The Cubs will contact A.J. Hinch as they search for a replacement for manager Dale Sveum, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports suggested earlier in the day (on Twitter) that Hinch might be a possibility. Hinch, who is now in the Padres' front office, served as the Diamondbacks' manager for parts of the 2009 and 2010 seasons. His work in the Diamondbacks organization with players like Justin Upton, Max Scherzer, Stephen Drew and Miguel Montero might be a positive for the Cubs, who have a strong core of prospects in place. Here are more notes from the Central divisions.
- It will be tough for the Royals to keep their roster together while staying within their budget, Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star writes. GM Dayton Moore says the Royals' 2014 payroll will be "about the same" as 2013, when it was around $82MM. Starting pitchers Ervin Santana and Bruce Chen will be free agents. Chen shouldn't be terribly hard to replace, but Santana will be, especially when, as Dutton points out,the Royals will have to pay James Shields, Alex Gordon, Jeremy Guthrie, Wade Davis and Salvador Perez a total of about $13MM more than they made in 2013. The Royals are expected to extend a qualifying offer to Santana.
- Compared to other playoff teams, the Tigers have relied less heavily on their farm system to build their roster, writes Jim Callis of MLB.com. GM Dave Dombrowski has acquired much of Detroit's roster through shrewd trades, getting, for example, Miguel Cabrera, Max Scherzer, Austin Jackson, Anibal Sanchez and Doug Fister. But he's also acquired players like Prince Fielder, Torii Hunter and Victor Martinez. There are only six players on the Tigers' projected playoff roster who came through their farm system, although one of those is Justin Verlander.