Jon Heyman of Fan Rag gives his odds on the postseason and provides a host of interesting information in his latest notes column. Here are a few highlights:
- While there’s been some turnover in the White Sox’ dugout, as bench coach Rick Renteria has moved up to manager as a replacement for the departing Robin Ventura, changes to the field staff don’t figure to impact pitching coach Don Cooper, per Heyman. In fact, the South Siders have actually made an extension offer to their well-respected pitching coach, who is on the brink of entering his 16th season at that post.
- While it’s hardly a surprise, Heyman notes that the Indians will exercise their $12MM option on Carlos Santana. For a player with a .259/.366/.498 with a career-high 34 homers, that decision was a no-brainer, even for a typically cost-conscious club like Cleveland.
- The Rockies quietly made a run at Cincinnati’s Zack Cozart prior to the non-waiver trade deadline, knowing that Trevor Story, whose last game came on July 30, was ailing and could miss the remainder of the season. Talks continued into August, per Heyman, but Cozart’s own injury issues arose and made a deal more difficult. It’d have been interesting to see the Rox land Cozart, as he’d have once again become a trade chip for them in the offseason with Story expected to be ready to go for the 2017 season. While talks don’t seem likely to be revisited this winter, the note is another reminder that Cozart is a desirable trade chip for the Reds, who also had a near-swap that would’ve sent Cozart to the Mariners on Aug. 1. Heyman also reminds that longtime GM/president Walt Jocketty will step into an adviser role this winter, leaving GM Dick Williams as the top decision-maker in Cincinnati’s baseball ops department.
- Sticking with the Rockies, Heyman chronicles the rift that grew and eventually became irreconcilable between now-former manager Walt Weiss and GM Jeff Bridich. Per the report, there was a near-total breakdown of communications between the two. Weiss expressed concern with owner Dick Monfort — who was seemingly preparing to give Weiss a two-year extension and tried to convince him to stay. But the skipper didn’t believe that the two leaders could co-exist, and Monfort ultimately stuck with his GM.
- Tigers owner Mike Ilitch was serious about pursuing slugger Chris Davis in free agency last winter — so much so that he was willing to guarantee something approaching $200MM, says Heyman. Newly-installed GM Al Avila, however, recommended that the team take another course. Though Davis has been reasonably productive, he hasn’t produced at the levels that earned him his ultimate contract — a $161MM deal with the Orioles.
- As the Brewers’ brass has suggested, Heyman says that the team is not inclined to utilize Jonathan Villar at third base. With Orlando Arcia seemingly set for his first full season at short, that may well mean that Villar is destined to shift over to second base. If that’s the case, it’s not clear just what role Scooter Gennett will have. The 26-year-old is entering his first season of arbitration eligibility after a posting a below-average .263/.317/.412 batting line in his 542 plate appearances in 2016.
- Meanwhile, the Brewers may not be sold on the idea of tendering Chris Carter a contract. While the team has suggested he’s expected back, Carter’s 41 homers also make him a good bet to earn a rather significant arbitration raise.
- The Mariners appear to be “leaning toward” picking up a $7MM option over outfielder Seth Smith. Smith, 34, isn’t quite an everyday player, but has received over 400 plate appearances in each of his two campaigns in Seattle. This year, he hit .249/.342/.415 with 16 home runs, just under his overall career marks. At $7MM, the M’s would be getting Smith for something like the going annual rate for a fourth outfielder, while limiting its commitment to a single season.