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We read many reports about who was being considered and moved forward in the Padres‘ search for a new general manager, but MLB.com’s Corey Brock provides some more details on what was happening behind the scenes. Give his piece a read to see what led San Diego to choose A.J. Preller to take the helms of the club’s baseball decisionmaking. In other executive chatter, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic profiles Diamondbacks scouting director Ray Montgomery, who was one of the candidates for the game’s latest GM opening.
Here’s more from the National League:
- Phillies outfielder Marlon Byrd has apparently been pulled back from revocable waivers after being claimed by an as-yet-unidentified team, as he played tonight for Philadelphia. Reports suggested Byrd was claimed on or before Wednesday, and the 48.5 hour window to complete a transaction (or withdraw the claimed player) would have expired by now.
- The Cubs, meanwhile, were unable to work out a deal for Phillies starter Cole Hamels, who was also withdrawn from waivers by Philadelphia. But, as Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune writes, the move to claim Hamels showed a new willingness to spend that could tell in the coming months. And missing on the veteran lefty did not stop the club from adding an arm, with Jacob Turner coming in from Miami in exchange for a pair of relievers who have yet to advance past High-A and are both his elder. President Theo Epstein’s comments indicated what many expected he was thinking: “We’ve had some success with talented pitchers who were going through tough periods. Getting them here, let them re-set a little. … We’re hopeful that will happen with Jacob. … Between now and next spring training there are things we can work on.”
- Dodgers starter Josh Beckett could be out for the year, writes Ken Gurnick of MLB.com, though manager Don Mattingly expressed optimism that the righty would make his way back. Either way, his uncertain contribution going forward would appear to support GM Ned Colletti’s statement from earlier today that the team was still looking to add an arm.
- The Rockies are awaiting word on the severity of a back injury to oft-DL’ed starter Brett Anderson, reports Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post. Colorado is worried that Anderson will be out the rest of the year. Though he’s been out with a variety of other issues in the past, the back problem is a new one. The 26-year-old lefty has been effective when healthy, but his 2.91 ERA this year has come over just 43 1/3 innings. The Rockies face a tough call on whether to exercise a $12MM option for Anderson for 2015.
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Onto tonight’s links from around the league!
- New Padres GM A.J. Preller is impressed with the rotation that he’s inheriting in his new post, writes MLB.com’s Corey Brock. Preller’s new team boasts a rotation fronted by Andrew Cashner, Ian Kennedy, Tyson Ross and Jesse Hahn, and Brock wonders if the team will make a second run at extending Cashner with a new GM in place. Of his new club, Preller said to Padres fans: “I want Padres fans to understand that it’s not going to be smooth sailing from Day 1, But I can promise you we’re going to have the hungriest, hard-working group of employees in the game.”
- A theoretical return to the Red Sox for Jon Lester could follow the same path as Mike Lowell‘s return following the 2007 season, writes WEEI’s Rob Bradford. Lowell spoke with Bradford at length about his decision to reject a four-year, $48MM offer from the Phillies in favor of a three-year, $38MM offer to return to Boston. Lowell feels that Lester might not feel the need to take something like $150MM over seven years, but he adds that the Red Sox can’t simply offer a four-year deal if the rest of the market is willing to offer five or more years.
- Uncertainty surrounding Josh Beckett‘s health for the remainder of the season and an unwillingness to part with their top three prospects led to the Dodgers‘ acquisition of Roberto Hernandez earlier today, writes Tim Brow n of Yahoo Sports. Brown feels the decision to hang onto Corey Seager, Joc Pederson and Julio Urias was defensible and notes that a team source told him that Beckett could need season-ending surgery.
- Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. told MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki that the team felt it made sense to flip Hernandez, as they had no plans to make a qualifying offer following the season (Twitter link). While that’s hardly a surprise, the philosophy behind the move could be applied to other current Phillies such as Kyle Kendrick, although that’s just my own speculation.
- Cubs prospects Javier Baez and Arismendy Alcantara both offer high praise for Triple-A player/coach Manny Ramirez and the help they received on their swing mechanics from the former MVP candidate, writes Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times. “He helped my approach to right-center, [following] his routine every day, going to the cage, the way he works,” said Baez. “He’s always got a bat in his hand doing something, either swinging the bat or just hitting in the cage. He talked to a lot of the guys. A lot of people learned from him.” In his most recent chat with readers, ESPN’s Keith Law wrote that he was a believer in Ramirez’s positive influence on Baez.
Padres president Mike Dee recently spoke to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal about the team’s future with new GM A.J. Preller. Here are the highlights:
- The Padres “never seriously considered” firing manager Bud Black despite the team’s struggles this season and the dismissal of GM Josh Byrnes, Dee says. He does note that it remains to be seen whether Preller will want Black to continue, but he expresses confidence in Black as a manager and he notes that Preller was open-minded during the interview process about keeping Black.
- Dee says he doesn’t have any directive in place that instructs Preller to make August trades. “That’s going to be up to him,” Dee says, noting that the Padres have both Ian Kennedy and Joaquin Benoit are under control for 2015. “It would have to be tremendous value,” says Dee.
- Preller does not view 2015 as a rebuilding year, Dee says. “A.J. is not looking at this like 2015 is a white-towel year while we restock the reservoir with talent,” says Dee. “He said very clearly yesterday (at his news conference) and he said to us privately, ‘As long as you have the quality of pitching that we have, you have a chance to win every night.’”
After rebuilding the Red Sox in time for their 2013 championship season, GM Ben Cherington has to remake the team yet again, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes. One item on Cherington’s plate as the Red Sox finish their season is sorting through a number of young players, particularly in the rotation. “Right now we’re going to use the next several weeks to find out about the guys we have,” says Cherington. “We have 8-10 young starting pitchers who are here, at Triple A, and Double A. … In the offseason I’m sure we’ll look at starting pitching alternatives, whether it’s free agents or trades, and see what’s available to us. But we need guys in the organization to step up.” With the trades of Jon Lester, John Lackey and Jake Peavy, the Red Sox’ rotation now includes less experienced players in Brandon Workman, Allen Webster, Rubby De La Rosa and Joe Kelly. The Red Sox also have a high waiver priority due to their record, which makes them a team to watch as August progresses. Here are more notes from around the AL East.
- Allen Craig, who was acquired in the Lackey deal, has already landed on the disabled list with an ankle injury, but the Red Sox are not worried about him in the long term, Alex Speier of WEEI.com writes. “There’s no concern about whether he’s going to be OK to play and feel good and be completely healthy,” says Cherington. “It’s just a question of making sure that we’re not putting him in a position where he’s compromised and maybe is at risk of doing something else by making up for what’s going on in his foot.”
- The Orioles will not pursue Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo, Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com writes. They’ve scouted him and they like his talent, but they think he’ll be too expensive to sign.
- The list of potential Yankees September call-ups includes 2014 second-round pick Jacob Lindgren, Brendan Kuty of NJ.com writes. The reliever dominated the low minors, striking out 17 batters in 7 1/3 innings at Class A+ Tampa, and he’s currently with Double-A Trenton.
- Yankees assistant GM Billy Eppler isn’t bitter about missing out on the Padres GM job, Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News writes. The job ultimately went to A.J. Preller of the Rangers. “Oddly, I’m not upset,” says Eppler. “Maybe if I did something and had a misstep, I would be disappointed in myself. I think the baseball gods didn’t feel like it was my time to leave the Yankees.”
Troy Tulowitzki again today voiced his frustration with the Rockies‘ losing ways, though he clarified to the Denver Post’s Nick Groke that his frustration doesn’t mean that he wants to be traded. Said Tulo: “It doesn’t mean I want out of here. It means I’m sick and tired of losing. Something needs to change. Hopefully that comes fairly quickly.” Tulo went on to cite the Red Sox and their quick turnaround from cellar-dwelling team to World Series champions, also opining that the lineup the Rockies fielded in April was good enough to contend.
Here’s more from baseball’s Western divisions…
- New Padres GM A.J. Preller won’t be taking many (if any) colleagues with him to San Diego, Rangers GM Jon Daniels told Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News. “In this case,” said Daniels, “with such a notable position and somebody who has been here so long and has unique relationships, there are strong restrictions on their ability to take anybody else.” As Fraley notes, such the Rangers put some strict guidelines in place when granting Preller permission to interview, and such tactics are not uncommon when a front office allows one of its members to interview with another club.
- Astros GM Jeff Luhnow will monitor the waiver wire with an attentive eye as always in 2014, but he tells MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart that he doesn’t expect to move anyone, as the club did in 2013 with Wesley Wright. “I expect if we put our guys on waivers, most of them will get claimed because they’re young and affordable,” said Luhnow, “but we’re not looking to do anything. … Last year, we ended up moving Wesley through that, but we don’t anticipate anything this year.”
- Left-hander Mark Mulder, who was with the Angels in Spring Training but tore his Achilles tendon before his comeback attempt could get off the ground, tells the Orange County Register’s Jeff Fletcher that he has begun throwing and will attempt another comeback in 2015 (Twitter link). Mulder, who turned 37 yesterday, hasn’t pitched in the Majors since 2008 and hasn’t topped 11 innings since 2006.
6:12pm: The Padres have formally announced Preller’s hiring, with his official title being “executive vice president/general manager.” Lead investor Peter Seidler offered the following statement: “Padres ownership is thrilled to welcome A.J. Preller to the Padres family. His balance of experience, knowledge and energy makes him the ideal person to lead our baseball operations as we work to build a consistent winner in San Diego.”
1:48pm: The deal is done, tweets MLB.com’s Corey Brock. San Diego says it will make an “organizational announcement” at Petco Park at 4pm PT.
12:54pm: Preller has agreed to a five-year pact with the Padres, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Final details are still being worked out, but the agreement is in place.
11:59am: Preller has accepted the job, reports Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News.
THURSDAY, 10:56am: The sides are still negotiating the terms, with Preller yet to accept the position, reports ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick (Twitter links). Nevertheless, a deal is likely to be struck today, says Crasnick.
WEDNESDAY, 9:48pm: Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune hears that the Padres will make an official announcement regarding Preller’s hiring tomorrow.
9:11pm: The Padres have decided to hire Rangers assistant general manager A.J. Preller to fill their GM vacancy, sources tell Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter link).
Preller had been one of four finalists for the vacancy, along with Red Sox assistant GM Mike Hazen, Yankees assistant GM Billy Eppler and MLB executive Kim Ng. Preller and Eppler were both rumored to be favorites for the job at different times, though the most recent reports had Eppler in the lead.
Instead, the Padres will go with Preller, who has been described as “eccentric” at time by peers, as Tom Krasovic of the San Diego Union-Tribune recently wrote. Krasovic also noted Preller’s aggressive nature when pursuing Latin American players on the amateur market. International scouting was said to be a priority for the Padres in their pursuit of a new GM, which led Peter Gammons to speculate that Preller could be the favorite. The Padres were said to prefer to hire an up-and-comer in the baseball operations world rather than someone with previous GM experience, and the 36-year-old Preller fits that bill.
This is hardly the first time that Preller was identified as a GM candidate. Back in 2011, MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes interviewed Preller as part of MLBTR’s GM Candidate series, touching on topics such as the Rangers’ low-cost acquisitions of Colby Lewis and Nelson Cruz, the decision to move C.J. Wilson to the rotation and the challenges the team faced in trading former cornerstone Mark Teixeira to the Braves.
The Padres’ GM search has been ongoing for more than a month (Josh Byrnes was dismissed on June 22), but it sounds as if the team is nearing the end of the process. In an appearance on MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM earlier today, manager Bud Black told host Jim Duquette that the Friars expect to hire a new GM within the next 48 hours (Twitter link).
Yankees assistant GM Billy Eppler has been rumored to be the favorite for the position, although Rangers assistant GM A.J. Preller, Red Sox assistant GM Mike Hazen and MLB executive Kim Ng have been said to be finalists for the position as well.
Interestingly, assistant GM A.J. Hinch — one of the executives tasked with decision-making for the GM-less Padres over the past five to six weeks — announced today that he is leaving the organization. Hinch, along with fellow AGM Fred Uhlman Jr. and senior vice president of baseball operations Omar Minaya, helped to oversee the team’s direction at the trade deadline. However, in a press release, Hinch issued the following statement:
“During my time in San Diego, I dedicated myself to do everything I could to help this team win, in the short-term and for the long-term. These last several weeks were no exception. I think the organization is ready for a transition and I’ve made a decision and told [executive chairman] Ron Fowler and [CEO] Mike Dee that now is the right time for me to move on. I’m proud to have always operated in the best interest of the organization and to have established long lasting relationships with people who work on and off the field in San Diego. I wish the Padres and the new GM well in the future and look forward to the next chapter of my baseball career.”
Hinch was not considered for the team’s GM vacancy, although that was due to the fact that he withdrew his name from consideration early in the process. According to the Padres’ press release, Hinch will pursue other opportunities within the game.
Hinch, Minaya and Uhlman Jr. were behind the trades of Huston Street, Chase Headley and Chris Denorfia this past month, which returned prospects Jose Rondon, Taylor Lindsey, R.J. Alvarez, Elliot Morris, Yangervis Solarte, Rafael De Paula, Abraham Almonte and Stephen Kohlscheen to the organization.
Mike Trout is the game’s best player — really, he has been for some time — and he’s still three days shy of his 23rd birthday. That makes it all the more satisfying for the Angels that they have him locked up to a six-year, $144.5MM deal that does not kick in until next year. USA Today’s Glenn Davis explores how those happy circumstances came to pass in an interview with Halos assistant GM Matt Klentak. According to Klentak, Trout is not just immensely talented but also hard-working, detail-oriented, and grounded.
Here’s more on Trout and the game’s western divisions:
- The Angels began thinking long-term extension as early as 2012, when Trout emerged as a force, but did not put the pedal down on talks until this winter. The extension came together in large part, said Klentak, because of “outstanding” communication between both sides, which allowed for multiple concepts to go back and forth before the ultimate framework was established. “Everybody knew where everybody stood, and it was a fairly positive, productive process all the way through,” Klentak explained. “That’s not always the case — I think that’s a credit to Mike, his character, and his family, and to [agent] Craig Landis as well.” The final contract, of course, gives the Halos control over their young superstar for an extended stretch without guaranteeing post-prime seasons, but also allows Trout to hit the open market at a young enough age to land another massive deal.
- Klentak further noted that a major element of the drive to sign Trout, and other homegrown players before him, stems from the direction of owner Arte Moreno. “That’s something that Arte believes in strongly, that our baseball operations group believes in strongly,” said Klentak. “When you know the people as well as you get to know them over a player’s tenure in your organization, you feel more comfortable signing them to longer-term contracts.” Be sure to check out the rest of the piece for more of Klentak’s thoughts on Trout, the club’s overall composition, and the organization’s operating philosophies.
- The Athletics appear to have decided against signing infielder Scott Sizemore despite previously showing interest, tweets Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. Oakland could still have interest in bringing him in next year, Slusser adds.
- As the Padres reach the final stages of deciding on a GM, the club is “focusing most closely” on Yankees assistant GM Billy Eppler, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, who says Eppler may now be the frontrunner to take over baseball ops in San Diego. Rangers assistant GM A.J. Preller had been said to be leading the final field, which is said to include MLB executive Kim Ng and Red Sox AGM Mike Hazen. Scott Miller of Bleacher Report noted recently that Eppler was still “in the picture” to take on the role.
- As we noted earlier today, Giants starter Matt Cain is scheduled for season-ending surgery to clean up bone chips in his elbow. Alex Pavlovic of the Mercury News provides further details on the problem, which Cain said he has been dealing with in some form for the past decade. “They’ve always been there,” said Cain. “For some reason, they got in a different spot and they got aggravated.” With the problem failing to abate, all decided it was best to have the procedure now so that Cain could be ready for a normal spring ramp-up. San Francisco’s pre-deadline addition of Jake Peavy was connected to the club’s fear that it would be without Cain the rest of the way, Pavlovic adds.
- The Astros felt comfortable dealing away starter Jarred Cosart in large part due to the development of the club’s arms both at the major league and minor league levels, reports MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart. The swap — which followed up on prior trades of Bud Norris and Jordan Lyles — enabled Houston to bolster its outfield corp (with Jake Marisnick) in addition to adding a well-regarded prospect in Colin Moran. “We’ve got guys all the way up and down the system,” said GM Jeff Luhnow. “It’s one of those areas that could very easily, with one or two injuries, go from a strength to a weakness. We’re taking a calculated gamble in this, and it’s the right thing to do.” Of course, as noted earlier today, the deal also cleared two offseason 40-man spots for the Astros, who will have many young players to consider protecting from the winter’s Rule 5 draft.
The Padres are likely to hire a new general manager this week, Scott Miller of Turner Sports and FOX Sports San Diego tweets. He notes that Yankees assistant GM Billy Eppler and Rangers assistant A.J. Preller are still in the mix.
Last week, the finalists for the job appeared to be Eppler, Preller, Red Sox assistant GM Mike Hazen, and MLB executive Kim Ng. All four have had second interviews with the team. Since the Padres fired Josh Byrnes in June, Omar Minaya, A.J. Hinch and Fred Uhlman Jr. have performed the Padres’ GM duties in an interim capacity, trading players like Chase Headley, Huston Street and Chris Denorfia while the organization searched for a permanent GM.
Here are Sunday’s minor moves from around MLB:
- The Rays have released Erik Bedard and Juan Carlos Oviedo, according to MiLB.com. The Rays had designated both pitchers for assignment earlier in the week.
- The Phillies have announced that they’ve re-signed OF Tony Gwynn Jr. to a minor league deal. He will report to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Gwynn hit .163/.281/.204 in 119 plate appearances for the Phillies this season. They released him last week.
- Instead of electing free agency, infielder Tony Abreu has accepted his outright assignment to Triple-A by Giants, tweets Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com. Abreu was designated for assignment Tuesday after appearing in only four games. The 29-year-old owns a .280/.329/.428 slash line in 259 plate appearances this season for Triple-A Fresno.
- The Giants announced infielder Nick Noonan has cleared waivers and will be outrighted to Triple-A Fresno. The 25-year-old was designated for assignment July 25. Noonan, the 32nd overall selection in the 2007 draft, made his MLB debut last season slashing .219/.261/.238 in 111 plate appearances, but has struggled this year with a .239/.281/.302 line in 340 plate appearances between Triple-A Fresno and Class-A Advanced San Jose.
- The Marlins tweeted left-hander Donnie Joseph has been outrighted to Triple-A New Orleans. The 26-year-old was designated for assignment Thursday after the Marlins acquired Jarred Cosart from the Astros. Joseph was picked up from the Royals for cash considerations June 30 and has spent his entire time in the Marlin organization at Triple-A posting an 11.05 ERA, 6.1 K/9, and 9.8 BB/9 in six relief outings covering 7 1/3 innings.
- The Diamondbacks have acquired outfielder Blake Tekotte from the White Sox for cash, per the MLB.com transactions page. Tekotte, who made 36 plate appearances for the White Sox in 2013 good for a slash of .226/.306/.355, will report to Triple-A Reno. The 27-year-old posted a .251/.324/.438 line in 318 plate appearances for the White Sox’s Triple-A affiliate.
- The Padres have released right-hander Billy Buckner from their Triple-A affiliate, according to the Pacific Coast League’s transactions page. The 30-year-old made one spot start for the Padres on May 24 allowing three runs on six hits in 5 2/3 innings. In 15 appearances (14 starts) for Triple-A El Paso, Buckner has posted a 5.80 ERA, 6.2 K/9, and 4.7 BB/9 in 63 2/3 innings.
- Also from the PCL transactions page, the Angels have released catcher Luis Martinez from their Triple-A affiliate. The 29-year-old, whose last MLB action was with the Rangers in 2012, hit .262/.329/.403 in 212 plate appearances for Salt Lake this season.
- Martinez didn’t stay unemployed very long as he was signed by the A’s and assigned to Triple-A Sacramento. The roster causality is catcher Luis Exposito, despite producing at a .303/.410/.394 clip since Oakland signed him June 26 after being released by the Tigers.
- Ten players find themselves in DFA limbo, as tracked by MLBTR’s DFA Tracker: Dan Uggla and Tyler Colvin (Giants), Jeff Francis and Brian Roberts (Yankees), Josh Wall and Dean Anna (Pirates), Ryan Feierabend (Rangers), David Carpenter (Angels), Nick Christiani (Reds), and Pedro Hernandez (Rockies).
Charlie Wilmoth contributed to this post.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Arizona Diamondbacks | Billy Buckner | Chicago White Sox | Donnie Joseph | Erik Bedard | Juan Carlos Oviedo | Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim | Luis Exposito | Luis Martinez | Miami Marlins | Nick Noonan | Oakland Athletics | Philadelphia Phillies | San Diego Padres | San Francisco Giants | Tampa Bay Rays | Tony Abreu | Tony Gwynn Jr. | Transactions