Major League Baseball announced some changes within its baseball operations department, including the hirings of the newly-retired Gregor Blanco and Nick Hundley. Some other familiar names will be taking on new roles, as head of baseball operations Joe Torre will now be a special assistant to commissioner Rob Manfred. Taking over Torre’s former job as the head of the ops department is former right-hander Chris Young, whose new title is senior VP of on-field operations, initiatives and strategy. This portfolio covers, as per the league’s press release, “issues that affect play on the field, including oversight of umpiring, playing rules and regulations, on-field standards and discipline, pace of play and other special projects.” Young has worked for the league since May 2018, coming on the heels of a 17-year pro career that included 1297 2/3 innings pitched over parts of 13 MLB seasons.
More from around the baseball world….
- Some of the top outfield prospects in the 2020-21 international draft class are profiled by Baseball America’s Ben Badler, who also details which teams are expected to sign these players on July 2. The Reds, Pirates, Red Sox, and Rangers are all thought to have seven-figure bonuses lined up for four players from the Dominican Republic, though the Astros are reportedly ready to pay what may be the biggest bonus given to any player in the 2020-21 class — a deal in the neighborhood of $4MM to 21-year-old Cuban outfielder Pedro Leon. Because of his age, Leon is already eligible to sign, though he will wait until the opening of the next July 2 window because most teams have exhausted most or all of their funds from their 2019-20 international signing pools. The int’l market will take on added importance for the Astros over the next two years, as the club’s pipeline of top young talent will be limited after losing their top two picks in both the 2020 and 2021 amateur drafts as part of their punishment for the sign-stealing scandal.
- The Royals didn’t waste time in their pursuit of Maikel Franco, as assistant GM Rene Francisco called Franco the day after the Phillies non-tendered the third baseman, Lynn Worthy of the Kansas City Star writes. Franco and the Royals agreed to a one-year, $2.95MM deal within a few weeks’ time of Francisco’s early expression of interest, and Franco has since been diligently working with Royals coaches to overhaul his approach at the plate. Rather than the grounder-heavy results that defined so much of his stint in Philadelphia, Franco is putting a particular focus on getting the ball in the air.