It was on this day in 1986 that former White Sox, Indians and St. Louis Browns owner Bill Veeck passed away at the age of 71. Veeck helped break the American League’s color barrier by signing Larry Doby in 1947 and he was the last owner to bring Cleveland a World Series title, though he is perhaps best remembered today for the wacky promotions he used to draw crowds and entertain fans at the ballpark. My personal favorite was “Grandstand Managers Night,” when over a thousand St. Louis fans used placards to ’manage’ the Browns to a victory over the A’s (Steve Wulf recently wrote about the promotion for ESPN The Magazine).
Here’s some news from around the league…
- The Red Sox have made an effort to add more regulars between the prime ages of 26-30 over the last several months, Alex Speier of the Boston Globe writes, as the 2014 team suffered from a mix of too many inexperienced young players and too many 30+ players who had declining seasons. “There’s no question that finding guys in that age range is appealing,” GM Ben Cherington said. “It’s a safer age range to be in if you’re investing in a player. To be clear, it’s not like we didn’t want that last year. It’s just, what were the alternatives? What were the possibilities? If we could build a team every year full of 26- to 30-year-olds, we would.”
- The Padres’ acquisition of Brandon Maurer could pay even bigger dividends if the team explores turning Maurer back into a starting pitcher, Fangraphs’ Jeff Sullivan writes for FOXSports.com. As Sullivan notes, Maurer is a decent comparable to Tyson Ross, who has enjoyed great success as a starter since coming to San Diego two years ago.
- In a comparison that surely can’t excite Cincinnati fans, ESPN’s Buster Olney (Insider-only link) writes that “The Reds…are probably where the Phillies were a year ago, although they could use a decisive determination.” Reds owner Bob Castellini is too competitive to commit to a brief rebuild, leaving the team in the difficult position of subtracting salaries (like Mat Latos and Alfredo Simon) but also adding win-now pieces (like Marlon Byrd) at the same time.
- Also from Olney, “recent machinations within the Boston organization” seem to be leading to “less influence” for Larry Lucchino, the Red Sox president/CEO.
- A number of Yankees topics are addressed in a fan mailbag piece by Mike Axisa of the River Ave Blues blog, including a prediction by Axisa that New York will “go hard after Doug Fister” when the righty hits free agency next winter. Fister was originally drafted by the Yankees in 2005 and he’d require a smaller salary than other impending free agent starters like Johnny Cueto or Jordan Zimmermann.
- Also from Axisa, the Yankees could wait until after 2016 to make another big free agent splurge since the Mark Teixeira and Carlos Beltran contracts will be off the books. The Yankees’ strategy seems to be to sign several major players in a single offseason (as they did in 2013-14) to sacrifice only one year’s worth of high draft picks, and going on a spending spree in 2014-15 could result in a payroll in the $250MM range.