Christmas Eve is generally a pretty quiet time for transactions, though Erin Hinch might disagree. The wife of Astros manager A.J. Hinch related an anecdote to Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle about how her husband (at the time working in the Diamondbacks front office) took time out of a Christmas Eve church service in 2005 to get Eric Byrnes to agree to a contract with the D’Backs.
We at MLBTR wish all of our readers a very happy holidays, and here are a few more news items as stocking stuffers…
- According to figures from the MLB Players Association, the average salary for a 2014 Major League player was just under $3.819MM, Ronald Blum of the Associated Press reports. This represents a 12.78% jump from the 2013 average salary, an increase that Blum attributes to growing revenues from national and local TV deals. The Commissioner’s Office, which uses slightly different calculation methods, said the average salary was just over $3.726MM.
- It’s still difficult to predict where Max Scherzer will pitch in 2015 given the right-hander’s salary demands and the seeming lack of obvious suitors, The New York Post’s Ken Davidoff writes. Two American League officials give their predictions about Scherzer’s landing spot, with one official picking the Angels while the other thinks the Nationals will sign Scherzer and trade Jordan Zimmermann. Davidoff’s own “best guesses” include the Tigers, Cardinals or Cubs.
- Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos and president Paul Beeston talk to Sportsnet.ca’s Shi Davidi about how the team’s blockbuster acquisition of Josh Donaldson from the A’s evolved from discussion to reality.
- While the Twins have made several roster upgrades this winter, they have yet to address their team defense, Fangraphs’ Mike Petriello notes. Minnesota was ranked by several metrics as one of the league’s worst defensive teams in 2014, finishing near the bottom of the list in such categories as Defensive Runs Saved and UZR/150.
- The Rangers are bound to improve on their dismal 2014 record simply by avoiding the incredible number of injuries that plagued the team, yet Fangraphs’ Drew Fairservice (writing for FOX Sports) notes that even a healthier group of Rangers doesn’t project to be a winning team. Given the young talent in the farm system, Fairservice opines that Texas might be better served by using 2015 as an evaluation year to answer some roster questions and then aim to return to contention in 2016.
- With the Rays seemingly entering a rebuild phase, FOX Sports’ Jon Paul Morosi speculates that Ben Zobrist will draw a lot of trade buzz before Opening Day. Zobrist’s ability to play several positions means that there would be no shortage of suitors if the Rays indeed made him available; Morosi lists eleven teams that could fit as trade partners.