Colorado Rockies – MLB Trade Rumors Tue, 22 Jan 2019 03:03:40 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Trade Whispers Surrounding Nolan Arenado "Far Fetched" Sun, 20 Jan 2019 05:43:37 +0000 The latest from the trade market…

  • Giants third baseman Evan Longoria lamented the slow-moving free-agent process in an Instagram post Friday, criticizing the advent of new metrics which he believes devalue players. Regardless of whether you agree with Longoria’s stance, one doesn’t need analytics to figure out he disappointed in 2018, his first year with the Giants, as the former Rays superstar slashed a mere .244/.281/.413 in 512 plate appearances. On the heels of that subpar showing, San Francisco’s “gauging” interest in Longoria on the trade front, Jon Heyman of Fancred reports. Although, as Heyman points out, moving Longoria would be a significant challenge for the Giants. Not only is he a 33-year-old coming off a career-worst season, but Longoria has another $72.5MM left on the extension he signed as a Ray in 2012, and his contract also includes a $2MM assignment bonus in the seemingly improbable event the Giants trade him.
  • The Reds are reportedly close to acquiring Yankees right-hander Sonny Gray, but he had been on the Giants’ “radar,” Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets. For the most part, though, president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi is seeking controllable hurlers who come with minor league options, per Schulman, and Gray didn’t fit either category. Gray’s only under wraps for another year, though adding him would have meant a return to the Bay Area – where he largely held his own in Oakland from 2013-17 – as well as a reunion with former A’s executive Zaidi.
  • In a juicier Yankees-related note, GM Brian Cashman has held internal discussions regarding a potential offseason or in-season trade for Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado, according to Andy Martino of With Arenado entering his last year of control, in which he’ll earn between $24MM and $30MM, his eminently successful Colorado tenure may be nearing an end. However, trade whispers surrounding the soon-to-be 28-year-old are “far fetched,” Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post hears from multiple sources. Of course, if the Yankees want to upgrade at third before the season, 26-year-old free agent Manny Machado represents a younger, arguably better option than Arenado, but it doesn’t seem the Bombers are pursuing the former.
NL Notes: Rockies, Cardinals, Ozuna, Gregerson, Braves Sat, 19 Jan 2019 20:19:21 +0000 The latest from the National League . . .

  • Following Thursday’s departure of reliever Adam Ottavino to New York, the Denver Post’s Patrick Saunders spoke with GM Jeff Bridich about the state of affairs in the team’s bullpen. On the heels of last offseason’s months-long reliever binge, which saw the club devote nearly a third of its payroll space to the most fickle asset in the game, Colorado apparently couldn’t save room for dessert. The club didn’t offer Ottavino a contract, preferring instead to take its chances with the current crop: “We need last year’s decisions to pitch better than they did in 2018,” said Bridich. “It’s not a lack of talent or a sudden inability to perform well. But they need to do a better job.” Bryan Shaw, Mike Dunn, and Jake McGee, though, did exhibit a sudden inability to perform well, as the trio combined for an ugly -0.7 fWAR in 118 combined IP. Wade Davis, too, was hardly himself in ’18, stranding just 66.9% of baserunners – down from an MLB-best 87.5% from 2014-17 – en route to his lowest career output. Scott Oberg, who began the year in AAA despite being arguably being the team’s most effective pre-spree reliever, again paced the returning bunch, limiting homers at an elite rate and continuing to maintain a stellar walk rate.
  • President of baseball operations John Mozeliak provided injury updates on two key Cardinals during a Saturday chat with Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Outfielder Marcell Ozuna, who was bothered all season by a nagging shoulder injury that ultimately required surgery, hasn’t yet begun throwing, and the club “isn’t sure” if he’s taken hacks in the cage, either. Ozuna has spurned treatment at the club’s spring facility in favor of offseason rehab in his native Dominican Republic, which Mozeliak deemed “not ideal,” but the 28-year-old outfielder, who heavily regressed toward his established mean last season after a breakout 2017, has expressed no reservations about his outlook for the upcoming season. Reliever Luke Gregerson, who was limited to just 12 1/3 IP last season after a shoulder injury of his own, “hasn’t felt right” in offseason workouts, and the club isn’t anticipating much from him in Spring Training. The soon-to-be 35-year-old Gregerson has endured one of the game’s heaviest reliever workloads since debuting in 2009, accruing a staggering 611 IP over that span, and appearing in an MLB-high 623 games from 2009-17.
  • Per GM Alex Anthopoulos (h/t to the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Gabe Burns on Twitter), the Braves have made an outfield acquisition their top priority at current, and a move “may be resolved soon.” The club, of course, has been linked to still-available A.J. Pollock (who would cost the team a second-round draft pick if signed) and the recently-departed Nick Markakis to fill its vacancy at one outfield spot. With an overflow of starting pitching talent in the upper minors, the team seems better positioned than almost any to fill its hole via trade, but has thus far shown little interest in doing so. The Blue Jay version of Anthopoulos was an ardent mover of minor-league assets, shuffling talent in all directions when circumstances dictated, but has been far more cautious in his short time with Atlanta. With a still-unsettled rotation mix, perhaps this strategy is prudent, but distancing his club from the ravenous NL East pack will almost surely require a return to old ways for the young Braves GM.
Rockies Notes: Arenado, Outfield, Holliday Thu, 17 Jan 2019 17:15:09 +0000 Rockies GM Jeff Bridich largely declined an opportunity to discuss the state of the team’s contract talks with star third baseman Nolan Arenado, as’s Thomas Harding writes. Bridich says the club is content to “keep things under wraps, under our hat for now” as it continues to try to work out a 2019 salary — and, perhaps, a long-term deal — with the club’s top player. The general manager did say that the Rox will not “set any deadlines or ultimatums,” though that comment may relate more to the still-unresolved arbitration case than extension talks. Arenado and the team still need to bridge a $6MM gap to stave off a hearing, as he filed at $30MM against the team’s $24MM submission. It’s still anyone’s guess whether there’ll be any real traction in discussions on a lengthier accord, but it’ll unquestionably cost a pretty penny to get the 27-year-old to forego a chance at testing the open market next winter.

  • Also from Harding’s piece, Bridich stated that the Rockies “haven’t been overly aggressive” in the outfield market. Fans hoping for a reunion with Matt Holliday will be disheartened to see that the GM characterized the franchise icon as a tougher fit on the current roster than he was when he was signed late in the 2018 season and enjoyed a brief comeback tour. Presently, Charlie Blackmon and David Dahl look like locks for regular outfield work. Ian Desmond, Raimel Tapia and Noel Cuevas will also slot in around the outfield, though Cuevas has options remaining, so it seems conceivable that the Rox could make a move if a palatable bargain presents itself.
Rockies Re-Sign Sam Howard Mon, 14 Jan 2019 05:59:41 +0000
  • Also from Eddy, the Rockies re-signed left-hander Sam Howard to a minors deal, after originally non-tendering Howard at the start of December.  Howard was a third-round pick for the Rockies in 2014, and he made his Major League debut last season, tossing four innings over four games with Colorado. ranks Howard as the 24th-best prospect in the Rockies’ farm system, describing him as a potential fourth starter in the big leagues “if he can improve his slider and command.”
  • ]]>
    Players Avoiding Arbitration: National League Sat, 12 Jan 2019 18:15:47 +0000 The deadline for players and teams to exchange arbitration figures passed yesterday at 1pm ET, and there has been a landslide of settlements on one-year deals to avoid an arbitration hearing. We’ll track those settlements from the National League in this post. Once all of the day’s settlements have filtered in, I’ll organize them by division to make them a bit easier to parse.

    It’s worth mentioning that the vast majority of teams have adopted a “file and trial” approach to arbitration, meaning that once arbitration figures are exchanged with a player, negotiations on a one-year deal will cease. The two parties may still discuss a multi-year deal after that point, but the majority of players who exchange figures with their team today will head to an arbitration hearing.

    As always, all salary projections referenced within this post are courtesy of MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz, and we’ll also be updating our 2019 Arbitration Tracker throughout the day…

    Today’s Updates

    • Rounding out contract numbers for the St. Louis Cardinals, Dominic Leone will take home $1.26MM, Chasen Shreve will make $900K, and outfielder Marcell Ozuna will earn $12.25MM in his last season before free agency, per’s Mark Feinsand (via Twitter). Ozuna has the most high-impact potential as he looks to rebound from a still-productive season in 2018 that saw his power output hindered at times by a balky shoulder. He still managed 23 home runs and a .280/.325/.433 slash line while playing just about every day outside of a 10-day DL stint late in August.
    • The Diamondbacks came to terms with a slew of players, per Feinsand (via Twitter), including Matt Andriese for $920K, Steven Souza Jr. for $4.125MM, shortstop Nick Ahmed for $3.6625MM, and potential closer Archie Bradley for $1.83MM.
    • The Rockies and starting pitcher Jon Gray have come to an agreement on a $2.935MM deal, per Feinsand (via Twitter). Gray had an up-and-down 2018 that is generally considered to be more promising than the optics of his 5.12 ERA make it seem.
    • The Pirates have come to terms on one-year deals with both of their arbitration eligible players, per Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Left fielder Corey Dickerson signs for $8.5MM, and reliever Keone Kela takes home $3.175MM. It’s a small arb class for the Pirates, whose list will grow next season as players like Josh Bell, Jameson Taillon, and Joe Musgrove, among others, reach their first season of eligibility.
    • The Dodgers signed a couple of their remaining arbitration-eligible players yesterday, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale (Twitter links). Utility man Chris Taylor has a $3.5MM deal, while outfield Joc Pederson settled at $5MM.

    Earlier Updates

    Read more

    Unresolved 2019 Arbitration Cases Sat, 12 Jan 2019 15:15:14 +0000 Yesterday’s arbitration deadline wasn’t a firm date for agreeing to terms. Rather, it was the end of the period to negotiate before submitting numbers for possible hearings. Negotiations can continue thereafter, but teams and players will now have to defend their submission numbers if they can’t bridge the gap before a hearing. Baseball arb panels simply pick one side’s number; that aspect of the process is designed to force the parties to the bargaining table.

    [RELATED: MLBTR Arbitration Projections; MLBTR Arbitration Tracker]

    Here’s what we know thus far about the still-unresolved cases:

    Today’s Updates

    • The Yankees have yet to come to a deal with ace starter Luis Severino, and they may be heading to arbitration. The Yanks have submitted their bid at $4.4MM, while Severino has asked for $5.25MM, per USA Today’s Bob Nightengale (via Twitter).
    • Tommy Pham and the Rays have submitted their numbers for arbitration, per USA Today’s Bob Nightengale (via Twitter). Pham filed at $4.1MM while the Rays submitted a bid of $3.5MM. Pham has had no problem expressing his honest opinion about the Rays fanbase of late, and it will be interesting to see if he gets an equal portion of honest feedback in return in his arbitration hearing.
    • The Oakland A’s and their closer Blake Treinen have both submitted their numbers, with the team coming in at $5.6MM while Treinen files for $6.4MM, per Fancred’s Jon Heyman (via Twitter). It’s not a shock to see these sides far apart, given Treinen’s remarkable 2018 and how far above his usual standard of production last season’s numbers fell.
    • Washington Nationals filed at $1.725MM for newcomer Kyle Barraclough, who counters at $2MM, per Nightengale (via Twitter). The former Marlin was acquired in an uncommonly early offseason trade that sent international bonus pool money the Marlins’ way.
    • The Diamondbacks have only one player they did not reach an agreement with, lefty reliever T.J. McFarland. The Dbacks submitted a bid of $1.275MM, while McFarland is asking for $1.675MM, per Nightengale (via Twitter).
    • Alex Wood submitted $9.65MM for his 2019 salary, while his new club the Cincinnati Reds countered at $8.7MM, per Nightengale (via Twitter). Wood will be a free agent at season’s end.
    • The Detroit Tigers reached agreements with all of their arbitration eligible players except for right-handed starter Michael Fulmer. Fulmer comes in at $3.4MM with the team countering at $2.8MM, the difference being 600K, per Nightengale (via Twitter).
    • Ryan Tepera has filed for $1.8MM while the Blue Jays submitted their bid at $1.525MM, per Nightengale (via Twitter). Tepera has been a reliable bullpen arm for the Jays through his first four seasons. He has two more seasons of arbitration remaining, set to reach free agency in advance of the 2022 season.
    • Reserve outfielder Michael A. Taylor and the Washington Nationals are a 250K apart, per Nightengale (via Twitter). Seems like a rather small sum to quibble over in the grand scheme of things, but every cent counts right now in Washington, it seems. Taylor submitted a bid of $3.5MM, with the Nats countering at $3.25MM.

    Earlier Updates

    • Rockies star Nolan Arenado is headed for a record arb salary, unsurprisingly. The question is by how much. He has filed at a whopping $30MM, with the club countering at $24MM, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (via Twitter). Even the lower figure would represent a record. It doesn’t seem as if the sides will go to a high-stakes hearing on this one; Jeff Passan of tweets that the odds are good they’ll find common ground. MLBTR and contributor Matt Swartz projected Arenado to earn $26.1MM, though he also explained that it’s not hard to see that number swaying in either direction based upon a close examination of the (few relevant) comps.
    • Despite a monster 2018 season, Phillies righty Aaron Nola isn’t seeking to set a record first-year arb starter salary. (That belongs to Dallas Keuchel, at $7.25MM, when he was coming off of a Cy Young season.) Nola did file at a hefty $6.75MM, per Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia (via Twitter), while the club entered just $4.5MM. It’ll be interesting to see how this one plays out. The Keuchel salary represented a sea change for young starters, but few others have tested the process since. MLBTR’s projection system spit out a $6.6MM figure for Nola.
    • Righty Gerrit Cole filed at $13.5MM, while the Astros countered at $11.425MM, according to Jon Heyman of Fancred (Twitter link). Teammates Carlos Correa and Chris Devenski have also yet to agree to terms. MLBTR projected Cole to earn $13.1MM in his final arb season, Correa to check in at $5.1MM in his first arb year, and Devenski to take home $1.4MM his first time through the process.
    • Indians righty Trevor Bauer is seeking a $13MM payday, while the club will argue instead for $11MM, per Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer (via Twitter). The Cleveland org has long utilized a file-and-trial approach on a case-by-case basis. It’s not totally clear whether that’ll be the approach here, but as Hoynes notes, the sides did go to a hearing already last year. (Bauer won.) MLBTR projected a $11.6MM payday; Swartz also explained why he thought the model was likely in the right ballpark for Bauer in a detailed post.
    • Passan provides a list of other players who have yet to agree to terms and who could therefore still end up before a panel. There are fifteen in total, including those already noted above as well as Kyle Barraclough and Michael Taylor (Nationals), Michael Fulmer (Tigers), T.J. McFarland (Diamondbacks), Tommy Pham (Rays), Luis Severino (Yankees), Ryan Tepera (Blue Jays), Blake Treinen (Athletics), and Alex Wood (Reds).
    Players Avoiding Arbitration: Thursday Fri, 11 Jan 2019 02:51:58 +0000 The deadline for teams and players to exchange arbitration figures is tomorrow afternoon at 1pm ET. With the vast majority of teams now adopting a “file-and-trial” approach to arbitration — that is, halting negotiations on one-year contracts once figures have been exchanged and simply going to a hearing at that point — there will be a deluge of arbitration agreements in the next 24 hours. It’s a minor deadline day in terms of newsworthiness — outside of the largest cases, at least — as few arbitration cases will have a significant impact on their team’s overall payroll picture. From a broader perspective, though, the exchange of arb figures is perhaps more notable. With most or all of their arbitration cases out of the way, teams can focus more heavily on the trade and free-agent markets.

    As always, it’s interesting to refer back to MLBTR’s annual arbitration projections. Here are the day’s deals:

    • The Tigers will pay Shane Greene $4MM for the coming campaign, Murray tweets. Entering his second year of eligibility, the 30-year-old had projected at $4.8MM, owing largely to his strong tally of 32 saves. Despite appealing K/BB numbers, though, Greene finished the season with an unsightly 5.12 ERA.
    • Righty Nick Tropeano settled with the Angels at $1.075MM. (That’s also via Murray, on Twitter.) That falls well shy of his $1.6MM projection. The first-year arb-eligible hurler was not terribly effective in his 14 starts last year and has just over two hundred career frames in the big leagues, due in no small part to a long rehab owing to Tommy John surgery.

    Earlier Updates

    • Newly acquired outfielder Domingo Santana will earn $1.95MM in his first season with the Mariners, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports on Twitter. That’s just a touch below the $2.0MM that MLBTR & Matt Swartz had projected. The 26-year-old Santana swatted thirty long balls and had a productive overall 2017 season, but only received 235 plate appearances in the ensuing campaign — over which he hit five home runs and carried a .265/.328/.412 slash — before being dealt to Seattle.
    • The Angels are on the hook for $1,901,000 to rehabbing righty J.C. Ramirez, Robert Murray of The Athletic tweets. Ramirez will receive a nominal raise on his 2018 salary after requiring Tommy John surgery after just two starts.
    • Phillies righty Hector Neris has settled at $1.8MM, according to Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia (Twitter links). He had projected at $2.0MM but will settle for a bit less in his first season of arb eligibility. Right-handed starter Jerad Eickhoff, meanwhile, is slated to receive $975K. His projected first-year salary was much higher, at $1.7MM, but Eickhoff presented a tough case since he missed virtually all of his platform season with arm troubles.
    • Southpaw Ryan Buchter has agreed with the Athletics on a $1.4MM deal, Nightengale of reports on Twitter. That lands just a smidge over his $1.3MM projection. Soon to turn 32, Buchter worked to a sub-3.00 for the third-straight season in 2018, but only threw 39 1/3 innings while working as a lefty specialist.
    • Red Sox reliever Heath Hembree will receive a $1,312,500 salary next year, Alex Speier of the Boston Globe reports (Twitter link). Starter Steven Wright checks in just a shade higher, at $1.375MM, per Nightengale (via Twitter). Both players had projected in this range, with Swartz pegging $1.2MM for the former and $1.4MM for the latter. It’s Hembree’s first time through the process and Wright’s second.
    • First-time arb-eligible righty Scott Oberg settled with the Rockies for $1.3MM, according to Nightengale (via Twitter). It’s $100K over the projected rate for the 28-year-old hurler, who turned in far and away his most productive MLB season in 2018.
    • The Yankees have a $1.2MM deal in place with first baseman Greg Bird, Nightengale was first to tweet. Though he had projected a bit higher, at $1.5MM, Bird’s relatively robust number of home runs (31 total in 659 career plate appearances) were threatened to be overshadowed in a hypothetical hearing by his rough overall stats over the past two seasons. He’ll need to earn his way back into a larger share of playing time in 2019.
    • Infielder Travis Jankowski will earn $1.165MM with the Padres, per Murray (via Twitter). He projected at a heftier $1.4MM, but the Super Two qualifier will still earn a nice raise after his best season in the big leagues. Jankowski will be looking to crack 400 plate appearances for the first time in the season to come.
    • The Nationals have agreed to a $1MM contract with righty Joe Ross, Murray also tweets. Though Ross projected at $1.5MM for his first season of eligibility, that was based largely upon the innings he accumulated over the prior three seasons. Ross made it back from Tommy John surgery in time for only three outings in 2018.
    • A pair of backstops have also put pen to paper on new salaries. Curt Casali will earn $950K with the Reds, per Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer (Twitter link). John Ryan Murphy has a $900K agreement with the Diamondbacks, the elder Nightengale tweets. Casali, a Super Two, had projected for a $1.3MM salary, while Murphy projected at $1.1MM in his first arb year.
    Rockies Interested In Brian Dozier On Short-Term Deal Mon, 07 Jan 2019 00:54:16 +0000 The Rockies have interest in free agent second baseman Brian Dozier,’s Thomas Harding reports.  The club is only considering short-term options for Dozier, however, and even that type of contract might be questionable depending on the Rockies’ payroll.

    Dozier was one of the game’s best all-around second basemen from 2014-17, particularly in the final two years of that stretch when he hit .269/.349/.522 with 76 homers over 1396 plate appearances for the Twins.  Between that big bat, excellent baserunning and at least-average glovework, Dozier looked to be in line for a strong multi-year contract in free agency this winter before running into a rough 2018 campaign.  Dozier hit just .215/.305/.391 with 21 home runs over 632 PA with the Twins and Dodgers last season, with knee problems perhaps contributing to the down year.

    In the wake of such a season, the 31-year-old Dozier could be open to a short-term agreement (i.e. a one-year contract with a player option for 2020, or perhaps just a straight one-year deal) as something of a “pillow contract.”  He’d get a chance to re-establish his value this season and then re-enter free agency next winter with a much stronger case for a lucrative multi-year commitment.

    The Nationals and Brewers have both been linked to Dozier this winter, and both teams are in the market for a short-term answer at the keystone while a second baseman of the future (Carter Kieboom and Keston Hiura, respectively) waits in the wings for 2020.  The Rockies are somewhat in the same boat, as they currently have noteworthy prospects Garrett Hampson and Ryan McMahon slated for the bulk of second base duties this season, now that DJ LeMahieu is off to test his own free agent wares.  Since Colorado fully plans on contending next season, however, the team could prefer a more established second baseman, and in Dozier’s case, one that could end up being a major contributor if he returns to his old form.

    Even on a one-year guarantee, Dozier might still cost too much for the Rockies’ liking, especially since his market is reportedly “starting to heat up.”  Roster Resource already projects Colorado for a club-record Opening Day payroll of just under $151.9MM.  A big chunk of those funds could be covered by a potentially record-setting arbitration payday for superstar third baseman Nolan Arenado, though the bigger issue is the amount of money the Rockies have spent in recent years on underachieving free agents (i.e. Ian Desmond, Jake McGee, Bryan Shaw, Mike Dunn).  Beyond a second baseman, the Rockies could also need to spend to address their catching situation, plus a hole in the bullpen left behind by Adam Ottavino.  The Rockies seem like a prime candidate for a contract swap, or perhaps just a pure salary dump to free up money for Dozier or other additions.

    Latest On Adam Ottavino, Zach Britton Sun, 06 Jan 2019 00:11:33 +0000 6:11pm: Saunders notes that the Rockies did have discussions with Ottavino earlier in the offseason, but there’s “nothing imminent” now. Meanwhile, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News confirms the Rangers have had interest in Ottavino and Britton, though he doesn’t sense they’re “aggressively pursuing” either reliever.

    3:22pm: The Denver Post’s Patrick Saunders tweets that, contrary to a prior report, the Rockies are “not in the mix” for Ottavino. The team already shelled out three-year deals for Wade Davis, Bryan Shaw, Jake McGee, and Mike Dunn last offseason, so it didn’t figure to have much remaining in the bank for another high-AAV reliever.

    2:53pm: The Yankees “remain in talks” with relievers Adam Ottavino and Zach Britton, tweets Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, who adds that it’s “not out of the question” the club could bring both players aboard. Jon Heyman of Fancred hears similarly, tweeting that the club is “working” on the bullpen while waiting to hear back from Manny Machado.

    In a separate tweet, Heyman notes that the Rangers are also in the mix for top free-agent relievers and could be a serious contender for the services of Ottavino and Britton.

    The stopper-insatiable Yanks, who last year rode a series of game-shorteners to their first 100-win season since 2009, and already boast three of the league’s best in Aroldis Chapman, Dellin Betances, and Chad Green, seem hungry for more. Britton, acquired mid-season by New York from Baltimore last year, is reportedly seeking a four-year deal, which seems a bit rich for a 31-year-old on the heels of two injury shortened seasons.

    Britton’s grounder-heavy ways seem the last vestige from his 2014-16 peak with Baltimore, as the lefty induced a staggering 77.8% ground balls in his late-season stint with the Bombers. His bat-missing abilities, though, have showed little signs of life, with the former Oriole regressing to near his 7.41 K/9 career average in the last two seasons after striking out over ten per nine from 2015-16. The velocity, however, has remained mostly steady, at an average of 95.6 MPH, and could perhaps be what the club is banking on in the years to come.

    Ottavino, a New York City native, timed his career year perfectly last season, posting an outrageous 63 FIP-/52 ERA- in the wide open spaces of Coors Field, and striking out nearly 13 men per nine. With an unorthodox, cross-body delivery, the 33-year-old has been near-death on right-handed hitters in his career, surrendering a minuscule .273 wOBA (.346 vs LHH) against, and allowing just 0.75 HR/9 in the league’s most hitter-friendly park. His swinging strike rate of 12.1%, though, despite being well above his career average, didn’t rank among the league’s top 70 qualified relievers, which could be of concern, given the aging righty’s walk-heavy profile.

    The Rangers, who don’t appear to have any near-terms hopes of competing, are somewhat of a shocking entry to the upper reaches of the free-agent ’pen market. The club’s relievers, too, weren’t much to blame for another poor showing in 2018, as the unit posted above-average park-adjusted marks (93 ERA-, 96 FIP-, 99 xFIP-) across the board, though lynchpins Keone Kela and Alex Claudio were strangely jettisoned in recent months. Jesse Chavez returns, along with a lights-out Jose Leclerc, so perhaps the club is looking to shorten the game substantially after having so much recent trouble identifying quality rotation options. A sign-and-flip could also be in the cards, though the risk inherent in that strategy, with two thirty-something relievers, may just outweigh the reward.

    Rockies Sign Jairo Diaz To Minors Deal Wed, 02 Jan 2019 22:58:23 +0000
  • The Rockies have signed right-hander Jairo Diaz to a new minors contract, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post reports.  The deal, notably, doesn’t seem to include an invitation to the team’s big league Spring Training camp.  That could be an indication that the Rox don’t want to pressure Diaz into trying to win a big league job and are simply focused on getting the injury-plagued righty on track.  Diaz missed all of 2016 due to Tommy John surgery, and subsequent forearm and elbow issues have limited him to just five MLB innings in 2017 and 32 1/3 total innings in the minors over the last two seasons.  Diaz did toss 30 1/3 IP in Venezuelan Winter League ball this year, so there is some sign of progress.
  • ]]>
    3 Remaining Needs: NL West Wed, 02 Jan 2019 02:26:51 +0000 In the latest edition of MLBTR’s “3 Remaining Needs” series, we’ll focus on the National League West, a division ruled by the iron-fist of the Dodgers — division champs for six years running. With at least two playoff teams in each of the last three seasons, however, the competition remains fierce. Though the Diamondbacks are likely to take a step back this year, the Giants have new leadership in the front office, the Padres have the foreword to their Cinderella story ready to print, and the Rockies will be giving all they’ve got in what could be Nolan Arenado’s last season in Colorado.

    [Previous installments: NL EastNL Central, AL West]

    Arizona Diamondbacks

    • Replace A.J. Pollock. Whether they move Ketel Marte to center field or find a replacement on the trade market, the position needs to be addressed. Jarrod Dyson doesn’t offer enough upside, even to build value as a trade candidate, nor do the veterans signed to minor league deals thus far this offseason (Abraham Almonte, Kelby Tomlinson, Matt Szczur). They can attempt to build the value of an otherwise depreciating asset, a la Socrates Brito, they can move Marte to center and sign a stopgap veteran to flip at the deadline, a la Asdrubal Cabrera or Brian Dozier, or they can engage the trade market for an option in between those two, a la Michael A. Taylor, Kevin Pillar or Randal Grichuk.
    • Trade Zack Greinke. Or if not Greinke, then at least one of Robbie Ray or Zack Godley. The Dbacks also have winter acquisitions Luke Weaver and Merrill Kelly slated for the rotation, plus Taijuan Walker aiming for a midseason return. That’s not necessarily a terrible collection if they’re looking to contend, but considering the Dodgers depth, the Rockies urgency, and the sleeping giant in San Diego, it’s a tough row to hoe for the Diamondbacks in the West, and the Wild Card race is no less forgiving – especially now that they’ve bolstered a perennial contender in St. Louis. Assuming Arizona is willing to take a step back – even if just for a year – then it behooves them to make room at the major league level for the group of Jon Duplantier, Taylor Widener and Taylor Clarke, their #1, #2 and #11 ranked prospects (per All three are at least 24 and coming off strong seasons in either Double or Triple A. Clarke is the closest, but also has the lowest ceiling, which is even more reason to give him a go while the others season in Triple A. Besides, trading one of their major league starters will help accomplish task #3.
    • Further build prospect depth. They’ve got a ton of top 100 draft picks in June and already jumpstarted their youth movement by trading Goldschmidt and letting Corbin and (presumably) Pollock walk. While they’re at it, they should explore lesser returns for Nick Ahmed, Andrew Chafin, Yoshihisa Hirano or Alex Avila. They’ve resisted overtures for David Peralta thus far, but he’s 31 and still controllable on a year-to-year basis through 2020, which makes him perfect for a contender like Cleveland.

    Colorado Rockies

    • Upgrade at catcher. Extending Arenado maybe should be the main priority, but if he’s set on testing free agency, the Rockies would do just as well devoting their energy to making Colorado as attractive a destination as possible, and that means building a sustainable winner. The budget is likely too tight for Yasmani Grandal, but Chris Iannetta and Tony Wolters struggled at the dish last season, so if they can backload a deal to spike after 2020 when most of their long-term money comes off the books,
    • Add a veteran to the bench. The Rockies are in the midst of a mini youth movement with David Dahl, Garrett Hampson, Ryan McMahon and Raimel Tapia slated for significant playing time. They’ve added Daniel Murphy, who likely replaces DJ LeMahieu, but they could use a vet on the bench to fill the shoes of Carlos Gonzalez, Matt Holliday and Gerardo Parra.
    • Keep an eye on pitching. The Rockies have their best rotation in years, but they could use an extra arm at the right price. Antonio Senzatela has the inside track on the fifth starter role for now, and they have a host of options in the organization, but there’s room for the right guy. Same goes for the bullpen, which is stocked with high-priced veterans like Wade Davis, Jake McGee, Bryan Shaw and Mike Dunn. They need to replace the production they received last season from Adam Ottavino, but they may want to give this group a couple months to make it work. Basically, they have no cause to overreach on pitching, but if they have a target or two they like whose prices drop, they should be ready to bite.

    Los Angeles Dodgers

    • Find a catcher. Say what you will about Grandal’s playoff woes, but he was still a top-notch regular-season producer with the Dodgers from 2015-18. Now a free agent, reports have indicated the 30-year-old Grandal is unlikely to return to the Dodgers. At the major league level, the Grandal-less Dodgers are bereft at catcher aside from Austin Barnes, who took sizable steps backward last season after an excellent 2017. The Dodgers do have a pair of appealing backstop prospects in Keibert Ruiz and Will Smith, but they aren’t ready to assume the reins yet. Los Angeles will at least need to find a stopgap, then, though free agency’s not teeming with possibilities. If healthy, the Pirates’ Francisco Cervelli– who has reportedly been on the Dodgers’ radar – would make for a nice one-year Band-Aid. Former Dodger Russell Martin might also be available, but the current Blue Jay owns a pricey $20MM salary. Welington Castillo of the White Sox ($7.75MM guaranteed) could become expendable if Chicago goes after Grandal, and the Mets have two trade candidates in Travis d’Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki. Of course, the Marlins’ J.T. Realmuto is far and away the premier option on the market, and the Dodgers have been involved in talks for him. However, LA is not ready to meet Miami’s lofty demands for the 27-year-old.
    • Land another offensive threat, especially if Realmuto doesn’t end up in LA. The Dodgers’ offense led the majors in wRC+ and finished fourth in runs in 2018, but the group has since lost Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp and Manny Machado. The back-to-back NL pennant winners still carry a boatload of formidable producers – including Justin Turner, Max Muncy, Corey Seager (whose 2018 absence paved the way for the Machado pickup), Cody Bellinger, Chris Taylor and Joc Pederson – but why stop there? The Dodgers don’t seem inclined to, judging by their interest in No. 1 free agent Bryce Harper and Tigers outfielder Nicholas Castellanos – a righty who’d provide balance to a lefty-heavy lineup.
    • You can never have enough great starting pitching. Even though they traded Alex Wood to the Reds this month, the Dodgers’ starting staff remains as deep as any in the game. As things stand, Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Rich Hill, Kenta Maeda, Ross Stripling, Julio Urias, Caleb Ferguson and Dennis Santana represent a group of rather strong choices. Nevertheless, the Dodgers may want another front-end presence to join Kershaw (who hasn’t been as durable or as otherworldly of late) and Buehler, as they’ve pursued a trade for the Indians’ Corey Kluber. The two-time AL Cy Young winner has exceeded 200 innings in each season since 2014. That type of durability would be a breath of fresh air for the Dodgers, who have seen Kershaw, Ryu, Hill and Urias deal with significant injuries in recent years.

    San Diego Padres

    • Acquire a top of the rotation veteran. The Padres have been linked to Corey Kluber, Marcus Stroman and Sonny Gray recently – they clearly want to bring in a veteran to anchor their young rotation. Clayton Richard, their innings leader form a year ago, was recently cut loose, signaling a raising of the bar in San Diego. They’re looking not just for an innings eater, but a quality ace to set the standard on the hill. Joey Lucchesi, 25 had a solid rookie season, sporting a 4.08 ERA, 2.98 BB/9 to 10.04 K/9, but he needs some help in the rotation if the Padres are going to start to push the Rockies and Dodgers.
    • Get a third baseman. Wil Myers, Christian Villanueva, Cory Spangenberg and Chase Headley were the four Padres who saw action at third in 2018, and three are now gone. Villanueva’s in Japan, Spanbenberg’s a Brewer and Headley has fallen off the map since the Padres released him last May. Myers, meanwhile, is more a fit at first base – where, because of Eric Hosmer’s presence, he can no longer play in San Diego – or in the corner outfield. As a result, upgrading at the hot corner is reportedly the Padres’ No. 1 priority heading into next season. Whether they can do it is the question. While the Padres seem bullish on Yankees third baseman Miguel Andujar, whom the Bombers may move this offseason, they likely don’t have the ammunition at the major league level to acquire him. The Padres could also try for the Phillies’ Maikel Franco, whom they had interest in last summer and who will lose his spot in Philly if it signs Machado. In terms of salary, more expensive trade candidates include the Mariners’ Kyle Seager (though he could be immovable for Seattle), the Marlins’ Martin Prado, the Mets’ Todd Frazier, and current Cardinal and ex-Padre Jedd Gyorko. Free agency features Hosmer’s pal Mike Moustakas, among other less exciting choices.
    • Clear the outfield logjam. Along with Myers, the Padres have a gaggle of other MLB outfielders in Hunter Renfroe, Franchy Cordero, Franmil Reyes, Manuel Margot and Travis Jankowski. Excluding Myers, San Diego could option any of those players to the minors, but the team may be better off moving at least one of them if it helps address a position of greater need. The Padres could try to deal Myers, but despite his middling production from 2017-18 and the $64MM left on his contract, they’re still bullish on the 28-year-old. It seems more likely another outfielder will go.

    San Francisco Giants

    • Acquire at least one starting outfielder. Perhaps the Giants could help the Padres with their backlog of outfielders, if the two division rivals are willing to make a trade. Few 2018 teams were worse off in the grass than the Giants, whose outfielders hit an ugly .238/.307/.363 with 0.1 fWAR over nearly 2,200 plate appearances. The only bright spot was Andrew McCutchen, whom the Giants traded to the Yankees in August and who’s now on the Phillies. So now what? Well, new team president Farhan Zaidi wants the Giants to get younger and more athletic. The 26-year-old Harper checks the young and athletic boxes, but there’s no indication the Giants are interested in coming anywhere close to his asking price. Unfortunately for the Giants, no one else in free agency looks like a perfect fit, but that’s not to say it would be wise to avoid the open market entirely. On the trade front, the Giants have reportedly shown interest in Blue Jays defensive standout Kevin Pillar, who will turn 30 on Jan. 4. Pillar has never been a real threat at the plate, meaning he wouldn’t do a lot to upgrade a San Francisco offense which scored the majors’ second-fewest runs in 2018. Nevertheless, as a player who has totaled at least 2.0 fWAR four years in a row, he’d give the Giants a desperately needed quality regular in the outfield. With Steven Duggar, Mac Williamson and Chris Shaw penciled into No. 1 roles, the Giants don’t have a single established starter in the grass at this juncture.
    • Add to the pitching staff. Derek Holland led all Giants in innings last season and was quite effective from their rotation, but he’s now a free agent. Whether he’ll return is unclear, but San Francisco’s probably going to have to re-sign him or bring in someone else capable of eating innings. Madison Bumgarner is coming off back-to-back injury-shortened years and, if he’s not a trade candidate prior to the 2019 campaign, may become one by midseason; Jeff Samardzija had a horrendous 2018, both because of injury and performance issues; Johnny Cueto may not pitch in 2019, having undergone Tommy John surgery; and while there’s hope for Dereck Rodriguez, Chris Stratton and Andrew Suarez, only Rodriguez’s production was worth writing home about last season. Yusei Kikuchi – whom the Giants “scouted extensively,” according to Zaidi – would’ve been a great fit. Sadly for San Francisco, he’s going to Seattle. The 27-year-old Kikuchi may have been the only long-term possibility in free agency for the Giants, as nearly everyone remaining on the market is over 30. But there are a lot of hurlers in that bunch who could be sensible, affordable short-term targets, and the Giants could use pitcher-friendly AT&T Park to their advantage to scoop up at least one of them. The same logic applies to the Giants’ bullpen. Their relief unit performed well last year, but there could be an opening or two to fill if the Giants trade Will Smith or Tony Watson.
    • Bolster the catching and infield depth. After undergoing season-ending hip surgery in August, catcher Buster Posey may not be ready at the start of the upcoming campaign. There’s little behind him in San Francisco, whose only other 40-man catcher is Aramis Garcia, though it could select ex-Phillies starter Cameron Rupp from Triple-A at some point. Free agent Nick Hundley, Posey’s backup from 2017-18, could return to the team. Across the infield, the Giants seem to have set starters at every position, but it’s not the promising group it would’ve looked like a few years back. Injury-prone first baseman Brandon Belt battled more health issues last season and dealt with a dip in production, and has been in trade rumors this month; second baseman Joe Panik was neither good nor healthy; shortstop Brandon Crawford wasn’t the same player from 2017-18 that he was over the prior two years; and third baseman Evan Longoria, at 33, appears to have hit a wall. Alen Hanson and Pablo Sandoval lead the Giants’ depth options, but there’s room for more. The team agrees, evidenced by its recent reported interest in free agents Troy Tulowitzki and Josh Harrison.
    Rockies Sign Michael Saunders Tue, 01 Jan 2019 23:41:12 +0000 The Rockies have signed outfielder Michael Saunders to a minor league contract, Brandon Warne of Zone Coverage reports. They’re Saunders’ first team since the White Sox released him in late June.

    A former top prospect with Seattle, Saunders has been a solid major leaguer at times – including during an All-Star 2016 with the Blue Jays. Saunders’ numbers plummeted in the second half of his All-Star season, though, and he has fallen off the radar over the past couple years.

    In 2017, which he opened with the Phillies after they awarded him a $9MM guarantee in free agency, Saunders managed a disastrous .202/.256/.344 batting line in 234 major league plate appearances. He struggled so badly in Philadelphia that the club released him midway through the season, leading the Canadian-born Saunders to return to the Blue Jays on a minors deal. However, Saunders was unable to rebound in Toronto or with its Triple-A affiliate.

    Unfortunately for Saunders, his stock took an even greater hit in 2018. Not only did Saunders fail to reach the majors with the bottom-feeding Orioles or White Sox, but his production tanked with their minor league teams. Across 154 PAs at the Triple-A level, the 32-year-old batted .158/.273/.248.

    Free Agent Faceoff: Robertson Vs. Britton Vs. Ottavino Mon, 31 Dec 2018 15:10:04 +0000 Seven-time All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel entered the winter as the undisputed No. 1 reliever available in free agency, but it’s not as easy to identify the second-best option on the open market. When the offseason commenced, MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes, Steve Adams and Jeff Todd lumped four relievers close together behind Kimbrel in terms of projected earning power. They forecast that Jeurys Familia, David Robertson and Zach Britton would each earn three-year, $33MM contracts, while Adam Ottavino would come in a bit behind at three years and $30MM. Familia’s now off the board, having rejoined the Mets on a three-year, $30MM guarantee, while fellow bullpen arms Andrew Miller, Joe Kelly and Joakim Soria have also received lucrative contracts.

    With Familia, Miller, Kelly and Soria no longer in the free-agent mix, it’s clear that Robertson, Britton and Ottavino are the most desirable non-Kimbrel relievers without teams. There has been widespread interest in all three over the past couple months, with some of the same clubs in contention for multiple members of the group. But who’s the most appealing hurler among the trio?

    Perhaps the answer is the right-handed Robertson, who has put together nine straight highly productive seasons of 60-plus innings. Undoubtedly one of the most durable and effective relievers in recent memory, the longtime Yankee is coming off a season in which he logged a 3.23 ERA/2.97 FIP with 11.76 K/9, 3.36 BB/9 and a 45.3 percent groundball rate across a career-best 69 2/3 innings. Never one to rely on high-90s velocity, Robertson continued to confound hitters with his breaking stuff, as FanGraphs rated his curve as the most valuable pitch of its kind among 2018 relievers. Batters posted a dreadful .196 weighted on-base average against that pitch and an even worse .145 mark when he threw his slider, according to Statcast.

    If there’s one concern with Robertson, it’s his age. He’s set to turn 34 in April, meaning it’s fair to wonder whether he’ll continue to thrive over the course of a multiyear deal. Britton, meanwhile, is three years younger, having turned 31 on Dec. 22. Aside from Kimbrel, Britton likely had the best peak of anyone in this winter’s class of free-agent relievers. The left-hander amassed anywhere from 65 2/3 innings to 76 1/3 in each season as the Orioles’ closer between 2014-16, a three-year span in which he converted 120 of 128 save opportunities, led relievers in groundball rate (77.9 percent), placed second in ERA (1.38) and recorded 9.26 K/9 against 2.37 BB/9.

    Britton was close to infallible during his heyday, but he fell off between 2017-18, when forearm, knee and Achilles injuries limited him to 78 innings. Britton still managed a terrific 3.00 ERA and a fantastic 72.8 percent grounder rate in that period, which he spent with the O’s and Yankees. His K/9 (7.27) and BB/9 (4.5) each went in the wrong direction, though, and his power sinker wasn’t as imposing.

    Unlike Robertson and Britton, Ottavino brings little game-ending experience to the table, evidenced by his 17 career saves. He’s also a onetime Tommy John surgery patient and a 33-year-old whose career with the Cardinals and Rockies hasn’t been all that consistent. The righty has put together a handful of outstanding seasons and a few poor campaigns, though it seems he found another gear in 2018. After a woeful 2017 in Colorado, Ottavino spent last offseason working to improve his command in his native New York City, as former FanGraphs writer Travis Sawchik detailed in May, and the results were astounding.

    Using primarily sliders and sinkers, Ottavino pitched to a 2.43 ERA/2.74 FIP with 12.98 K/9 and 4.17 BB/9 across a personal-best 77 2/3 frames last season. In the process, his first-pitch strike rate increased nearly 14 percent from 2017 and his out-of-zone swing rate climbed by almost 5 percent. Further, as Mike Petriello of pointed out in October, Ottavino was a soft-contact wiz in 2018, trailing only all-world relievers Edwin Diaz and Blake Treinen in xwOBA against (.229; Robertson’s was .276, while Britton checked in at .311).

    Although it’s obvious that Ottavino’s career has been less impressive than those of Robertson and Britton, it’s possible he’s the best of the three right now. Cases could be made for both Robertson and Britton, however, and it’ll be interesting to see how much guaranteed money these three high-end relievers ultimately receive in the coming weeks. Which one would you sign?

    (poll link for app users)

    Rockies Open To Bringing Ottavino Back Thu, 27 Dec 2018 20:20:29 +0000
  • The White Sox, Red Sox and Rockies are all maintaining some level of interest in free-agent reliever Adam Ottavino, tweets Jon Morosi of As one of the top relievers on the market, the 33-year-old Ottavino should have no shortage of clubs inquiring about his services, though the asking price on top-end bullpen arms could prove prohibitive for some clubs. To this point, Jeurys Familia (three years, $30MM), Joe Kelly (three years, $25MM) and Andrew Miller (two years, $25MM) are among the relievers MLBTR ranked in Ottavino’s tier of free agency to have cashed in quite nicely. Given his 2.43 ERA, 2.74 FIP, 2.82 SIERA and 13.0 K/9 mark, Ottavino figures to have a fairly high ask, as well. The interest from each of the three teams listed by Morosi has been previously reported, and there are some issues with some of the fits. Adding Ottavino, for instance, could push the Red Sox back into the top tier of the luxury tax bracket. And the Rockies spent more than $100MM on their ’pen last winter, which could make them reluctant to add a fourth reliever on the type of multi-year contract Ottavino should ultimately command.
  • ]]>
    Managers & Top Front Office Executives On Expiring Contracts Tue, 25 Dec 2018 02:20:56 +0000 Managers and front office bosses are always doing their best to progress their teams forward, though this particular list of names could be feeling a bit more pressure this coming season, as 2019 is their final guaranteed year under contract.

    As always when compiling this list, a pair of caveats should be noted.  Firstly, several teams don’t publicize the lengths of management contracts, and some teams don’t even announce when new contracts have been finalized.  It could very well be that at least some of the executives listed have already quietly reached extensions beyond the 2019 season, or there could be some other names with unknown contract terms who have 2019 as their end date.

    Secondly, lack of an official contract doesn’t always mean that a manager or an executive is lacking in job security.  Some clubs have unofficial handshake agreements in place with the skipper or GM/president of baseball operations, wherein the job is promised as theirs, with the specific contractual details to be hammered out at some point in the future.  In the case of managers, specifically, many do prefer some type of public agreement, if for no other reason than to avoid being perceived as a “lame duck” who lacks authority within a clubhouse.

    With a big tip of the cap to Cot’s Baseball Contracts for many of these details, here are the managers and executives who are believed to be entering their final seasons…

    Angels: General manager Billy Eppler is three years into his original four-year contract to run the Halos’ front office, a term that has yet to result in a winning record.  Much has been made about the Angels’ inability to build a contender around Mike Trout during the outfielder’s Cooperstown-level prime years, and time is running short in that regard, given that Trout can become a free agent the 2020 season.  In Eppler’s defense, he has added quality pieces like Andrelton Simmons, Justin Upton, and Shohei Ohtani as GM, though he has been hampered by a seemingly endless list of pitching injuries, not to mention some payroll-albatross contracts (Josh Hamilton, C.J. Wilson, and the ongoing Albert Pujols deal) left over from the tenure of previous Angels GM Jerry Dipoto.  Longtime manager Mike Scioscia had reportedly always had quite a bit of influence within the front office, though with Scioscia not returning, Eppler had the opportunity to make his own managerial hire in the form of Brad Ausmus.  There hasn’t yet been any indication that Eppler could be in particular danger of not being extended, though it’s worth noting that neither of Eppler’s predecessors in the job (Dipoto and Tony Reagins) lasted more than four years.

    Blue Jays:’s Shi Davidi noted in September that general manager Ross Atkins was likely to receive an extension, and that such a deal wasn’t likely to receive public acknowledgement.  So, Atkins may already be locked up beyond the original end-date of his four-year deal prior to the 2016 season.  Atkins and president Mark Shapiro have planted the seeds for a rebuild over the last two seasons, and with the Jays now in full-fledged retooling mode for at least one more year, it makes sense that Atkins would continue to hold the reigns as Toronto prepares for the Vladimir Guerrero Jr. era.

    Brewers: This one is a bit speculative, as terms of GM David Stearns’ original deal with the Brewers weren’t released, though The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported in October that “Stearns has at least one year left” under contract.  Stearns was hired prior to the 2016 season, so a four- or five-year deal seems pretty standard for a new general manager, particularly one that was seemingly facing a rebuild upon taking the position.  Needless to say, things are ahead of schedule in Milwaukee, as the Brewers were just a game away from the World Series last October.  Even if Stearns’ deal runs through 2020 rather than just 2019, it seems likely that Brewers ownership will have some talks about an extension this offseason given Stearns’ immediate success.

    Cubs: There has already been quite a bit of speculation about Joe Maddon’s future at Wrigley Field, as the Cubs aren’t planning to discuss a new contract with the manager.  Though Maddon himself seems unperturbed about the situation and president of baseball ops Theo Epstein denied rumors of any hard feelings with his skipper, it does seem like a dugout change could be made unless the Cubs make another deep postseason run.

    Diamondbacks: With two winning seasons and the 2017 NL Manager Of The Year Award on his resume in two years as manager, Torey Lovullo seems like a prime candidate for a new deal.  Though Arizona is now moving into a semi-rebuilding phase, this actually seems closer to the situation Lovullo was expected to inherit when he initially took the job, before he led the D’Backs to their surprise postseason berth in 2017.  I’d expect Lovullo to have an extension in hand by Opening Day at the latest.

    Dodgers: Since president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman signed his five-year, $35MM deal to take over the Dodgers’ front office in October 2014, the club has extended its streak of NL West titles to six in a row, and finally got over the postseason hump to return to the World Series, capturing the NL pennant in each of the last two seasons.  While the Comissioner’s Trophy has remained elusive, Friedman has managed to keep the Dodgers competitive even while cutting salaries, getting the team under the luxury tax threshold last season after payrolls touched the $300MM mark earlier this decade.  This is probably another instance of an extension being just a matter of time, as the Guggenheim Baseball ownership group seemingly has every reason to want to keep Friedman in the fold for several years to come.

    Giants: The leadership shakeup that installed Farhan Zaidi as the Giants’ new GM didn’t extend to the dugout, as longtime manager Bruce Bochy will return for the last year of his current contract and his 13th overall season in San Francisco’s dugout.  Bochy turns 64 in April and he has dealt with heart issues in the past, leading to some whispers that he could move into retirement and hand the job over to a new manager.  Longtime coaches Hensley Meulens and Ron Wotus have both been mentioned as possible managers-in-waiting, or Zaidi could prefer to hire a new face from outside the organization.  It also wouldn’t be a shock to see Bochy stick around in 2020 or beyond, should he want to continue managing and he forms a solid relationship with Zaidi.  Given Bochy’s championship-winning track record and the large amount of respect he holds within the organization, the possibility exists that he has already been promised the opportunity to end his tenure on his own terms.

    Indians: General manager Mike Chernoff reportedly agreed to an extension with the team in November, though this is technically still an unknown situation since there wasn’t any official confirmation from either side.  That said, since Cleveland is one of the organizations that generally stays quiet about contract details for management figures, we can probably consider this one a done deal.  Chernoff was promoted to general manager in October 2015, so he could have been at the end of a three-year contract or the Tribe was getting an early jump on extending his four-year contract.  It’s also worth noting that president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti signed an extension of indeterminate length back in 2013 and we haven’t heard any further contract news since, so Antonetti could also be approaching the end of a deal…unless he also signed an unreported extension at some point.  It’s safe to assume that big changes aren’t in the offing for a team that has won three straight AL Central titles.

    Marlins: “There are indications the Marlins would like to retain [Don] Mattingly beyond 2019,”’s Joe Frisaro recently reported, though Mattingly said that he had yet to hear from the team about extension negotiations.  Mattingly has managed the Fish through three tumultuous years in the organization’s history, and the fact that he is one of the few members of the Jeffrey Loria regime still in Miami could indeed be a sign that Derek Jeter and company have interest in keeping the veteran manager around to help mentor and develop young players during the franchise’s latest rebuild.

    Red Sox: Principal owner John Henry recently noted that the team was “running out of time” in regards to an extension with president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, whose five-year contract is up after the 2019 season.  (Since Dombrowski was hired in August 2015, the deal can probably be more accurately described as 4.5 years in length.)  Regardless of when the specific end-date may be, Dombrowski could hardly be in better position to land an extension in the aftermath of Boston’s World Series triumph.

    Rockies: 2019 is the last guaranteed year of Bud Black’s contract as manager, though he has a bit of extra cushion since the Rockies hold a club option his services for 2020.  Since Black has led Colorado to the postseason in each of his first two seasons as manager, it seems like he’ll at least get that option exercised to add a bit more security, plus the team is likely to discuss a longer-term deal as well.

    Royals: GM Dayton Moore has often reiterated that manager Ned Yost will decide on his own when to step away from the dugout, though that won’t happen for at least one more year, as Yost agreed to a one-year extension last September.  As Fancred Sports’ Jon Heyman put it, however, there is “strong belief” that Yost won’t manage beyond 2019.  The Royals’ recent hiring of Mike Matheny to a special advisor role could be another sign that the team already has a successor in place for the 2020 season.