The Twins have hired former big league right-hander Jeremy Hefner as an advance scout, Hefner himself announced (Twitter link). Hefner, who was forced to retire due to myriad injuries (including a pair of Tommy John surgeries in 2013-14), notes that he’ll help formulate game plans and reports for the Major League club and adds that he’ll have some non-traditional duties with his new position as well. The 30-year-old Hefner last pitched in the Majors back in 2013 when he tossed 130 2/3 innings of 4.34 ERA ball with 6.8 K/9 against 2.5 BB/9 for the Mets.
More from the division…
- Despite a pause in their sell-off, the White Sox remain open for business, Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes. Indeed, as GM Rick Hahn told MLBTR in February, the club would have preferred to have made four more deals at this point. But that doesn’t mean the team is ready to deal just to move salary, and some rival officials think the Sox are setting unrealistic price tags on their remaining veterans. “I think our asks are commensurate with what we are willing to give up,” Hahn tells Sherman, while noting the team is still open to deal. Sherman also looks at how Jerry Reinsdorf came around to the idea of selling, with the veteran owner finally agreeing that the organization’s best shot at capturing another title would come through a rebuild.
- While it’s still early in camp, the results from right-hander Anibal Sanchez haven’t been encouraging, as Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press writes. Sanchez, along with expensive veterans Mike Pelfrey and Mark Lowe, have all been knocked around thus far, and Fenech notes that it’s difficult to imagine a team with postseason aspirations breaking camp with all three on the roster. Sanchez, who has allowed 11 earned runs in 5 2/3 innings, is owed $16MM this coming season plus a $5MM buyout on his 2018 option. Pelfrey’s struggles have been similar (eight runs in six frames), and he’s set to earn $8MM in the second season of a two-year deal. Lowe is set to earn $5.5MM and has surrendered three runs in his 3 2/3 innings, albeit with a more encouraging 5-to-1 K/BB ratio. Obviously any spring stats — especially those accumulated through March 10 — should be taken with a large grain of salt, but none of that trio performed well in 2016, either.
- The Indians’ payroll will surpass $100MM for the first time this year, writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post, who notes that the lack of holes on a roster with a still-limited payroll — Cleveland’s projected $124MM payroll will rank in the bottom half of the league — is fairly remarkable. Cleveland is trying to determine who will claim the final spot in the bullpen, who will serve as a utility infielder and who will claim the remaining reserve outfield role, but beyond that the roster is largely set. General manager Mike Chernoff noted to Sherman that his team typically wouldn’t be able to pursue a marquee name like Edwin Encarnacion, “…but having cost controllable guys allowed one big guy.”
- Michael Brantley will play in a five-inning simulated game — his third simulated contest of the week, writes Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. The Indians still don’t know exactly what they can expect of Brantley, though Hoynes spoke to manager Terry Francona quite a bit about Brantley’s progress and the team’s hopes. As Francona observed to Hoynes, if Brantley is able to return to his former self — a big if — Cleveland will have effectively added two dynamic middle-of-the-order bats to an already imposing lineup.