Let’s check in on a few teams from the majors’ Central divisions…
- A month after their season ended, the Pirates made the surprising decision to fire general manager Neal Huntington on Monday. There are already at least a few potential replacements for Huntington, per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Jason Mackey, who names Blue Jays senior vice president, player personnel Tony LaCava, Yankees scout Marc DelPiano and Brewers assistant GM Matt Arnold as names who could be in the running. Whether the Pirates hire a member of that group or someone else, that person will be taking over a small-market club that has come under fire for its lack of spending. Owner Bob Nutting addressed the criticism Monday, telling Bill Brink of the Post-Gazette and others, “The idea that we are hoarding cash as a team is simply not accurate, and we will find a more compelling and complete way to make sure that that is an issue that simply is not on the table.” Newly named team president Travis Williams stated the Pirates hope to “model ourselves after” clubs in similar markets that have been able to consistently succeed despite financial disadvantages.
- The Royals “will be as aggressive as payroll will allow” when it comes to addressing their bullpen this offseason, Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com writes. Left-hander Jake Diekman, whom the Royals traded to the Athletics in July, could be one target for Kansas City, per Flanagan. Diekman enjoyed his time in KC, which is close to his native Nebraska, and will wind up back on the free-agent market if the A’s go the expected route of buying out his $5.75MM mutual option for $500K. Diekman’s control totally failed him in Oakland this season, but the hard-throwing 32-year-old was at least a legitimate source of strikeouts as a member of the Royals, with whom he posted a 4.75 ERA with 13.6 K/9 and 5.0 BB/9 across 41 2/3 innings.
- The Indians have promoted Brian Sweeney to bullpen coach, per Paul Hoynes of cleveland.com. He’ll will take over for Scott Atchison, whom manager Terry Francona dismissed earlier this month. The 45-year-old Sweeney’s a former professional right-hander who will enter his third season as a member of Cleveland’s coaching staff in 2020.
Sweeney was promoted from what coaching position to bullpen coach?
Lol! If you go to the Tribe’s website it just lists him as “Major League Coach”. Must have been a super secret position 🙂
Unless it was like extended spring training backup hitting/throwing coach or some bs like that
I’m torn on the Bob Nutting situation. The Yinzers around here think that a new owner will all of the sudden mean the Pirates won’t be a small market team anymore, that’s not the case. But for the life of me, I can’t see why the Pirates can’t keep payroll pace with similar markets such as Cleveland, Milwaukee, and Minneapolis. I see no reason why the Pirates can’t hold a payroll in the 110-120 range, which would be record highs for the franchise. A $70 mil payroll when you claim that you’re not rebuilding certainly raises eyebrows.
Meanwhile, Nutting is eyeing the $40-50 million payrolls of the A’s and Rays…
“I think we need to change the discussion from ‘payroll equals success,’” Nutting said.
The Mark Cuban interview of this past summer resonates in my mind when I think of Nutting. To Cuban at least, he’s making a large profit here and would be crazy to sell the club. That said, it’s hard to view anything he does right now as being more than just providing window dressing for an angry fan base. I mean, why would wins and losses matter—why would lower attendance even matter—when your bottom line looks so good?
I don’t imagine there are many Billy Beane types out there, and they certainly wouldn’t come cheaply. The GM situation is horrible and the search for a manager looks to be a train wreck, as well
I’m sure Nutting’s main concern is whether he said the right things in one of his rare interviews yesterday
Cuban also has said that he really has no interest in buying the team even if it would become available. That speaks volumes to me as well. Cuban must not feel the need to deficit to have a consistent winner on the field either.. There was an national AP sports writer on the radio the other day and was talking about baseball payrolls and the impending FA class. He remarked that most of the owners are not inclined to deficit spend anymore so it is not just Nutting. apparently.
PS can’t remember the name of the writer. Wish I could so I could google and see if there is a link to his assertion about owners not wanting to deficit spend any more.
Good points. The issue of deficit spending is noteworthy in that I’m sure we’d be floored by the amount of profit each owner is getting each year. Has it finally gotten to the point where salaries are radically affecting bottom lines, even where the elites like the Yanks and Dodgers are concerned?
It will be interesting. Once the genie is out of the bottle—and salaries certainly are one helluva genie—just how do you put it back?
In light of the topic here, it’s incredible that the Nutting ownership group was rated as one of the 10 or 15 most profitable. You’d think that throwing a little more into the salary, scouting and player development pots would be akin to the-investing in your business. Guess I’m a dinosaur
If a team can’t keep a 100 million dollar payroll, than the team needs to be moved or owner removed.
He’s not wrong in saying spending money doesn’t equate to success. Spending money in the right places does though. You need to have the Research team and scouting team will funded. As well as your player development/ coaching team. You know the organizational infrastructure.
If his take is Spending money on free agents doesn’t equate to success I’d agree. FA is best used as a supplement to your core roster. If you’re relying on free agents to be the core of your team you’re likely already screwed. I’m not sure that the Pirates throwing 100 million bucks per year to free agents right now would solve their problems. Even if he was willing.
The problem with Pittsburgh is that they clearly don’t have the scouting team and/or the player development/coaching squad that other top clubs do. Because they’ve gotten absolutely taken to work on the last 2 major deals they made. When you let a Glasnow, Meadows, and Cole go for the Return they did it’s just absolutely franchise crushing.
That was a ton of untapped potential that they simply did not know how to tap into or what to fix. I don’t know if the FO or the coaching staff is most to blame for that. .
As a long time Bucco fan, it is infuriating to me that this discussion continually is posited as an either/or proposition. Nutting needs to change the way the organization does business with regards to drafting, developing, coaching, etc. AND he needs to spend more money on free agents, extensions etc.
Also, if he meant what he said yesterday, he must become a vocal, ardent advocate for a salary cap/floor. If he does not, well, same old, same old.
The Pirates have been vocal on wanting a salary cap/floor. However, at least half of the league has had no interest in such a thing. That may change as I stated earlier, word has it that many other owners are not wishing to deficit spend on player salaries any longer.
That’s because it cuts into their profits. Nobody is losing money in the MLB Owners Club.
Not that long ago, many teams were willing to deficit spend if they thought they were close. No one seems to be as willing anymore. Yes, teams like the Pirates can spend more but they will never be able to compete for the bigger name and of course bigger salary players. Many teams can’t Even teams that used to be heavy weights in the baseball world in talent and spending, like the Reds and the Cards really do spend huge anymore. The Cards have gotten very good at drafting and trading. They are not big players in the FA market anymore. Only a handful of teams that have huge local TV contracts can afford to spend big in the FA market. year in and year out. So even if the lower tier teams spend more cash, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they can compete for any divisions let alone league titles or championships..
What’s not mentioned in the Cleveland news is that Ruben Niebla has been added to the major league coaching staff. I wonder how this will affect the development of their minor league pitchers.
Also, could this be the next step in his ascent to taking over pitching coach duties when Carl Willis retires?