Here are the highlights from Nick Cafardo’s latest column with the Boston Globe:
- In this year’s Arizona Fall League, MLB could consider using earpieces allowing direct communication between managers, pitchers and catchers, Cafardo writes. Such a move would be designed to help prevent sign-stealing, while also improving the pace of the game by reducing mound conferences.
- Cafardo notes the strange story developing in the Dominican Republic, where Raul Mondesi — the longtime big-league outfielder and father of the Royals infielder of the same name — has been sentenced to eight years in prison after being convicted of embezzling over $6MM from the city of San Cristobal during his time as mayor there. Mondesi had been involved in Dominican politics since the end of his big-league career in 2005.
- The Red Sox acknowledge that catcher is a “two-man position,” although manager John Farrell thinks Christian Vazquez could take 110 to 120 starts next year. That means Sandy Leon could lose playing time. Vazquez has batted .298/.336/.420 this season, including .336/.376/.493 in the second half. Leon hasn’t had a good season and is eligible for arbitration this winter, although it seems very likely, from my perspective, that the Red Sox will bring him back — Blake Swihart has struggled at Triple-A, and Leon is a strong framer who works well with pitchers, including ace Chris Sale.
- After playing under an extremely team-friendly contract for the last six seasons, Rockies catcher Jonathan Lucroy is heading into free agency on a down note, having batted just .258/.328/.353 this season (although it’s perhaps worth noting he’s posted a .390 OBP since heading to Denver in late July). Still, Lucroy is only 31 and will likely get a multi-year deal, given his track record and his reputation for terrific work behind the plate. “He’s a solid receiver and he handles a pitching staff well. Those are the two most important things,” a scout tells Cafardo. “The offense is baffling because he’s always been one of the best at his position. You have to take the leap that part will come back.”
- The Royals could attempt to keep free-agent-to-be Lorenzo Cain this winter, Cafardo writes. At last check, it seemed unlikely the Royals could keep Cain. As Cafardo notes, Cain will turn 32 shortly after the start of the 2018 season. It’s unclear how the significant contract that will likely be required to retain Cain would fit into the Royals’ plans.
- The Orioles aren’t likely to exercise lefty Wade Miley’s $12MM option, Cafardo writes. That means they’d pay him a $500K buyout. It’s unclear to what extent Cafardo is reporting on Miley’s status based on sources from within Miley’s camp or the Orioles organization, but either way, it does seem likely the Orioles will go in another direction — Miley has posted a 5.52 ERA, 8.0 K/9 and 5.2 BB/9 in what’s been a very rough 2017 season.