A quick look around the National League…
- The 2019 season was surprisingly pedestrian for Cardinals third baseman Matt Carpenter, a normally excellent producer who fell flat after the team signed him to a two-year, $39MM extension in April. Carpenter stepped to the plate 492 times and hit a mediocre .226/.334/.392 with 15 home runs, giving him the lowest wRC+ (95) and fWAR (1.2) he has posted over a full season since debuting in 2011. But Carpenter, who will turn 34 later this month, seemingly hasn’t lost the confidence of Cardinals brass. ”‘Carp’ obviously will have a better season, we expect. He’s highly motivated,” chairman Bill DeWitt said this week (via Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch). President of baseball operations John Mozeliak echoed that sentiment, saying the Cardinals’ confidence in Carpenter is “high” and calling this year “an outlier.” Of course, the Cardinals don’t have much choice but to publicly show faith in Carpenter, whom they’re likely stuck with because of the money left on his contract and his no-trade clause.
- As of last week, Royals quality control coach Pedro Grifol was reportedly one of the finalists to become the Giants’ next manager. That no longer seems to be the case, though. Grifol is now completely out of the race, according to the San Francisco Chronicle’s John Shea, who names ex-Phillies manager Gabe Kapler, current Astros bench coach Joe Espada and Rays bench coach Matt Quatraro as the last candidates standing. Grifol, Kapler, Espada and Quartaro make up four of 10-plus candidates who have interviewed with the Giants, per Shea. There’s no deadline to hire a new skipper, however, and with the Giants one of just two teams without a manager, there’s seemingly no reason to rush.
- The Mets negotiated with relievers Daniel Hudson and Jake Diekman when they were free agents a year ago, Ken Davidoff of the New York Post reports. The club ultimately didn’t land either, instead watching Hudson sign with the Angels on a minor league contract and Diekman land with the Royals for a guaranteed $2.75MM. Hudson then wound up with the Blue Jays and finished the season as a member of the Nationals, with whom he emerged as one of many key cogs during their improbable World Series run. Diekman concluded the campaign with the Athletics, who traded for him in July. Now that Hudson and Diekman are back on the open market, the Mets – who remain in need of competent relievers – could again push for one or both, though there’s no indication they plan on doing so.