Many in the baseball world are mourning a pair of losses this week, as MLB.com reporter Tom Singer and revered Reds clubhouse manager Bernie Stowe have, sadly, passed away. MLB.com executive vice president of content Dinn Mann spoke to Pirates ace Gerrit Cole and manager Clint Hurdle about Singer, who covered the Bucs in recent years at MLB.com, as part of a thoughtfully constructed remembrance. Several of Singer’s colleagues, including Lyle Spencer, Tracy Ringolsby, Anthony Castrovince and Adam Berry, shared fond memories of Singer in a video tribute at MLB.com. ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, meanwhile, has penned a tribute to Stowe, who worked for the Reds for 67 years, ever since joining the team as a bat boy in 1947. Crasnick’s column depicts how much Stowe meant not only to the Reds organization, but to the countless friends that he accumulated in the media and throughout the league over his remarkable career. MLBTR offers its sincerest condolences to the many friends and loved ones of both Singer and Stowe and asks that our readers keep the pair in their thoughts.
A few notes pertaining to the game’s Central divisions…
- Twins general manager Terry Ryan recently joined 1500 ESPN’s Darren Wolfson on his weekly podcast and discussed the upcoming season (audio link, with Ryan joining the show around the 13:50 mark). The two covered a number of topics, including the rough season for former top prospect Oswaldo Arcia, who is now entering Spring Training as an out-of-options player. “I was terribly disappointed in the year [Arcia] had, and he knows it,” said Ryan. “He’s got a lot to live up to here. I know he’s been in Fort Myers [home of the Twins’ Spring Training facilities] since the day his season concluded up there in Rochester. But, when you’re not a September recall, with the type of ability he has, there’s something wrong, and we need to fix him.” There doesn’t appear to be a regular role for Arcia with Eddie Rosario and Miguel Sano locked into the corner outfield spots and Byung-ho Park standing as the early favorite for DH duties, but Arcia could still land a bench spot alongside John Ryan Murphy, Danny Santana and Eduardo Nunez.
- Ryan also discussed the team’s lack of moves to add left-handed relief help this offseason, noting that there are a few internal options that excite him. “I’m looking forward to seeing Taylor Rogers, for instance, a left-hander that’s been with us for quite a few years,” said Ryan. “He’s going to get every opportunity to make this team. I’d like to see [J.T.] Chargois, obviously, grow into a guy you can count on. He might have the best assortment of pitches of those young pitchers that you guys read about it.” Ryan also indicated that there’s still the possibility of adding an arm from outside the organization, calling a trade more likely than a free-agent signing.
- Although Cardinals newcomer Seung-hwan Oh had some difficulties obtaining a work visa in Korea, the right-hander now has his visa in place and is expected to report on-time, if not early, for his first big league Spring Training, writes Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Oh, the all-time saves leader in the Korea Baseball Organization, will compete with Seth Maness, Jonathan Broxton and Kevin Siegrist to serve as Trevor Rosenthal’s primary setup man, per Goold.
- Goold also reports that Matt Holliday has begun taking grounders at first base, though the veteran left fielder insists that the work at first was his own idea and is just being done in an attempt to increase his versatility. “I wanted to challenge myself,” Holliday told Goold. Brandon Moss and Matt Adams are currently the primary first base options for manager Mike Matheny, though having Holliday as an option there would only serve to strengthen the team’s depth.
- Fangraphs’ August Fagerstrom opines that the White Sox got perhaps the biggest bargain of the offseason in the form of Mat Latos. Fagerstrom lists seven players with worse xFIP marks than Latos posted in 2015 but who averaged a total guarantee of $81MM between them. Of course, Latos comes with notable health and clubhouse concerns, but the White Sox have done well with such assets in the past. Fagerstrom points out that the Sox have an exemplary track record of keeping players healthy and haven’t shied away from adding potentially cantankerous personalities to their roster in the past. Meanwhile, J.J. Stankevitz of CSN Chicago offers a similar take, comparing the 2015 production of Latos to that of Jeff Samardzija, noting the similarities in their numbers but the enormous discrepancies in their contracts.