Let’s check in on some of the American League’s highest-profile clubs…
- Major League Baseball handed down its decision on Boston’s sign-stealing scandal from its World Series-winning season in 2018 a couple weeks ago, stripping the Red Sox of their second-round pick this year and suspending scout/replay coordinator J.T. Watkins for the upcoming campaign. Count designated hitter J.D. Martinez among those who are not pleased with Watkins’ short-term ban. The superstar slugger told Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe, “They just ruined this guy’s career with no evidence.” In regards to the overall punishment, Martinez said to Abraham: “If they went to court with that, it would get thrown out. There was nothing there. The judge would laugh.”
- Speaking of teams that have recently been embroiled in sign-stealing scandals … Astros general manager James Click succeeded Jeff Luhnow atop the front office in the offseason as a result of the prior regime’s transgressions. Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle profiles Click, how he has adjusted to the job, how the rookie GM’s trying to work through the coronavirus and how he’s attempting to change the culture of a franchise in turmoil. As you’d expect, Click has stayed in touch with owner Jim Crane and new manager Dusty Baker during the pandemic. Regarding the Astros as a whole, Click said to Rome: “I have a better feel for the organization now. While it’s not ideal to do it remotely, it is certainly something that can be done. It’s hard to say how much more of a feel I have for the organization, but definitely more, and I’m hoping they also have a feel for me. We’re all still getting to know each other.”
- As we covered last week, the Yankees could lose one of their MVPs, infielder DJ LeMahieu, when free agency opens next offseason. Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News argues that they shouldn’t risk it, writing that the Yankees need to do all they can to keep the soon-to-be 32-year-old LeMahieu from hitting the market with an extension. LeMahieu stated in March that he and the Yankees haven’t engaged in “serious” negotiations, so it’s unclear how much of a priority he is for New York. However, you can’t go against Ackert’s point that he’s a key part of the team’s current roster. LeMahieu played all over the Yankees’ infield after signing a two-year, $24MM contract going into last season, slashed .327/.375/.518 with 26 home runs and 5.4 fWAR in 655 plate appearances, and was in the running for AL MVP honors.