The Giants are exploring the addition of “a high-profile baseball operations executive” to their front office, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney reports (subscription required). The idea would be that this new hire would allow Brian Sabean to step back from some of the team’s day-to-day operations — Sabean’s resumption of this role last offseason was “regarded as only a temporary adjustment,” and Sabean would seemingly step back into his previous responsibilities as the team’s president of baseball operations. Olney’s report raises new questions about current Giants GM Bobby Evans, as there has already been speculation about his status for 2019, though obviously San Francisco could add a new voice to the front office mix without a major shakeup of the team’s baseball ops ladder.
Some more from around the NL…
- Dexter Fowler’s season was ended after he suffered a fractured foot on August 3, though it had already been a trying year for the Cardinals outfielder, as he tells Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Fowler hit a career-worst .180/.278/.298 over 334 PA, and while he said physical injuries weren’t to blame for his struggles, “I think it was more mental health” that led to the down year. Fowler had to deal with public comments from president of baseball operations John Mozeliak about his level of effort (Mozeliak apologized for citing only Fowler as part of a larger issue within the team) and a seeming rift with former St. Louis manager Mike Matheny. The Cards have thoroughly turned their season around since Mike Shildt took over as manager, and Fowler has been excited about his team’s progress and his future in St. Louis. “Shoot, I’m watching what’s happened and I’m excited for 2019….I think that’s going to be awesome. I look forward to being a part of that,” Fowler said.
- Josh Harrison and Jordy Mercer were both removed from today’s game in the middle of an inning, so the two veteran Pirates infielders could receive a round of applause from the home crowd in what is likely to be their final game at PNC Park in the black-and-gold. Mercer is a free agent, and Pittsburgh is expected to decline its $10.5MM club option on Harrison for 2019, leaving room for Adam Frazier and Kevin Newman expected to take over at second base and shortstop next year. Harrison told reporters (including Jerry Dipaola of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review) that he hasn’t yet considered leaving the Pirates, while Mercer said is open to re-signing with the team.
- The Pirates have suffered several late-season injuries that could leave those players (Gregory Polanco, Chad Kuhl, Edgar Santana, Joe Musgrove) sidelined for at least the first part of the 2019 season, which could impact the team’s offseason plans, Rob Biertempfel writes in a subscription-only piece for The Athletic. The statuses of Musgrove and Santana are still to be exactly determined, while the Bucs already know Kuhl will be out until 2020 due to Tommy John surgery and Polanco will be out until mid-April at the earliest following shoulder surgery.