First-year Giants President of Baseball Ops Farhan Zaidi isn’t feeling the pressure of the offseason quite yet, in part because the offseason action has shifted later and later into the winter. Zaidi doesn’t care to comment publicly about any specific trade talks or which free agents the team might be targeting, but he knows the San Francisco fanbase is growing restless, per Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle. Madison Bumgarner remains their biggest trade chip, but assuming the World Series hero stays in the Bay, relievers Tony Watson and Will Smith have drawn the most interest around the league. Still, their new President is in no rush to jump the market. Despite coming to SF from LA, Zaidi is a small market strategist who spent his first ten years in the game with Oakland before working under long-time Rays’ GM Andrew Friedman. Large market teams like SF and LA have poached front office personnel from smaller markets in part to better avoid the exact type of splashy free agent signing that fans crave. All signs point to Zaidi bringing the Dodger model to the Bay – which isn’t huge payrolls and headline free agents – it’s creative, innovative “small market” thinking first, and dipping into the reserves of their large market second.
- The Milwaukee Brewers are fairly confident that offseason signee Cory Spangenberg has room to grow in a couple areas of his game, per Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. GM David Stearns sees some unrealized power potential in the 6’0″ infielder, but the more actionable area of growth for Spangenberg is his versatility. He mostly played second base and third base as a Padre, with occasional spurts in the outfield (in 2017, he got 25 starts in left field). Stearns sees Spangenberg continuing with outfield work, as well as picking up some time at shortstop in the spring. Defensive metrics haven’t raved about Spangenberg’s work at any position, but even if he’s only a passably below-average defender, there’s something to be said for being passably below-average all over the diamond.
- The hallways at Orioles HQ aren’t exactly bustling with activity, but the analytics, coaching and front office teams are beginning to fill out. With less than six weeks before the opening of Spring Training, GM Mike Elias is comfortable being in the early stages of building, shaping and refining those departments. Nonetheless, Baltimore’s front office team is – in the fateful parlance of the Emperor – fully armed and operational, per Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun. After clearing out much of the staff both before and after the hiring of Elias, those remaining staffers have been given more responsibility until key vacancies are filled. Koby Perez takes over one of those key roles as the new senior director of international scouting, a position with greater import in Baltimore than perhaps any other organization in the league, as his responsibilities include the management of their robust international bonus pool money. Though they have until June 15th to spend that money, Elias and Perez recognize that the international scouting process is typically a years-long, not a months-long process, per MLB.com’s Joe Trezza, and they are in no rush to spend to the limit. Though they can spend close to $6MM in that area, they are by no means required to, and there are many areas internally where that sum of money could be put to use.