Within his latest AL Notes column, FanRag’s Jon Heyman writes that Royals GM Dayton Moore doesn’t appear to be going anywhere despite rumors about him possibly taking over the Braves’ front office. Moore, who cut his teeth in the front office world as a Braves exec, has been an oft-rumored replacement for John Coppolella in Atlanta following his resignation as general manager.
In other Royals news, the team is planning to give a qualifying offer to center fielder Lorenzo Cain, though the team hasn’t firmly decided on that option just yet, per Heyman. It seems like a no-brainer in my view. Despite the fact that Cain will be 32 next season, he hit .300/.363/.440 season at the plate with15 homers and swiped 26 bases while playing elite center-field defense in 2017. The Royals undoubtedly expect Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas to reject QOs, so the minimal risk of Cain accepting would hardly put an exorbitant strain on payroll, though it’d limit their maneuverability for the remainder of the winter. Cain should be able to shatter that mark even with draft compensation attached to him. Heyman also notes that hitting coach Dale Sveum will now be the team’s bench coach, replacing the departed Don Wakamatsu. As such, the Royals are on the hunt for a new pitching coach and a new hitting coach to step into Sveum’s spot.
A few more items of note…
- Though payroll is always an issue for the Rays, they’re nonetheless expected to make righty Alex Cobb an $18.1MM qualifying offer, per Heyman. The 30-year-old logged a career-high 179 1/3 innings in his first full season back from Tommy John surgery, pitching to a 3.66 ERA with 6.4 K/9, 2.2 BB/9 and a 47.8 percent ground-ball rate. Cobb should draw widespread interest, though I’d personally imagine that the fact that he’s yet to ever reach even 180 innings in a single season (to say nothing of 2017’s diminished strikeout rate) will limit his marketability to some extent. Still, Cobb should be able to score a more lucrative multi-year deal, and it’s difficult to imagine him accepting a QO.
- There’s a belief that former Cubs general manager Jim Hendry, currently a special assistant with the Yankees, could be brought over to the Marlins by Derek Jeter, Heyman reports in his NL roundup. He’d work in baseball operations department under president of baseball ops Michael Hill, per Heyman, and while this particular report doesn’t specify a role, MLB Network’s Peter Gammons referred to Hendry as the “anticipated GM” in a column yesterday. Even if Hendry were to assume that title, however, Hill’s status as president of baseball ops would presumably still make him the top decision-maker for the Marlins.
- The Braves were leaning toward a managerial change before last week’s scandal with now-former GM John Coppolella, Heyman reports. Internal candidates Bo Porter and Ron Washington, both former big league managers, were the leading candidates to take over the dugout, and Heyman writes that one of the two would “likely” have been handed that job. Instead, Brian Snitker will keep his post. Meanwhile, with Moore likely to remain loyal to the Royals, some candidates that are “in the mix,” per Heyman, include former Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington, former Marlins general manager Dan Jennings and current Nationals assistant GM Doug Harris.
- Also on the subject of the Braves, Heyman writes in his NL Notes roundup that the team is waiting for R.A. Dickey to determine whether he wants to play in 2018 or retire. Atlanta would be “happy” to pick up his $8MM option for the 2018 season after he ably served as an innings eater and a veteran mentor to the team’s young pitchers.
- Though Jayson Werth is 38 years of age and has dealt with injuries in recent years, the well-respected veteran doesn’t appear to have any inclination to call it a career after his seven-year, $126MM contract with the Nationals expires this season. Per Heyman, Werth has stated that he’d like to play another three or four years, at the least, before retiring from the game. Werth struggled in his return from a left foot injury this season but had hit .262/.367/.446 with eight homers, five doubles, a triple and four steals through 196 plate appearances before landing on the shelf in early June.