In the wake of the Nationals’ dramatic NLDS victory over the Dodgers last night, it is perhaps fitting that October 10 marks another red-letter day in Washington baseball history….not to mention Minnesota baseball history. It was on this day back in 1924 that the Twins won their first World Series, though they were still several decades away from becoming the Twins, as the franchise played in D.C. as the Washington Senators from 1901-1960. The Senators beat the New York Giants in a dramatic Game Seven that lasted 12 innings, with the legendary Walter Johnson earning the win after tossing four shutout innings in relief. 1924 marked the franchise’s only Series title in Washington, as the Senators/Twins wouldn’t again win it all until 1987.
Some items from around the AL Central…
- Though Alex Colome is projected to earn $10.3MM in salary next year, the Athletic’s James Fegan (subscription required) doesn’t think the high arbitration price tag will prevent the White Sox from bringing the closer back in 2020. GM Rick Hahn indicated after the season that the performances of Colome and Aaron Bummer as Chicago’s late-game duo “makes you feel real good about their spot going forward,” and Fegan notes that the Sox likely wouldn’t have acquired Colome from the Mariners last winter if they were worried about paying him in 2020, given how save totals predictably lead to big raises for closers in the arbitration process. Both advanced metrics (.215 BABIP, and a 2.64 wOBA that was far below his .324 xwOBA) and ERA predictors (4.08 FIP, 4.61 xFIP, 4.38 SIERA) indicated that Colome was rather fortunate to post his 2.80 ERA over 61 innings last season, so a non-tender or a trade is perhaps feasible if the White Sox felt a bigger course correction was on the way next year.
- Jose Ramirez is open to playing either second base or third base next season, though he has told Indians management that he doesn’t want to shift between the two positions, Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes. Ramirez played exclusively at third base in 2019 and spent most of his time at the hot corner in 2018, though he moved over to second base late in the year to accommodate the Tribe’s acquisition of Josh Donaldson. Ramirez also more or less split time between third (736 2/3 innings) and second (577 1/3 innings) in 2017 due to an injury to regular second baseman Jason Kipnis. Over the last three seasons in question, Ramirez has been an above-average defender at third base as per the UZR/150 and Defensive Runs Saved metrics, while UZR/150 has been a bit less impressed with his work as a second baseman, though the 27-year-old is still overall pretty solid at the keystone. “I think we’re comfortable that Jose can play both at a premium defensive quality,” manager Terry Francona said. “I agree with him, going back and forth is hard, especially at this point in his career.” Ramirez’s ability to handle either infield role gives Cleveland some flexibility in pursuing infield help this winter, assuming the team doesn’t rely on some combination of Yu Chang, Mike Freeman, Christian Arroyo, or Andrew Velazquez to handle the other position in 2020.
- The Twins are already planning to chase some front-of-the-rotation pitchers this offseason, and Jim Souhan of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune opines that outfielder Eddie Rosario could be “the logical trading chip” to try and land an arm. Rosario hit .276/.300/.500 with 32 homers over 590 PA for Minnesota last season, and he has 83 total home runs over the last three seasons. After posting a decent .326 OBP in 2017-18, however, Rosario had much more difficult getting on base this past year, and he also didn’t have a good defensive year as a left fielder (though he did fare much better defensively in 2018). Trading Rosario would result in a projected starting outfield of Max Kepler, Byron Buxton, and Marwin Gonzalez, with top prospects Royce Lewis, Alex Kirilloff and Trevor Larnach all potentially available as late-season call-ups. More veteran outfield depth could also be added at a lower price than Rosario, who is projected to earn a hefty arbitration raise to $8.9MM, up significantly from his $4.19MM salary in 2019.