For those inclined to believe that Buck Showalter is the perfect man for the Phillies managerial opening, Dan Connolly of The Athletic has a small dose of historical cool water at the ready. In a piece entitled “Buck Showalter is the perfect fit for the Phillies, but there’s potential for a nightmarish ending“, Connolly paints a fine brushstroke portrait of what life in Philadelphia might be like with the veteran Showalter behind the team’s reins. While there are major pros to a potential Showalter hire in Connolly’s mind (including the skipper’s comfort working with stars and his facility with in-game strategy), the reporter draws an interesting parallel to the power dynamics that were present in Baltimore during Showalter’s time there. When he managed the Orioles, Showalter was known to meet with owner Peter Angelos on a frequent basis, which might have led to a strained–or, at least, compromised–hierarchy with Showalter’s titular boss in Dan Duquette. The Phillies, of course, have an owner in John Middleton who appears to be more actively involved than most, with Connolly going so far as to opine that Middleton is “running [the] show” in Philadelphia. How a Middleton-Showalter pairing might affect the position of Philadelphia GM Matt Klentak is a rumination worthy of a quiet Tuesday morning.
More notes from around the NL on the heels of an 8-1 Nationals victory in Game 3 of the NLCS…
- Speaking of that 8-1 ballgame from Monday evening: Mark Saxon of The Athletic feels like it might have seen outfielder Marcell Ozuna finally write himself out of the Cardinals plans moving forward (link). Saxon zooms in on a third-inning fielding gaffe committed by Ozuna last night that ultimately opened the gates on a four-run Nats frame, with the writer labeling the outfielder as “the fulcrum of another embarrassing night in this series of embarrassments for the Cardinals”. The play in question saw Ozuna in go into a pop-up slide in left field in an attempt to catch a flare off the bat of Anthony Rendon, with the ball ultimately popping out of the outfielder’s glove when his butt hit the ground. Though Saxon cites some Statcast data indicating that the ball should have been caught, manager Mike Schildt struck a supportive tone: “It’s not an easy play any time you have to leave your feet and go a distance and slide,” Shildt said. “It’s a play that he’s clearly capable of making, but it’s not a play you absolutely expect somebody to make.” It may be the result of a Game 3 hangover, but Saxon isn’t similarly convinced–in the writer’s mind, it isn’t likely Ozuna will be back with the Cards in 2020. Saxon cites Ozuna’s fundamental lapses, the club’s $138.7MM commitment to just nine players next season, and the looming presence of outfielder Dylan Carlson as factors in what he expects to be Ozuna’s impending free agent departure.
- “I don’t think it’s particularly controversial that I’d love to have both of them back,” said Brewers decision-maker David Stearns in regard to Yasmani Grandal and Mike Moustakas, in an article from Adam McCalvy of MLB.com (link). Both players are expected to decline their halves of mutual options for 2020, with McCalvy relaying that Moustakas’ agent, Scott Boras, described the latter’s $3 million buyout as a “formality”. There is no quote from Boras provided in the article, but, if true, it would indicate with certainty that the 31-year-old Moustakas is preparing to reenter a free agent market that has been notoriously unkind to him in recent years. Moustakas, who has hit 101 home runs over the last three seasons with a 110 combined wRC+, lingered long in the 2018 soup line before receiving a $6.5MM one-year pact with the Royals; 2019 saw him again settle for a one-year deal amounting to $10MM (after accounting for the “formality” of that buyout). This winter should provide a third attempt at the multi-year apple for Moustakas.