Here are five of this week’s biggest stories here at MLBTR…
Diamondbacks hire Mike Hazen as general manager, executive vice-president. Arizona officially moved on from the Tony La Russa/Dave Stewart era by installing Hazen atop its baseball operations pyramid. The highly-regarded Hazen spent a decade in the Red Sox front office, including the last year as Boston’s GM, working under president of baseball ops Dave Dombrowski. Rumors have been swirling that Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo could become the new D’Backs manager.
Red Sox looking at internal GM candidates. Dombrowski would prefer to replace Hazen from within the organization, and several notable names have already been mentioned as candidates: assistant GM Brian O’Halloran, senior vice president of personnel Allard Baird, pro scouting director Gus Quattlebaum, VP of international/amateur scouting Amiel Sawdaye and VP of international scouting Eddie Romero. (There has also been speculation that O’Halloran, Quattlebaum and Sawdaye could take jobs with the Diamondbacks, following Hazen.) One notable Red Sox front office member doesn’t appear to be a candidate, as senior VP of baseball operations Frank Wren is reportedly happy in his current role.
Tigers could make roster changes while still remaining competitive. Tigers GM Al Avila’s season-ending comments to reporters indicated that the club is looking to modify how it does business, saying that “We want to get younger. We want to get leaner. We want to run the organization without having to go over our means.” This could hint at changes to Detroit’s free-spending ways, including exploring trading big salaries instead of adding them. The Tigers already tried to deal Justin Upton last summer and seem likely to explore moving him again this winter, while J.D. Martinez could be another potential trade candidate since Avila isn’t planning extension talks in the near future.
MLB looking to implement an international draft. In talks with the players’ union about a new collective bargaining agreement, the league is pushing hard to replace the current international bonus system with a more organized ten-round draft. The league has long sought for more control over the international market, though in the opinion of Baseball America’s Ben Badler, this draft proposal doesn’t do enough to address some fundamental issues in the way international players are identified, scouted and developed.
Reds agree to new television contract. The Reds and FOX Sports Ohio agreed to a 15-year extension of their current TV deal. Terms weren’t disclosed, though club COO Phil Castellini stated the Reds will get a “nice increase” from the $30MM they previously received in annual rights fees.