Anthony McCarron of the New York Daily News takes an interesting look back at what was perhaps the first modern deployment of the opt-out clause. Then-Twins GM Andy MacPhail utilized a player option to lure top starter Jack Morris to the organization. “I thought, what’s the worst thing that can happen?” says the current Phillies president. “I was already committed to giving him $9 million over three years. He could pitch great and leave or he could like it and stay the whole time. Either scenario, I would’ve taken. Nor did I get any criticism at the time.” Things couldn’t have worked out much better, as it turns out, as Morris helped lead Minnesota to a World Series before departing. If you’re interested in some more reading on the history and development of the now-pervasive opt-out, check out this piece from MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes.
Here are some notes from the game’s central divisions:
- Former Pirates corner infielder Pedro Alvarez is more than just a DH, his agent Scott Boras tells MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM (audio link). Alvarez still has the skills and athleticism that got him to the hot corner in Pittsburgh in the first place, says Boras, who rejects the idea that he’s a bat-only player “based upon a short sample size or a moment in his career where he’s had an irregularity in throwing.”
- The Indians are still pursuing free agent third baseman Juan Uribe, Buster Olney of ESPN.com reports on Twitter. We’ve heard consistent chatter on that connection for quite some time, but it still isn’t clear whether Cleveland will (or will need to) push up its offer to get something done. There have also been suggestions that the club may be prepared to wait to see who’s left without a seat when the music stops this winter.
- The Brewers have paid a lot of attention to center field this winter, Tom Haudricourt writes for Baseball America. In the immediate term, the organization will hold “an open competition,” per GM David Stearns, with veterans Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Eric Young Jr. looking to hold off youngsters Domingo Santana and Keon Broxton. Of course, Santana is seen more as a corner outfielder in the long run, but the club will presumably dedicate most of its playing time there to Ryan Braun and Khris Davis. As for Broxton, Stearns had praise for him as a near-term and future option. “He gives us increased depth in the outfield and has a chance to play center field,” he said. “We think Keon has a chance to be a real asset to our team, beginning this year.”