Rising Twins prospect Alex Kirilloff is now represented by Scott Boras, Dan Hayes of The Athletic reports (subscription link) as part of a look at the super-agent’s commentary on the Minnesota organization. That puts both of the organization’s top pre-MLB players (Kirilloff and Royce Lewis) in the Boras stable. A burgeoning book of business with the Twins did not stop Boras from tweaking the club, though if anything it seemed more a playful jab to set up a free-agent or prospect promotional pitch. The Twins had a rough 2018 campaign, to be sure, but have loads of free payroll to work with and some exciting young talent reaching or nearing the majors. Their offseason remains a fascinating one to watch.
Elsewhere in the American League …
- Don’t look for the Tigers to return to their ways as big players on the free-agent market just yet, Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press writes. Asked whether the Tigers could return to playing at the top of the open market, general manager Al Avila told Fenech, “One of these days,” before adding that the timing of such a return could be deduced “without me telling you.” Fenech goes on to suggest that the Tigers may not reemerge as prime free-agent players until the 2020-21 offseason, when the contract of Jordan Zimmermann is off the books and when much of the team’s increasing crop of minor league talent has begun to surface in the big leagues. For the time being, though, Tigers fans shouldn’t get their hopes up with dreams of splashy additions like Bryce Harper, Manny Machado or Patrick Corbin.
- Cole Hamels’ success after being acquired by the Cubs has helped push the Rangers to re-evaluate their analytical practices, writes Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. General manager Jon Daniels acknowledged that he talked to Hamels himself about the post-trade improvements and explained to Wilson that the organization will make some additions to get back up to speed in terms of data utilization. “There’s probably five or eight clubs that are ahead of the rest of the industry in certain areas,” said Daniels. “We’ve been in that group before, and we are in certain areas, but on the R&D side we’re not. That’s an area we’re going to look to improve.” As Wilson points out, it’s perhaps no surprise that the Rangers’ two biggest hires of the offseason — manager Chris Woodward and assistant general manager Shiraz Rehman — came from industry leaders in that regard. Woodward was the Dodgers’ third base coach, while Rehman was plucked from the Cubs’ front office.
- The Athletics announced their player development staff for the upcoming season, and there are a few familiar names joining the minor league coaching ranks. Former big league third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff has been named the hitting coach for Oakland’s Short-Season Class-A affiliate in Vermont — his first professional coaching assignment. Meanwhile, 2004 AL Rookie of the Year Bobby Crosby will be a general coach on the Double-A Midland staff. And former big league righty Chris Smith, whose career came to a close after pitching for the 2017 A’s, will embark on his coaching career by serving as the organization’s pitching coach for Class-A Advanced Stockton.