangers would like to finish an extension with president of baseball operations and GM Jon Daniels by the start of spring training, ESPN Dallas’ Calvin Watkins writes. Daniels is entering the last year of a four-year deal. His contract had been on the back burner as the Rangers looked for a new manager, but with Jeff Banister now in the fold, the Rangers should have more time. “We’ve been consumed for the last month on this, so [Daniels' extension] will fall in place,” says team co-chairman Ray Davis. Daniels’ teams have played in two World Series and had four 90-plus-win seasons since he was hired in 2005. Here are more notes from the West divisions.
- The Rangers are interested in retaining pitcher Colby Lewis, and Daniels says he’s talked to Lewis’ agent, Anthony Andro of FOX Sports Southwest tweets. The Rangers are the only team allowed to negotiate with Lewis until five days after the World Series. The impending free agent pitched 170 1/3 innings in 2014, and his 7.0 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 indicated he was somewhat better than his 5.18 ERA suggested.
- The Astros have announced new manager A.J. Hinch’s 2015 coaching staff, as noted by Mark Berman of FOX 26 (on Twitter). Former Mets hitting coach Dave Hudgens will take the same role with the Astros. Rich Dauer, previously the manager of the Double-A San Antonio Missions in the Padres organization, will be Houston’s first base coach. The team also officially announced that Gary Pettis will be their third base coach and Trey Hillman their bench coach.
- The Padres announced a variety of changes in their player development area Friday, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. Randy Smith, who had been vice president for player development, will become a senior advisor for baseball operations, and will focus on scouting. The team will not retain field coordinator Randy Johnson (not the former star pitcher), hitting coordinator Sean Berry or outfield and baserunning coordinator Glen Barker. The Padres could consider Rangers field coordinator Jayce Tingler for their farm director position, Lin notes.
Padres starter Josh Johnson finally began playing catch for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery in April, MLB.com’s Corey Brock reports. The veteran righty is expected to begin a throwing program over the coming months.
The Padres hold a $4MM option over Johnson by virtue of his injury-shortened 2014 season. That could still be a steep price to pay given the uncertainty, though last year’s Gavin Floyd contract comes to mind as an equivalently-valued payout for a recovering pitching arm.
San Diego’s decision must be made within three days of the conclusion of the World Series, says Brock, meaning the club will have little time to gauge his progress before acting. As Brock notes, the Padres have a solid cast of rotation options already, though Johnson could make particular sense if the team is inclined to deal away one of its better pitching assets for help elsewhere.
As Brock previously reported, new GM A.J. Preller has said that the team has a “positive feel” for Johnson, though he implied that a straightforward exercise of the option may not be the likeliest scenario. “We’ll try to go down the road with him and try to present something to him that makes sense to him,” said Preller.
The team was clearly impressed by Johnson despite his inability to contribute on the field, as he was an active part of the organization during his rehab. For his part, Johnson expressed admiration for the way he was treated. “I look at it [his time in San Diego] as unfinished business,” said Johnson. “… I’ve actually learned more this year than any other year in the past put together. And as far as the organization goes, I couldn’t have hoped for anything better.”
After another season as also-rans in the NL West – their fourth-straight year with a sub-.500 mark – the Padres have installed a new GM in hopes of turning things around in short order.
- Jedd Gyorko, 2B: $35MM through 2019
- Cameron Maybin, OF: $16MM through 2016
- Seth Smith, OF: $13MM through 2016
- Joaquin Benoit, RP: $9.5MM through 2015
- Carlos Quentin, OF: $8MM through 2015
- Cory Luebke, SP: $7MM through 2015
- Will Venable, OF: $4.25MM through 2015
Arbitration Eligible Players (Service time in parentheses; projections via Matt Swartz)
- Ian Kennedy (5.124): $10.3MM
- Blaine Boyer (5.069) : $1.0MM
- Everth Cabrera (4.144): $2.9MM
- Andrew Cashner (4.126): $4.3MM
- Eric Stults (4.075): $4.6MM
- Tyson Ross (3.126): $5.7MM
- Yonder Alonso (3.116): $1.6MM
- Rene Rivera (3.082): $1.3MM
- Dale Thayer (3.071): $1.3MM
- Alexi Amarista (3.053): $1.5MM
- Joe Wieland (2.161): league minimum
- Non-tender candidates: Stults, Alonso
- Josh Johnson, SP: $4MM club option
Back in June, the Padres relieved Josh Byrnes of his duties amidst reports that his relationship with ownership had deteriorated. There were candidates aplenty at the outset but Rangers assistant GM A.J. Preller emerged from a final four that included Red Sox assistant GM Mike Hazen, Yankees assistant GM Billy Eppler, and league executive Kim Ng. The 37-year-old has his work cut out for him in a division that includes the Giants and the big-budget Dodgers, but ownership might be willing to make things easier by loosening the purse strings.
The quickest fix for the Padres’ offense might be spending big on hotly pursued Cuban talent Yasmany Tomas. The soon-to-be 24-year-old is said to boast tremendous power and is surprisingly agile for his size, as Tim Dierkes recently noted. Still, there are questions about Tomas. Over the summer, Ben Badler of Baseball America wrote that Tomas appeared to regress in Cuba and even lost playing time in the latter part of the year. And, of course, we know very little about Tomas when compared to the rest of this year’s free agent class, but then again, fellow countrymen Yasiel Puig, Jose Abreu, and Yoenis Cespedes rose from relative obscurity to make colossal impacts at the major league level. Will the usually cost-conscious Padres splurge to land Tomas? Based on what we know today, the answer is a definitive maybe.
“We have definitely expanded our international focus under A.J.,” Padres executive chairman Ron Fowler said in an email to Dennis Lin of U-T San Diego last week. “That said, we will continue to be balanced in looking at all opportunities.”
At this stage, it appears the Padres will have to vie with the Rangers, Giants, Phillies, Mariners, and, for some reason, the Dodgers, who already have plenty of outfielders. Despite the competition and an expected price tag that could exceed Rusney Castillo‘s $72.5MM deal with the Red Sox, the Padres have scouted Tomas three times in three weeks, so they’re obviously serious about the young slugger. Where they might tap out in the bidding process remains to be seen, however.
Tomas would look great in the outfield but how the club approaches him will be largely dependent on what they do with the guys that are already in-house. Preller might want to move Carlos Quentin, but he’d have to eat most of his $8MM salary to find a home for him thanks to his .177/.284/.315 batting line in 2014 and unfortunate injury history. Quentin also has a no-trade clause, a condition he demanded upon signing a (then) team-friendly extension, but he was reportedly open to waiving it over the summer. With two years to go and $16MM guaranteed on his deal, the once-promising Cameron Maybin will also be a tough sell. Will Venable, who regressed in 2014 and is owed $4.25MM in ’15 doesn’t hold a ton of trade value either. In a perfect world, the Padres might find two new outfield mates to go along with Seth Smith, but that’s easier said than done. If the Padres can trot out an outfield of Smith, the defensively-solid Maybin, and another corner outfielder with pop, they’ll probably be high-fiving at Petco.
The Padres would like to shake things up in the infield as well and that could be an easier task. First baseman Yonder Alonso is due a bump from $980K to an estimated $1.6MM in arbitration. He may not be worth it when considering his iffy production and health woes, though his capable defending, youth, and former promise would make that a difficult choice. Ditto for Everth Cabrera (.232/.272/.300 in 90 games last season) who has a history of off-the-field troubles on top of his poor hitting and hamstring injury, though a non-tender seems less likely for him. Veteran first baseman Michael Cuddyer had his own health issues in 2014, but he could be an upgrade at first if he fits in the budget. Notable shortstops on the open market include Asdrubal Cabrera, Jung-ho Kang, and Jed Lowrie, but teams like the Cubs and Diamondbacks could have shortstops to spare. The D’Backs are a particularly interesting match if the divisional rivals can get on the same page as they need pitching, something the Padres have in spades. Alternatively, the Padres could roll with Alexi Amarista as their starter if they have enough confidence in him.
This season, the Padres finished dead last in runs scored with 535, a full 38 behind the next-to-last Braves, and slashed .226/.292/.342 as a team. But, as usual, their pitching was solid as they finished top five in both runs allowed and team ERA. Predictably, the consensus is that Preller will have to deal some of his arms to get the offense up to speed. After all, we can’t expect that great of a payroll bump when considering that last year’s $90MM invoice was a franchise watermark.
First-time All-Star Tyson Ross was one of a few bright spots for the Padres in 2014 but he could be in play as a trade candidate if the Friars want to land a big bat. The 27-year-old posted a 2.81 ERA with 9.0 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 and is under club control through 2017, so there would be no shortage of interested clubs, but San Diego would demand a substantial haul in return. Andrew Cashner, 28, battled injuries but still managed to have a strong showing in ~123 innings and has two years of club control remaining. Though, by the same token, trading Cashner this winter could be selling low given his recent health troubles. Ian Kennedy, who pitched to a 3.63 ERA with 9.3 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9, is projected to earn $10.3MM in his final trip through arbitration, so the cost-conscious Padres may be willing to move him, even if his return wouldn’t be quite as heavy as that of Ross or Cashner.
San Diego also has an interesting trade chip in reliever Joaquin Benoit. Benoit was dominant in 2014 but he’s 37 and will earn $8MM in 2015. That’s a big salary for a team like the Padres, but that wouldn’t be hard to swallow for team with a larger payroll. On top of that, his $8MM team option for 2016 makes him more than just a one-year rental. Teams that don’t want to give David Robertson a potentially record-setting deal or gamble on the next tier of available closers will want to take a good look at Benoit. In the event of a Benoit deal, the Padres can also be expected to look into late-inning options, though they could have a solid closer already in Kevin Quackenbush.
The Padres could package in prospects from their highly-regarded farm system, but teams will be hard pressed to pry away talents like right-hander Matt Wisler, outfielder Hunter Renfroe, or catcher Austin Hedges.
Even though the Padres sound inclined to give Preller a bit more in allowance than Byrnes had, much of San Diego’s offseason shopping is likely to happen on the trade market.
Steve Adams contributed to this post.
Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe examines Dan Duquette’s unusual journey to becoming the Orioles‘ GM. A Boston-area native, Duquette realized his dream at 36 years of age when he was named GM of the Red Sox, but that came to an abrupt end in 2002 when he was dismissed by new owners, only to see the Sox — anchored by a number of players he drafted or acquired — win the World Series two years later. Duquette spent 10 years away from the game, coaching his kids’ teams, founding a league in Isarael and running a college summer team, Abraham notes. Duquette revealed to Abraham that he was offered multiple jobs that he turned down — including a position with the Braves and an adviser role with the Red Sox — because he believed he’d get another crack at a GM role. Duquette feels the time away has made him friendlier and put things into perspective; his cousin, Jim Duquette (an analyst for MLB Network), says there are distinct differences between how Dan was with the Red Sox and how he is with the O’s. He isn’t bothered as much by “little things” and is less guarded. “Baltimore isn’t Boston. It isn’t New York. That aspect has been good for him. He doesn’t take himself so seriously,” said Jim.
More from the AL East…
- Mike Napoli has dealt with injuries to his finger, back and toe, writes Rob Bradford of WEEI.com, but despite all of those issues he’ll be undergoing surgery for a different procedure on Nov. 4 . Napoli will undergo Bimaxillary Advancement surgery in an attempt to end a career-long battle with sleep apnea. “I’ve tried numerous things and none of them worked,” Napoli told Bradford via text. “Dental mouth piece, CPAP machine, medicines … It’s just gotten to the point where I have to get this done.”
- The Yankees have had serious dialogue about hiring Padres senior VP of baseball operations and former Mets GM Omar Minaya, multiple sources tell Newsday’s Erik Boland. Andy Martino of the New York Daily News tweets that the team would be interested in Minaya in a scouting or advisory role — not as a replacement for farm director Mark Newman. As Boland notes, GM Brian Cashman has brought former GMs into the fold before, hiring Kevin Towers as a special assignment scout in 2009 and hiring Jim Hendry to fill the same role since 2012.
- Recently fired Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long is generating quite a bit of interest from other clubs, reports Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News (Twitter links). To this point, Long has already spoken with the Mets, Braves and Blue Jays, including a meeting with Mets GM Sandy Alderson. The D’Backs, Brewers and Pirates are all possibilities as well, per Feinsand.
Though it’s early in the process, the market for Yasmany Tomas is beginning to develop, tweets MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez. To this point, the Rangers, Phillies, Padres, Giants, Mariners and Dodgers have all shown strong interest in the young slugger. Most of those clubs are logical fits, though the Dodgers are a bit surprising given the logjam of outfielders the team already has under contract. The Dodgers are already unable to find regular at-bats for Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, Carl Crawford, Yasiel Puig, Joc Pederson and Scott Van Slyke, so adding another outfielder to the mix would make a semi-surprising addition.
Some more news items from around the league…
- Braves right-hander Garrett Fulenchek and his agent, Craig Rose, have joined MSM Sports, MLBTR has learned. The 18-year-old Fulenchek was selected with the 66th overall pick in this year’s draft and will join the same agency that is home to No. 8 overall pick Kyle Freeland and Josh Harrison of the Pirates.
- The Royals and Orioles have built somewhat unconventional rosters, writes ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, pointing out that their meeting in the ALCS marks the first time in the divisional era (beginning in 1969) that two teams that ranked in the bottom five of the league in walks will meet in an LCS or World Series. Crasnick looks at each team’s emphasis on defense as well as the Orioles’ emphasis on power and aggression and the Royals’ emphasis on speed. Somewhat incredibly, Baltimore ranked first in the Majors in homers and last in steals, while Kansas City ranked last in homers and first in steals. Crasnick spoke with Adam Jones, Buck Showalter and the Elias Sports Bureau’s Steve Hirdt for the piece, the latter of whom opined that clubs have gone from undervaluing walks to overvaluing them.
- Crasnick’s colleague, Jayson Stark, writes that players feel underrepresented as MLB experiments with new rules to increase the pace of play. No active players were included on the seven-man committee to look into the matter, though MLBPA executive director Tony Clark (a former Major Leaguer himself) is on the committee to serve as a voice for the players, commissioner-elect Rob Manfred explained to Stark via email. Nonetheless, players such as Curtis Granderson, Kevin Slowey and Brad Ziegler all went on the record with Stark, and a number of players who wished to remain anonymous brought up several issues they’ve taken with the endeavor. Some players feel that too much of the blame has been placed on them, when there’s been little talk of shortening commercial breaks or the consequences that an increasingly matchup-based game has brought about (i.e. more pitching changes). More than anything, players hope to have a voice in the matter before changes are implemented, Slowey and Granderson explained.
- Baseball America’s Matt Eddy compiled an “All-Rookie Team” for the 2014 season, highlighting the excellent work of Travis d’Arnaud, Jose Abreu, Mookie Betts, Nick Castellanos, Danny Santana, Billy Hamilton, Kevin Kiermaier, George Springer, Kennys Vargas, Jacob deGrom, Collin McHugh, Marcus Stroman, Masahiro Tanaka, Yordano Ventura and Dellin Betances. Names such as Matt Shoemaker and David Peralta also earned mentions, and you can read Eddy’s rationale behind his selections in the full article.
In a lengthy and interesting piece, Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times looks at the potentially fractured relationship between the Mariners and Michael Saunders following some comments made by GM Jack Zduriencik at an end-of-season press conference. Asked at the time what he felt about Saunders’ future with the team, Zduriencik said, “…It’s up to Michael. … He was playing well, got hurt, came back, got sick, came back again and did some nice things. But I think what Michael has to do and has to answer this to himself, is ‘how do I prepare myself to play as many games through the course of 162 that I can possibly play without being setback by injury.’ … some of these things need to be handled from a maintenance standpoint where he put himself in a position where he’s able to compete through the course of the season.”
Divish spoke to Saunders himself, who declined to comment on the situation. Saunders’ agent, Michael McCann, said it was both “shocking” and “very disappointing.” Said McCann: “These comments don’t reflect Michael Saunders’ work habits. They imply that that he’s lackadaisical.” Part of the trouble, Divish writes, is that Saunders had never before had his work ethic or preparation questioned by the Mariners, and to have that done in a public forum was hurtful. Zduriencik clarified that the comments he made could be applied to any player, and he was adamant to Divish that the organization is not planning on moving on from Saunders. However, he has previously identified corner outfield as a potential area to add some offense. Divish speculates on an offseason trade, though he also notes that even if Saunders is pushed to the role of fourth outfielder, his low salary (he should earn less than $3MM via arbitration) would be an acceptable price for that role, especially given his upside. Over the past three seasons, the former top prospect has batted .248/.320/.423 with 39 homers and 38 steals. I should note that Divish’s entire piece is well worth the read, as this brief write-up doesn’t capture nearly all of the quotes and information he compiled.
Here’s more from baseball’s Western divisions…
- The Diamondbacks should give strong consideration to moving one of their young shortstops if it can bolster the rotation, writes the Arizona Republic’s Nick Piecoro. The Snakes finished the season with Didi Gregorius, Chris Owings and Nick Ahmed all on the roster, but no room to play all three of them with Aaron Hill being owed $24MM through 2016 and prospects Jake Lamb and Brandon Drury both looking like third base options in the near future. (Lamb already received a taste of the Majors in 2014.) The team seems to view Owings as the best of the bunch, given his greater offensive ceiling, but both Gregorius and Ahmed have value to other clubs. Piecoro spoke to rival executives about each shortstop, with one stating that while Gregorius might not bring back “a Matt Harvey or a Jacob deGrom,” he could be worth someone such as Rafael Montero of the Mets. Another evaluator told Piecoro that his club actually prefers Ahmed to Gregorius, so both could seemingly have good trade value.
- Though he’s been a popular managerial candidate this year, Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo will not be interviewed by the D’Backs for their own managerial vacancy, reports Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe (Twitter link). Lovullo interviewed with the Astros prior to their hiring of A.J. Hinch, he’s already interviewed with the Rangers and will reportedly interview with the Twins as well.
- Padres executive chairman Ron Fowler tells Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union Tribune that they have “definitely expanded our international focus under [new GM] A.J. [Preller].” Lin examines whether or not that could mean a legitimate run at Yasmany Tomas, though as he notes, that would be an unprecedented move for the Friars. In fact, last season’s signing of Joaquin Benoit to a two-year, $15.5MM contract was the largest free agent expenditure in franchise history, Lin points out. The largest contract in franchise history, he adds, is Jake Peavy‘s old three-year, $52MM deal. Tomas could cost double that amount, but the Padres have just $40.5MM committed to next year’s payroll, and the $90MM Opening Day figure from 2014 could rise, ownership has said.
- After losing hitting coach John Mallee to the Cubs, Astros GM Jeff Luhnow spoke highly about Mallee’s work to Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle. Drellich points out that Mallee deserves some credit for the success of Jose Altuve and Chris Carter in 2014, although skeptics could also point to the strikeout problems some of the other team’s young hitters had. Luhnow said he hopes to have a finalized coaching staff in place by month’s end, and as Drellich notes, only pitching coach Brent Strom is a guarantee to return at this point.
Cuban slugger Yasmany Tomas is officially a free agent, but George A. King III of the New York Post reports that the Yankees aren’t likely to show serious interest in the outfielder. Meanwhile, the Padres hosted their second private workout with Tomas in the Dominican Republic yesterday, according to Baseball America’s Ben Badler.
The Yankees, according to King, were in attendance for Tomas’ showcase in the Dominican Republic, but rival clubs expect the Yanks to have a similar reaction to Tomas that they did to countryman Rusney Castillo. King adds that New York “showed very little interest” in Castillo after initially watching him. As King notes, the Yankees are hoping that Carlos Beltran can play right field next year in the event that Alex Rodriguez has to spend a lot of time at the DH position. Additionally, King spoke to one official who offered a lukewarm take on Tomas and his rumored price tag of roughly $100MM: “He is a good player, but for $100 million? I don’t know. He is better than [Castillo], but that doesn’t mean he is worth $100 million.”
As for the Padres, Badler reports that newly minted GM A.J. Preller was at yesterday’s private showcase, and he is also known to have attended Tomas’ initial Dominican showcase for all 30 clubs. That would make three times in a three week span that the GM has seen him. Preller is well-known for his prowess on the international scouting front, as Badler notes, and many of the team’s decision-makers have now seen him multiple times as well. Vice president of scouting operations Don Welke and vice president of baseball operations Omar Minaya have both gotten multiple first-hand looks at Tomas.
MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes recently authored a free agent profile of Tomas, ultimately wagering that Tomas, who will play next season at the age of 24, would land a contract worth $105MM over a seven-year term. As Badler notes, the Rangers have also had a private workout with Tomas, as have the Phillies. Reports this week indicated that the Twins, too, were trying to arrange a private workout.
The Padres have plenty of pitching, writes Jeff Sanders of the San Diego Union-Tribune. However, new GM A.J. Preller must figure out a way to import some offense to San Diego. With a scarcity of affordable talent in free agency, the Padres may need to convert their pitching depth into hitters. Per Preller,”I’m getting the sense already that we have pitchers that are attractive to clubs.” The club could opt to deal established veterans like Ian Kennedy or a prospect like Matt Wisler.
- Also from Sanders, it’s thought that the Padres could increase payroll beyond 2014’s record $90MM opening day figure. Currently, just $41MM is on the books for 2015. While the club is interested in Cuban outfielder Yasmany Tomas, Sanders wonders if a possible nine-figure price tag could scare away the club.
- The Red Sox have bracketed their 2013 World Series championship with two fifth place finishes in the AL East. GM Ben Cherington is looking to improve the year-to-year stability of the franchise, according to Tim Britton of the Providence Journal. Recent seasons have seen more parity in baseball, but some clubs are maintaining year-after-year success. Cherington pins some of the blame on working in young players, saying “we just have to figure out a better way to build teams that allow for young players to integrate successfully.”
- The Yankees aren’t necessarily doomed to fail in the AL East next season, says Bill Madden of the New York Daily News. Madden writes the Yankees “remain an aging team with too many designated hitters, boxed in with too many with immovable contracts and badly in need of young energy.” Despite those issues a potentially strong rotation could help them to recapture the division. After all, the other AL East clubs also have roster issues to solve.