Athletics assistant GM/director of player personnel Billy Owens has been rumored as “a strong candidate” to become the next Giants general manager, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle writes. Farhan Zaidi, the Giants’ newly-hired president of baseball operations, knows Owens well from their time together in Oakland’s front office, and Zaidi is one of several voices in Slusser’s piece who praise Owens’ ability to scout and identify talent (not to mention describe that talent in legendarily elaborate scouting reports). If there is one flaw in Owens’ resume, it could be his love of scouting prevents him from amassing the type of executive experience necessary to run a front office. That said, Owens has been sought after by other organizations, and he interviewed for the Phillies’ GM job in 2015, leading to speculation that he could eventually leave Oakland for a higher-profile job — perhaps even reuniting with Zaidi in the Bay Area.
Here’s more from around the baseball world…
- Marcus Stroman’s blunt comments about the Blue Jays’ offseason seem to hint at an eventual parting of the ways between the team and the right-hander, Sportsnet.ca’s Shi Davidi opines. Stroman’s frankness probably didn’t help his chances at either a contract extension or a trade, though if he has a good first half and erases any question marks lingering from his mediocre 2018 season, Stroman will surely become an intriguing trade chip for the Jays at the deadline.
- The Red Sox plan to use Steven Wright as a full-time reliever this season, MLB.com’s Ian Browne writes, with manager Alex Cora casting Wright as a potential multi-inning threat. At first glance, a knuckleballer would seem like an unusually durable option to relegate to the bullpen, though Wright is just happy to be pitching in any capacity after two injury-plagued seasons. There is also the possibility for higher-profile assignments within Boston’s pen, given the team’s lack of an established closer.
- Gordon Beckham chose to sign the Tigers over some offers from other teams because they offered the best shot at regular Major League at-bats, the veteran infielder told Chris McCosky of the Detroit News and other reporters. The idea of more time in the minors isn’t appealing to Beckham, to the point that “if it doesn’t work out here, I might be done” with his ten-year MLB career, though he also noted that better health and a revamped swing have him feeling optimistic about the coming season.
- Right-hander Rookie Davis is close to a new minor league contract and Spring Training invite with an unknown team, The Athletic’s Emily Waldon reports (Twitter link), adding that the Pirates have been in touch with Davis. Perhaps best known as one of the prospects sent by the Yankees to the Reds as part of the Aroldis Chapman trade in December 2015, Davis tossed 27 innings for Cincinnati in 2017 and then underwent hip surgery that October. He pitched only 26 1/3 innings in the Reds’ farm system last season and became a free agent in November.