Some notes from the American League:
- George Springer and Michael Brantley will be two of the top free agents on the market this offseason. Astros general manager James Click confirmed the organization will look into bringing both players back, but he also cautioned that the club has to “balance the present and the future” (via Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle). Click pointed to the broad financial uncertainty throughout the sport thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, while expressing a more general desire to avoid “a series of short-sighted moves that (would) put us in a bad position for the long term.” If Springer and/or Brantley were to depart, the outfield would have to be addressed in some way, with Kyle Tucker the only in-house replacement locked into an everyday role. Houston will certainly make a qualifying offer to Springer, at least guaranteeing themselves draft compensation if the sides don’t agree on a deal. The QO decision on Brantley will be a tougher call.
- There’s more certainty on the Astros’ coaching staff than there is in the outfield. Manager Dusty Baker confirmed to reporters (including Jake Kaplan of the Athletic) the entire staff is invited back for 2021. Baker himself is under contract next season by virtue of Houston’s exercising his club option in July. Bench coach Joe Espada, hitting coaches Álex Cintrón and Troy Snitker, and pitching coach Brent Strom headline Baker’s assistant group.
- Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier suffered a wrist injury when he was hit by a pitch in Game 3 of the ALCS. He’ll be a full-go for the World Series, he told reporters (including Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times). That’s not particularly surprising, since the 30-year-old returned to Tampa Bay’s starting lineup for Game 7 against Houston. The three-time Gold Glove winner has been an integral part of the Rays’ superlative team defense this postseason.
- The Orioles will have to decide whether to add infielder Rylan Bannon to their 40-man roster in advance of this winter’s Rule 5 draft. In an effort to improve his chances of cracking the roster, Bannon is expanding his defensive repertoire, as Rich Dubroff of Baltimore Baseball details. “I’m (at instructional league) to work on second base stuff, and kind of surprising, (Friday) was my second day of working on a little bit of catching stuff,” Bannon said. The 24-year-old started 37 minor-league games at the keystone in 2019, compared with 84 starts at third. He has never lined up behind the plate. Part of the five-player return from the Dodgers in the Manny Machado trade, Bannon combined for a .266/.345/.421 line between Double-A and Triple-A last season.
- The Rangers hope to fill their pitching coach vacancy by the conclusion of the World Series, reports T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com. That individual is expected to come from within the organization, Sullivan adds. Texas parted ways with former pitching coach Julio Rangel earlier this month.