In today’s edition of his weekly Inside Baseball column, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports begins by highlighting the fact that the NL East division title race will determine the fate of Nationals manager Matt Williams and Mets manager Terry Collins. Heyman writes that while Nats GM Mike Rizzo has repeatedly backed Williams, Rizzo is something of a “chorus of one” — publicly, at least. Ownership is extremely frustrated with the team’s recent play, and Heyman points out that it may also be telling that amid multiple reports of players disliking his rigid demeanor, not one player from the Nats has stepped forward to defend Williams. Ownership has already discussed dismissing Williams, Heyman adds. Collins, on the other hand, is in line for a new contract if and when the Mets reach the postseason. Falling behind the Nats and missing the playoffs, though, would harken back to 2007’s epic collapse and almost certainly cost Collins his job. Then again, the Mets have remaining series against the Reds, Braves, Phillies and Marlins, as Heyman points out, so a collapse seems particularly unlikely.
Some other highlights from the column…
- Jeff Samardzija and another unknown White Sox player were both claimed on the same day that the Yankees claimed David Robertson, Heyman reports. However, the Samardzija claim was, like the Robertson claim, primarily a blocking tactic. Heyman notes that while Samardzija has had a very poor contract season, scouts still love his build, athleticism and competitiveness.
- Dallas Keuchel and the Astros have tabled extension talks until after the season, per Heyman. Houston hopes to lock its ace up on at least a four-year deal — that’d cover his arbitration years and one free agent season — though as I noted when word of discussions between the two sides broke, Keuchel’s currently slated to hit the open market heading into his age-31 season. Delaying his free agency by even one year would probably put a five-year max on the free-agent deal Keuchel could secure, as teams rarely guarantee pitchers’ age-37 seasons in long-term deals.
- Regarding the Angels’ GM vacancy, Heyman characterizes recent interviews of internal candidates Matt Klentak and Scott Servais (both assistant GMs) as “perfunctory,” believing an outside hire to be the probably outcome. Klentak could stay on in a role similar to his own, whereas Servais is said by Heyman to be more at odds with manager Mike Scioscia. Kevin Towers, Ned Colletti and Yankees AGM Billy Eppler are all listed as speculative candidates by Heyman.
- The Dodgers took on about $150K of the remaining $450K on Justin Ruggiano’s salary when they acquired him from the Mariners.
- The Marlins are coming around on the idea of Derek Dietrich as a Ben Zobrist/Josh Harrison type of player that can play everyday in part due to his versatility. While Dietrich’s defense isn’t on the same level as that highly valuable duo, the Marlins see him as an athletic bat with 25-homer upside. The 26-year-old Dietrich is hitting .263/.359/.514 in spite of a cavernous home park (138 OPS+) and has smashed 10 homers in 64 games while seeing time at first base, third base and in the corner outfield. None of those are even his natural position, but he’s blocked at second base by Dee Gordon, of course.
not to be a naysayer, but doesn’t Shark have to perform in a manner fitting his perceived talent at some point to be worth an enormous investment? He has a career ERA+ of 97, a peak bWAR of 3.5, with a next highest of 1.8. He reminds me of Jeff Weaver.
Vandals Took The Handles
I’m curious as to how much of the rumored Scioscia/Dipoto conflict will effect how certain candidates feel about the Angels GM opening. The best case scenario seems to be getting overruled by the team manager about certain team decisions and the worst is getting blamed for anything that could go wrong when that happens.
Vandals Took The Handles
My guess is that the Angels will find a GM, and that they will continue to be a franchise that competes for a playoff spot 3 out of every 4 years……which few teams do.
That really is the other side of it. How little will any of it matter.
I don’t particularly like Kevin Towers as a GM, but I can’t help but feel like he and Scioscia would get along well.
I dont want Kevin Towers or Ned Colletti to be the next Angels GM.
Said that about Dietrich last year, while he was stuck in the minor leagues b/c of Loria’s saltiness over the Tino Martinez situation , which was 3 years ago. He hasn’t been the same defensively since he got hit in the face on a bad hop in ST before last seasonl, but he has the athleticisim to play multiple spots. I think he can get better with more reps. At the plate, he has always reminded me of Chase Utley, so if he can at least be decent defensively, he is obviously useful as evidenced by his numbers…
Its another reason why that trade for Dee Gordon was horrible (as was the deal for Latos). We gave up all of our depth for something we didn’t need, at less years of team control, and it opened up holes both in our position player depth, and especially in the rotation. Dietrich, Enrique Hernandez, and Austin Barnes would have been valuable, versatile assets that could give us a lot of flexibility, and we also obviously have Prado as well. That depth could have helped us get around our injury issues this year. Also, we still would have had not much payroll committed, and going into this offseason in a much better organizational position…I can tell that we’re going to move Ozuna at 25 cents on the dollar for something we just gave away this past offseason….
Please, not Kevin Towers for Angel’s new GM. Eppler sounds good.