MLBTR offers its best wishes to former Dodgers GM Fred Claire, who is battling skin cancer that developed on his lip after a life in the sun at baseball diamonds. He spoke with JP Hoornstra of the Los Angeles News Group about his challenge and many fortunes in life, and it’s well worth a read. Claire has generously discussed his lengthy tenure with the Dodgers previously with MLBTR’s Zach Links. MLBTR wishes him our very best.
Here are a few notes from the western divisions:
- Current Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman recently addressed the team’s 2016 campaign, as Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reported. Los Angeles faces decisions on several positions heading into the offseason with a variety of notable free agents, including closer Kenley Jansen, third baseman Justin Turner, starter Rich Hill, and infielder Chase Utley. “We have a lot of talented players who are free agents, and I expect we’ll have ongoing dialogue with every one of them,” said Friedman. “There are so many ways the off-season could play out. It’s so hard to try to corral it at this point.”
- Power-hitting Rangers prospect Joey Gallo suffered a hamstring injury in his third game of action in the Venezuelan Winter League, as Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports. He may need to head back stateside to have the muscle assessed, and it seems that it could well interrupt his time with the Navegantes del Magallanes. There’s no reason to think it’ll impact Gallo’s availability in the spring, certainly, but the hope had been that he would use the winter ball stint to develop at the plate while also providing the team an opportunity to assess his readiness to play a larger role at the major league level in 2017.
- This offseason is a critical one for Mariners righty Felix Hernandez, Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times writes. Once one of the game’s most dominating pitchers, the 30-year-old has exhibited a variety of worrying signs of late. By virtually any measure, Hernandez faded last year; though his 3.82 ERA was still plenty useful, earned-run estimators viewed 2016 as his worst season as a professional. Now, says Divish, King Felix will need to figure out a way to succeed despite waning velocity and wavering command. With $79MM owed to Hernandez over the next three years, Seattle has plenty riding on his ability to return to something approaching his prior form.
- The Mariners face a decision on catcher Tyler Marlette, who could be a Rule 5 draft candidate if he’s not added to the team’s 40-man roster, Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune writes. Marlette, 23, is hitting well in the Arizona Fall League, continuing to make a case for the team to trust him with a valuable roster placement. He performed well at the High-A level, too, slashing .273/.335/.472 over 358 plate appearances before earning a promotion to Double-A. As Baseball America’s staff explains, Marlette needs his bat to carry him, as he’s considered a marginal defender.