Minnesota Twins – MLB Trade Rumors https://www.mlbtraderumors.com Wed, 17 Oct 2018 17:55:38 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.6 The Twins’ Managerial Search https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/10/the-twins-managerial-search.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/10/the-twins-managerial-search.html#comments Wed, 17 Oct 2018 00:55:42 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=134432 The Twins have embarked upon a search for a new skipper after the somewhat surprising decision to remove Paul Molitor from the post. He had been a holdover appointee from the prior front office regime. The current hiring process, then, will represent the first opportunity for chief baseball officer Derek Falvey and GM Thad Levine to install their own preferred voice in the dugout.

As we have done with other openings of this kind, we’ll use this post to track the early developments in the hiring process in Minnesota.

Latest Update — 10/15

  • The Twins have indeed interviewed Astros bench coach Joe Espada, tweets MLB.com’s Jon Morosi. (Fancred’s Jon Heyman had previously noted the Twins’ interest in doing so.) Espada is in his first season as Alex Cora’s successor in that role, and he’s already drawn reported interest from the Angels and the Rangers in their own managerial searches.

Previous updates below…

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Could The Twins Have Interest In Mets' Callaway? https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/10/nl-east-notes-marlins-callaway-twins-braves.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/10/nl-east-notes-marlins-callaway-twins-braves.html#comments Mon, 15 Oct 2018 01:13:03 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=134813
  • Cafardo also discusses the Twins’ managerial search in his column, writing that Mets manager Mickey Callaway “would have been high on the Twins’ list if he were available.”  Callaway and Minnesota chief baseball officer Derek Falvey are familiar with each other from their shared time with the Indians, when Callaway was pitching coach and Falvey was working in the front office.  Of course, the chance still exists that Callaway could become available, as the next Mets GM will reportedly have the authority to make a managerial change.  Since the Twins’ search for a manager is already well under way, however, one would think the club wouldn’t wait under the Mets have made a hire and decided on Callaway’s fate.  Callaway’s first season with the Mets was a rocky one, though he is still under contract for two more years (plus a club option for the 2021 season).
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    Twins Outright Gregorio Petit https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/10/twins-outright-gregorio-petit.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/10/twins-outright-gregorio-petit.html#comments Fri, 12 Oct 2018 14:26:11 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=134635 The Twins have outrighted infielder Gregorio Petit off the 40-man roster, per the Triple-A International League transactions page. He’ll likely become a free agent and seek another minor league deal this winter.

    Petit, 33, batted .246/.313/.279 with a pair of doubles and three steals in two stints with Minnesota this season, appearing in 26 games and tallying 67 trips to the plate. That marked his sixth season of big league experience, having previously appeared with the A’s, Angels, Astros and Yankees. In all, Petit is a career .249/.294/.343 hitter in 493 Major League plate appearances and a .267/.316/.366 hitter in an even 3700 Triple-A plate appearances. Most of his career has been spent as a shortstop, though he has over 2000 professional innings at second base and nearly 1500 innings at third base as well.

    Reds Claim Juan Graterol https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/10/reds-claim-juan-graterol-waivers-twins.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/10/reds-claim-juan-graterol-waivers-twins.html#comments Wed, 10 Oct 2018 20:31:26 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=134537 The Reds announced Wednesday that they’ve claimed catcher Juan Graterol off waivers from the Twins after he’d been placed on outright waivers. Cincinnati already had a pair of open 40-man roster spots, so not corresponding move is necessary.

    Graterol, 29, only appeared in three games with the Twins after having his contract selected in late September. He’d previously appeared in 58 games at the Major League level with the Angels organization and is a lifetime .217/.227/.274 hitter in 111 plate appearances as a big leaguer. He’s notched a more respectable .289/.316/.346 slash in 572 plate appearances at the Triple-A level, but Graterol is known more as a defensive-minded backstop than a threat at the plate. He’s halted 38 percent of stolen-bases attempts against him in parts of 13 minor league seasons and thrown out 12 of 36 potential base thieves in the Majors (33 percent). He’s also routinely posted average or better framing numbers, per Baseball Prospectus.

    Despite his shortcomings at the plate, Graterol’s defensive capabilities have made him a popular target on the waiver wire in the past. In the 2016-17 offseason, for instance, he went from the Angels, to the Reds, to the Diamondbacks, back to the Angels and then to the Blue Jays via waiver claim in a span of two months. After opening the season in the Jays organization, he was then flipped back to the Angels in a minor trade. Graterol still has a minor league option remaining beyond the 2018 season, so if he survives the winter on a 40-man roster (be it with the Reds or another organization), his team in Spring Training will be able to send him to the minors without first exposing him to waivers.

    Twins Notes: Sano, Mauer, Adrianza https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/10/twins-rumors-joe-mauer-retirement.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/10/twins-rumors-joe-mauer-retirement.html#comments Wed, 10 Oct 2018 02:14:31 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=134490 Twins chief baseball officer Derek Falvey addressed the traffic incident involving Miguel Sano today (subscription link via Dan Hayes of The Athletic), telling reporters that “what has been most recently reported is what we are aware of around the accident.” Sano is not facing criminal charges after inadvertently backing into a police officer with his truck, as Dominican police officials have issued a statement declaring the incident to be accidental in nature, adding that Sano has been cooperative and offered to pay the medical expenses for the officer, who was a childhood classmate of Sano. That issue aside, Falvey also acknowledged that Sano is “at an important crossroads in his career” following a disastrous 2018 season. As Hayes notes, Sano reported to Spring Training in 2018 out of shape after offseason surgery to insert a titanium rod into his shin last winter prevented him from going through a full offseason workout regimen. The organizational hope will be that a full offseason can help Sano be better positioned for success in 2019. Falvey indicates that the Twins will “put resources around [Sano] and create a certain level of expectations” that’ll be monitored throughout the winter.

    More news and notes out of Minneapolis…

    • The Twins may not get a decision from Joe Mauer until after the conclusion of the postseason, writes La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune“Realistically, free agency doesn’t begin for a period of time here,” said Falvey of Mauer’s impending retirement decision. “We’re still in the window of playoff baseball. I think some time after that would be appropriate time to have any subsequent dialogue.” Still, Falvey said that the Twins have already discussed with Mauer what a potential return could look like, adding that the team made clear to Mauer’s camp that he would “certainly” be welcome back for a 16th season.
    • Utility infielder Ehire Adrianza underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left (non-throwing) shoulder, Levine announced Tuesday (Twitter link via Hayes). Rayner Rico of SportsVenezuela.com first reported that Adrianza would require surgery. The procedure comes with a projected recovery time of three to four months, which would put Adrianza in line to be ready for Spring Training. The 29-year-old Adrianza hit .251/.301/.379 this season in a career-high 366 plate appearances while playing shortstop, second base, third base, left field and first base. The switch-hitter has never contributed much from an offensive standpoint in the Majors, but he’s generally been regarded as a solid defender. He’ll be arbitration-eligible for the second time this winter and has a $1.8MM projected salary for 2019, per MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz.
    Miguel Sano Not Facing Criminal Charges After Traffic Accident In Dominican Republic https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/10/miguel-sano-reportedly-detained-in-dominican-republic.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/10/miguel-sano-reportedly-detained-in-dominican-republic.html#comments Mon, 08 Oct 2018 16:15:06 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=134348 Oct. 8: Dominican police spokesman Colonel Frank Duran Mejia tells Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes that Sano is not facing criminal charges. Furthermore, Duran characterized the incident as accidental in nature. Sano, according to Duran, was questioned by officer Argenis Emilio Gillandeux outside a night club because his truck did not have a license plate and because Sano was not carrying his driver’s license on him. After speaking with Gillandeux, he backed up his truck without realizing that the officer and his motorcycle were still parked behind him. Gillandeux has no plans to press charges, Duran emphasized in a statement:

    “The citizen, Miguel Sano, was sent today to the traffic court to comply with the due process in these types of cases. It is a formality when someone is injured in a vehicular accident. It is important to clarify that the policeman declared that the accident was not intentional, and that Sano hit his leg when Sano was reversing his vehicle to leave the place and that the baseball player was the first to provide help and never abandoned the scene. Neither the agent nor the national police plan to charge Sano with anything.”

    Sano, according to Duran, transported Gillandeux to the hospital himself and actually knew the officer personally from the pair’s days in school.

    Oct. 7: Twins third baseman Miguel Sano was detained at a police station in his native Dominican Republic after a traffic accident on Sunday morning, according to Spanish-language news outlet El Nuevo Diaro (via Phil Miller of the Star-Tribune). A police officer “ordered Sano to stop at a checkpoint, but he continued [and] ran over the uniformed officer, leaving him with serious damage,” Miller writes. The officer suffered a fractured fibula and tibia after Sano ran over his foot, according to a police report which circulated online, after Sano and his wife were stopped in a car without license plates. Sano offered to pay for the damage to the officer and was eventually released, per a report from Spanish-language outlet Diario Libre (via Miler).

    “We have been made aware of the situation involving Miguel Sano in the Dominican Republic. We are still gathering facts at this point,” a Twins spokesperson told Bob Nightengale and Jorge L. Ortiz of USA Today.

    At this point, it’s unknown if Sano will face any legal punishment or discipline from Major League Baseball for this. Nonetheless, it’s an unwelcome development for the Twins, especially after Sano was accused of assault last offseason. However, Sano didn’t face any ramifications for that from either the legal system or MLB.

    This news continues a downward trend for Sano since the end of the 2017 season, when he batted .264/.352/.507 with 28 home runs in 483 appearances and earned an All-Star nod. The 25-year-old is now coming off an injury-limited season in which the Twins demoted him to the minors on account of a drop in production. He ended up totaling 299 PA in the majors and hitting a disappointing .199/.281/.398 with MLB’s worst strikeout percentage (38.5) and 13 HRs.

    Twins Manager Search: Rowson, Ross, DeRosa https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/10/quick-hits-mets-watson-ng-twins-rowson-cubs.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/10/quick-hits-mets-watson-ng-twins-rowson-cubs.html#comments Sat, 06 Oct 2018 04:59:59 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=134193
  • The Twins interviewed hitting coach James Rowson for their managerial vacancy today, La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.  The team also has interest in Mark DeRosa and David Ross, a pair of former players-turned-TV analysts who have often been mentioned as potential future managers.  DeRosa could be on the Rangers’ radar as well this winter, and he has interviewed with the Mets and Marlins for past managerial openings in recent years.  None of the trio has any previous pro experience as a manager, as Rowson has previously only worked as a hitting coach (with the Twins and Cubs) and minor league hitting coordinator (with the Cubs and Yankees).
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    Poll: Which Is The Most Intriguing Managerial Job? https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/10/poll-which-is-the-most-intriguing-managerial-job.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/10/poll-which-is-the-most-intriguing-managerial-job.html#comments Sat, 06 Oct 2018 03:47:21 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=134182 Six teams are currently on the hunt for new managers, leading to a flurry of rumors and reports about experienced skippers, and coaches/broadcasters/former players all linked to these jobs.  If you’re being offered your first shot at managing a big league team, obviously, you perhaps can’t be afford to be too picky — the same could be said of veteran ex-managers who don’t know if they’ll ever get another chance at running a dugout.

    So technically, the question of “which job would you prefer to take?” might not apply to many candidates, but it’s just fine for a hypothetical poll here on MLB Trade Rumors.  All of these six openings have their pros and cons, and it really comes down to individual preference about what makes one job more attractive than another.  Would you prefer to manage a team that has shown a willingness to spend?  One with a proven organizational track record of success (and stability)?  A rebuilding club with a bunch of promising minor leaguers on the way?

    Here are the six teams currently conducting a manager search…

    Orioles: Nowhere to go but up after 115 losses, right?  Baltimore’s new manager will be entering an organization in a state of flux after a disastrous campaign, as the O’s are also looking for a new GM to replace Dan Duquette, as well as the Angelos brothers fully taking over the team’s operations from their father.  With the rebuild just underway, however, a new skipper wouldn’t be expected to win for at least a few years, creating a low-pressure teaching environment to help bring along the Orioles’ younger talents (some of whom were acquired in the team’s deadline fire sale).  There’s plenty of opportunity here for a manager to enter at day one and put their stamp on a new era of Orioles baseball.

    Blue Jays: Another AL East team that is technically “starting” a rebuild, though the front office has unofficially been reloading the farm system over the last few years.  Some of those young names made their debuts in 2018, though the biggest stars of Toronto’s highly-touted minor league ranks (including Vladimir Guerrero Jr.) are still to come in 2019 or 2020.  Since GM Ross Atkins is targeting 2021 for the Jays’ return to contention, a new manager has two years of building and development ahead before expectations rise.  With payrolls topping the $160MM mark in each of the last two seasons, a new manager can be confident that ownership and the front office will eventually spend to add talent.

    Reds: Similar to the situation with the Jays, Cincinnati’s new skipper will step into a situation where some of the heavy lifting has already been done in terms of rebuilding.  The Reds have built an interesting core of position players (Eugenio Suarez, Scooter Gennett, Jose Peraza, Jesse Winker, and franchise cornerstone Joey Votto) that should only improve once top prospect Nick Senzel cracks the big league roster.  The problem, of course, is a dearth of starting pitching, though the club is prepared to spend this winter to address that and other needs.

    Rangers: Here’s another team in sore need of pitching help, which GM Jon Daniels has said “is a priority” for the coming offseason.  The Rangers are in an interesting, and perhaps unwelcome, spot compared to the other teams on this list, in that they’re not really clearly rebuilding or planning to contend in 2019.  This is what happens when a team almost entirely en masse, as neither the established players (Elvis Andrus, Rougned Odor), the youngsters (Ronald Guzman, Willie Calhoun) or the former star prospects in between the two camps (Joey Gallo, Nomar Mazara) particularly distinguished themselves last year.  That said, a new voice in the dugout could help in unleashing the talent that this group clearly possesses, plus there’s organizational stability in the form of Daniels, who is the game’s second-longest tenured general manager.

    Angels: What manager wouldn’t relish the opportunity to lead the game’s best player in Mike Trout, or the game’s most fascinating player in Shohei Ohtani?  Combine those two with Justin Upton, Andrelton Simmons, Andrew Heaney, Tyler Skaggs and a host of young relievers, and there’s a lot to like about the Angels’ roster.  Beyond the star names, however, the Halos are still trying to fully get through a stunning onslaught of pitching injuries that have thinned the pitching depth (including sidelining Ohtani from the mound in 2019 due to Tommy John surgery).  The new Angels skipper will be expected to turn things around quickly, especially with Trout only under contract for two more seasons.  There are some big shoes to fill in the wake of Mike Scioscia’s departure, and it’s fair to wonder how much rope owner Arte Moreno will give to a manager who didn’t have a World Series title on his resume or the organizational influence that Scioscia held in the club.

    Twins: If the team continues its yo-yo performance of the last four seasons under Paul Molitor, then it should be due for another winning season in 2019 — do we have a bizarro Giants/#OddYear scenario here?  In all seriousness, Minnesota might actually be in the best position of any of these six teams to contend next season, given the weakness of the AL Central.  The better odds might be on a bit of a step backwards as baseball operations heads Derek Falvey and Thad Levine figure out which of their young talents are actual building blocks and which might be trade chips.  A manager who can get Byron Buxton or Miguel Sano back on track, however, could make a quick impact.

    (poll link for app users)

    Thad Levine Declined To Speak To Mets About GM Job https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/10/mets-notes-levine-gm-search-ownership.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/10/mets-notes-levine-gm-search-ownership.html#comments Fri, 05 Oct 2018 20:54:38 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=134151
  • The Mets contacted the Twins for permission to speak to Minnesota GM Thad Levine about New York’s open general manager spot, MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reports (Twitter link), but Levine declined.  Taking the Mets job would’ve presumably allowed Levine to fully command a front office, whereas chief baseball officer Derek Falvey current sits atop the decision-making pyramid in Minnesota.  Still, Levine has only been with the Twins for less than two years, and he and Falvey now have the opportunity to more completely put their mark on the organization now that they’ll be able to select their own manager.  Of course, there are numerous reasons why Levine declined to speak to the Mets, and perhaps he is simply comfortable in his current position.
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    Twins Rumors: Molitor, Mauer https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/10/twins-rumors-paul-molitor-leaving-joe-mauer-retirement.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/10/twins-rumors-paul-molitor-leaving-joe-mauer-retirement.html#comments Thu, 04 Oct 2018 23:35:01 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=134087 Though the Twins have offered recently dismissed manager Paul Molitor a new position with a “likely” focus on player development (per The Athletic’s Dan Hayes), USA Today’s Bob Nightengale tweets that Molitor’s preference is to continue coaching or managing at the big league level. The 62-year-old isn’t likely to accept the new role within the Twins organization, per Nightengale, who notes that Molitor is still owed a total of $3.2MM through 2020 as part of last October’s contract extension. There are several other managerial openings around the league — Orioles, Angels, Blue Jays, Reds — for which Molitor could potentially emerge as a candidate if he does indeed rebuff the Twins’ latest offer. He also has experience as a big league hitting coach, and both the D-backs and Pirates have announced they’ll be looking for a new voice in that role.

    • The decision to move on from Molitor caught Twins cornerstone Joe Mauer by surprise, writes La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Mauer, like Molitor, is a St. Paul native (the two even attended the same high school — St. Paul’s Cretin-Derham Hall) and spoke about his relationship with the Hall of Famer, who had spent four seasons as the manager in Minnesota. Mauer is mulling retirement after an emotional sendoff from his hometown organization — the only team he’s ever known — and said that Molitor’s dismissal will factor into the calculus. “There are many factors that will go into my decision going forward, and Paul’s absence as our manager is another thing I will be adding to my list of things to consider,” said Mauer. “He’s been an incredible leader and role model and will be greatly missed by all who have played under him.”
    Twins Notes: Molitor, Staff, Shelton, Mauer https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/10/al-notes-yanks-as-twins-os-davis-rangers.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/10/al-notes-yanks-as-twins-os-davis-rangers.html#comments Tue, 02 Oct 2018 23:06:46 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=133932 The Yankees and Athletics have named their starters for Wednesday’s American League wild-card game. New York will turn to right-hander Luis Severino, the team confirmed, while Oakland will open the game with reliever Liam Hendriks, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The fact that the A’s are counting on Hendriks in such an important role would’ve been a shock back in July, when they outrighted him, but the 29-year-old reemerged as an effective member of the team’s pitching staff in September. Severino, meanwhile, is in line to start his second straight AL wild-card contest. Last year’s showing was disastrous, as Severino allowed three earned runs and only recorded one out against the Twins before exiting what proved to be a comeback win for the Yankees. In an MLBTR poll over the weekend, the plurality of voters expressed that J.A. Happ should start the game over Severino. The Yankees disagree.

    • Surprisingly, Twins manager Paul Molitor lost his job on Tuesday. More changes appear to be coming to the team’s staff, too, as Jon Heyman of Fancred tweets that bullpen coach Eddie Guardado and third base coach Gene Glynn are “likely” to exit their posts. The club also announced that it has parted with both strength and conditioning coordinator Perry Castellano and strength and conditioning assistant Erik Beiser. As for Molitor, who may stay in the organization, the Twins have offered him a job in player development, Phil Miller of the Star Tribune relays. Molitor’s bench coach, Derek Shelton, is seen as the top in-house candidate to become the Twins’ next manager, Heyman reports.
    • Sticking with the Twins, chief baseball officer Derek Falvey said Tuesday that he expects to discuss both an on- and off-field job for franchise icon Joe Mauer for 2019, per Miller. The 35-year-old Mauer may have concluded his playing career this past Sunday, when he had what could go down as a memorable send-off. Mauer’s not under contract heading into 2019, so if the first baseman decides to play again, the Twins will need to re-sign him.
    Paul Molitor Out As Twins Manager, Could Remain In Organization https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/10/twins-reportedly-fire-paul-molitor.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/10/twins-reportedly-fire-paul-molitor.html#comments Tue, 02 Oct 2018 17:40:03 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=133892 Just one year into a three-year contract, Paul Molitor is out as the Twins’ manager, according to a team announcement. He’s been offered a different job in the team’s baseball operations department.

    “I would like to thank Paul for his tremendous dedication to the Minnesota Twins over his last four years as manager of this club,” said Twins executive vice president/chief baseball officer Derek Falvey in a statement issued via press release. “Paul’s roots here run deep and his commitment to the organization, his staff, and the players is special.  I have every hope and desire that he remains a part of this club for many years to come.”

    Paul Molitor | Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

    The Twins will immediately begin the search for a new manager, considering both internal and external candidates, per the team’s announcement. The new manager will work with Falvey and Levine to set the 2019 coaching staff.

    Molitor, 62, was never the first choice of Twins Falvey and general manager Thad Levine after they were appointed at the start of the 2015-16 offseason. The Hall of Famer and St. Paul, Minn. native was hired by former general manager Terry Ryan as a successor to longtime skipper Ron Gardenhire. After Minnesota dismissed Ryan from his post as GM, owner Jim Pohlad stipulated as part of the new front office search that whoever he hired to oversee the baseball operations department would do so with the understanding that Molitor was the Twins’ manager.

    At the time, Molitor was only under contract for one more season. The common expectation was that Falvey and Levine would let Molitor manage the final season of that contract and then make their own hire, but the Twins’ shocking 2018 playoff berth and Molitor’s Manager of the Year nod left the newly minted executives with little choice but to extend him. The optics of firing a manager whose team had gone from 100 losses to an American League Wild Card play-in would’ve been astoundingly poor, and so Molitor was rewarded with a new three-year pact.

    The 2018 season, however, was nearly as disappointing as the 2017 season was surprising. Minnesota entered the year with expectations of contending — if not for the division then surely for a second straight Wild Card appearance. Instead, they spent nearly the entire year without projected top starter Ervin Santana (finger surgery) and watched two of their should-be cornerstones, Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton, struggle through nightmarish seasons that surpassed even the most pessimistic expectations for the pair. Brian Dozier, meanwhile, played through a knee injury early in the season and never regained his footing, while offseason pickups Logan Morrison (hip impingement/labrum tear, eventual surgery) and Addison Reed (elbow impingement) each saw their seasons hampered by physical ailments as well.

    The end result of it all was a 78-84 team that only finished anywhere near .500 by virtue of a September surge that came mostly against poor competition and was capped off by a six-game winning streak against the rebuilding Tigers and White Sox.

    Minnesota will now set out in search of what will be just its fourth manager since Tom Kelly took over as a 35-year-old rookie manager at the tail end of the 1986 season. Kelly’s Twins went on to win the World Series in both ’87 and ’91, and he remained at the helm until ceding the reins to Gardenhire, already a long-time Twins coach at that point, following the 2001 season. A lengthier search and full slate of interviews figures to follow, though 1500 ESPN’s Darren Wolfson tweets that Indians bench coach Brad Mills, with whom Falvey is familiar from his time as an AGM in Cleveland, was of interest to the Twins last year before the decision to extend Molitor’s contract was made.

    Yahoo’s Jeff Passan broke the news that the Twins were calling a press conference and suggested that it was to announce Molitor’s dismissal (Twitter link). USA Today’s Bob Nightengale definitively reported that Molitor was out as manager (Twitter link). ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reported that Molitor was being offered another position within the organization rather than strictly being fired (Twitter links).

    Joe Mauer Still Undecided About Retirement https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/09/central-notes-mauer-perez-bader-cardinals-kang-pirates.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/09/central-notes-mauer-perez-bader-cardinals-kang-pirates.html#comments Mon, 01 Oct 2018 03:37:59 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=133801 It isn’t yet clear if Joe Mauer will retire or return for the 2019 season, though if Sunday’s game was his last hurrah in the big leagues, it was a special one.  Mauer went 1-for-4 in the Twins’ 5-4 victory over the White Sox, though the most memorable moments included Mauer’s two daughters running onto the field to greet him at first base for the national anthem, as well as one final appearance behind the plate.  Making his first appearance at catcher since 2013, Mauer donned his old gear to catch the first pitch of the ninth inning before being substituted out of the game to a standing ovation from the Target Field fans.  “It’s just been an emotional roller coaster,” Mauer told reporters, including MLB,com’s Jarrid Denney.  “I’m not 100 percent sure [about retiring or not], and like I said, I want to make sure I have time just to take a deep breath and really be behind that decision. But I couldn’t have asked for a better last day of the 2018 season, and I’m looking forward to just taking a breath and spending some time with my girls, my family, and we’ll go from there.”

    Past, Present & Future: American League Closer Turnover https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/09/mlb-closer-changes-2018-american-league.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/09/mlb-closer-changes-2018-american-league.html#comments Tue, 25 Sep 2018 17:01:58 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=133145 By the end of the 2017 season, the list of pitchers closing out games for their respective teams included Matt Belisle, Alex Claudio, Juan Minaya and Mike Minor. Three of them were without a career save coming into the season—Belisle had five in 13 MLB seasons—and none had been expected to fill a significant late-inning bullpen role. By way of injuries, trades or ineffectiveness from those ahead of them on the depth chart, they were given a chance to record the final out in a close win and proved themselves capable.

    Things haven’t changed much this year. Raise your hand if you thought Wily Peralta would have one save in 2018. He has 13! Of the 15 American League teams, only four currently have a closer situation that mirrors what they had on Opening Day. When it comes to closers, uncertainty is the only certainty. And that’s why Mariano Rivera and Trevor Hoffman are Hall of Famers and the relief pitchers who will join them in Cooperstown in the future are few and far between.

    Here’s a look back at each American League team’s closer situation on Opening Day versus where they are now and where they will be as they head into the offseason. (Click HERE to view the National League.)

    [Related: MLB closer depth chart at Roster Resource]

    Baltimore Orioles Orioles Depth Chart

    Opening Day 2018: Committee — Brad Brach, Darren O’Day, Mychal Givens
    September 2018: Mychal Givens

    Future Outlook: Brach got the majority of the committee’s save chances prior to Zach Britton reclaiming the job shortly after returning from the disabled list in late June. Soon after, Givens was the last man standing following a series of July trades (Brach to the Braves; Britton to the Yankees). O’Day, meanwhile, suffered a season-ending hamstring surgery and was later traded to Atlanta in a separate deal.

    A valuable setup man for most of the past three seasons, Givens has done a fine job since taking over ninth-inning duties. In his last 19 appearances, he has a 2.18 ERA and eight saves in 10 chances. With so many holes to fill on the roster, upgrading at the closer position is probably low on the Orioles’ priority list. Givens, therefore, likely enters 2019 with the job — if he isn’t traded himself this offseason as the O’s continue their rebuilding efforts.

    Boston Red Sox Red Sox Depth Chart

    Opening Day 2018: Craig Kimbrel
    September 2018: Craig Kimbrel

    Future Outlook: Kimbrel, who recently became the fourth pitcher in MLB history to record at least 40 saves in five different seasons, has been a huge part of Boston’s historic season. As a free agent following the 2018 campaign, the 30-year-old will command a contract that rivals the highest-paid relievers in the game. Can the Red Sox afford to let him walk? Just in case he does, they’ll have to plan accordingly.

    With Joe Kelly also set to become a free agent, Matt Barnes is the logical choice to inherit the closer’s gig. He’s earned the opportunity with a 3.28 ERA and 25 holds while serving as the primary setup man on the best team in baseball. The 28-year-old also has an impressive 13.9 K/9 in 60.1 innings of work, an increase from 10.7 K/9 in ’17 and 9.6 K/9 in ’16. The only question is whether a team capable of winning over 100 games will entrust the role to someone with two career saves. If Kimbrel signs elsewhere, it seems likely that the Sox would pursue alternatives in free agency and/or trades.

    Chicago White Sox White Sox Depth Chart

    Opening Day 2018: Joakim Soria
    September 2018: Committee — Nate Jones, Jace Fry, Minaya, etc.

    Future Outlook: Soria was as good as he’d been in years, posting a 2.56 ERA with 16 saves and 11.4 K/9 in 40 appearances. The White Sox cashed in by sending him to the Brewers for two pitching prospects in late July. Since then, they’ve handed off the closer’s job to a committee that included just about any relief pitcher on their active roster—seven different pitchers have recorded saves since the Soria trade.

    The next step for the rebuilding White Sox is to put together a roster that can, at the very least, be a .500 team and potential playoff contender. Having a reliable closer would be an important part of that plan. Jones looks the part, but he’s missed most of the last two seasons recovering from elbow surgery and still might not be ready to take on the workload of a primary closer. A healthy Zack Burdi, the team’s first-round draft pick in 2016 and one time “closer of the future,” could also be in the mix at some point, though he spent 2018 recovering from Tommy John surgery. They’ll likely play it safe, however, and add at least one veteran with closing experience this offseason.

    Cleveland Indians | Indians Depth Chart

    Opening Day 2018: Cody Allen
    September 2018: Co-Closers – Allen and Brad Hand

    Future Outlook: Allen has a lot of mileage on his arm, averaging 71 relief appearances per season since 2013, and it’s showed at times during the current season. With Andrew Miller on the disabled list and Allen’s ERA creeping up near 5.00, the Indians’ acquisition of Brad Hand from the Padres on July 19th was a no-brainer.

    Not only has it helped them down the stretch—Hand has a 2.45 ERA and eight saves while Allen has 10 consecutive scoreless appearances—it also gives the Indians a very good closer option for 2019. Allen and Miller are both headed for free agency while the 28-year-old Hand is under contract through 2021. The job should be his moving forward.

    Detroit Tigers Tigers Depth Chart

    Opening Day 2018: Shane Greene
    September 2018: Shane Greene

    Future Outlook: With a 5.20 ERA and six blown saves in 37 chances, Greene is probably lucky to have held on to the job for the entire season. But on a rebuilding Tigers team, who is going to close out games for them is the least of their worries. With that said, Greene probably fits best as a setup man. Even if they don’t upgrade this offseason, All-Star Joe Jimenez (11.2 K/9, 22 holds, 3 saves, 2.88 FIP) could supplant Greene in 2019.

    Houston Astros Astros Depth Chart

    Opening Day 2018: Co-Closers – Chris Devenski and Ken Giles
    September 2018: Roberto Osuna

    Future Outlook: Despite a drop in strikeout rate—8.0 K/9 in ’18; 11.7 K/9 in ’17—Osuna has continued to perform at a high level amid abuse allegations that led to a 75-game suspension under MLB’s domestic abuse policy. The Astros still decided to acquire him in a trade with the Jays despite the ongoing investigation.

    Barring any struggles during the team’s playoff run — he’s postseason eligible in spite of that suspension — or any further off-the-field troubles, the 23-year-old Osuna seems likely to enter 2019 as the Astros’ closer. He’s under club control through the 2020 season.

    Kansas City Royals Royals Depth Chart

    Opening Day 2018: Kelvin Herrera
    September 2018: Wily Peralta

    Future Outlook: Soon after Herrera was traded to Washington in mid-June, Peralta emerged from the closer committee to become one of the unlikeliest ninth-inning success stories of 2018. It hasn’t always been pretty, but the 29-year-old has 13 saves in 13 chances and a 9.5 K/9 rate.

    After getting booted from the Brewers’ rotation last May, he had a disastrous 11-appearance stint as a relief pitcher (17 1/3 innings, 23 ER, 28 H, 15 BB) before getting designated for assignment in late July. He signed a Major League deal with Kansas City this offseason, only to be designated for assignment again and outrighted to Triple-A. He returned to the Majors one day before the Herrera trade and picked up his first MLB save eight days later.

    Peralta has a $3MM club option in 2019, which could very well be exercised. Even if it’s not, he’s remain under team control for one more season via arbitration. While he’s been better than anyone could’ve anticipated in his current role, his 22 walks in 31 1/3 innings serve as a red flag that will likely keep the Royals from locking him into the job next season without some form of competition.

    Los Angeles Angels Angels Depth Chart

    Opening Day 2018: Keynan Middleton
    September 2018: Ty Buttrey

    Future Outlook: Blake Parker, who finished 2017 as the closer, picked up the team’s first save of 2018 after finishing last season in the role. But it was Middleton who got the call for the next six save chances, all successful, making it clear that he was manager Mike Scioscia’s preferred choice in the ninth inning. A few weeks later, however, Middleton had undergone season-ending Tommy John surgery and it was back to the drawing board for the Angels.

    Parker got the majority of save chances with Middleton out. And as was the case in 2017, he got the job done with a 3.21 ERA and 13 saves in 16 chances from May 14th—the day after Middleton’s last game— through September 3rd. But Buttrey, acquired from the Red Sox in the July deal for Ian Kinsler, is getting a chance to show what he can do as of late. In six appearances from September 7th through September 18th, the 25-year-old tossed seven scoreless innings with 10 strikeouts and four saves. He has failed to convert his last two save chances, though.

    Regardless, there probably wasn’t enough time for Buttrey to seal the job for 2019. He will be a candidate alongside Parker, though, unless the Angels acquire a closer this offseason.

    Minnesota Twins Twins Depth Chart

    Opening Day 2018: Fernando Rodney
    September 2018: Trevor Hildenberger

    Future Outlook: After saving 25 games and solidifying the ninth inning for Minnesota over the first four months of the season, Rodney was traded to Oakland in AugustRyan Pressly, who would’ve been the logical choice to succeed him, was traded to Houston in late July. A closer committee appeared likely, but Hildenberger has been the go-to guy with seven saves in eight chances since Rodney’s departure. Taylor Rogers, while serving mostly in a setup role, has not allowed a run over his last 23 2/3 innings while logging two saves and 11 holds over that span.

    Between Hildenberger, Rogers, Addison Reed and Trevor May, who has five walks and 31 strikeouts in 23 innings in his first season since Tommy John surgery, the Twins have some decent late-inning options for 2019. It’s probably not enough to keep them away from the offseason closer’s market, though.

    New York Yankees Yankees Depth Chart

    Opening Day 2018: Aroldis Chapman
    September 2018: Co-Closers – Zach Britton and Dellin Betances

    Future Outlook: Chapman might not have enough time to reclaim the closer’s job before the end of the regular season—he returned from the disabled list last Wednesday—or even the playoffs for that matter. But there’s no reason to think a change is on the horizon in 2019. The 30-year-old lefty, who is 31-for-33 in save opportunities and is striking out 16.1 batters per nine innings, will be entering year three of a five-year, $85MM contract.

    Oakland Athletics Athletics Depth Chart

    Opening Day 2018: Blake Treinen
    September 2018: Blake Treinen

    Future Outlook: Treinen has been one of the breakout stars in 2018, saving 37 games while posting an 0.80 ERA and striking out 11.1 batters per nine innings for a playoff-bound A’s team. The 30-year-old is still under team control for two more seasons, although he’s in line for a significant raise from the $2.15MM he made in ’18. Barring injury, there’s no doubt that he’ll retain the job in 2019.

    Seattle Mariners Mariners Depth Chart 

    Opening Day 2018: Edwin Diaz 
    September 2018: Edwin Diaz

    Future Outlook: No other closer, arguably, has contributed more to his team’s success than the 24-year-old Diaz, who has 14 more saves (56) than any other pitcher in baseball and 13 more save chances (60). The Mariners play a lot of close ballgames—they are 36-21 in one-run games—and Diaz rarely gives his opponent a chance in the ninth inning. He has held his opponent scoreless in 59 of his 71 appearances and hitless in 44. He also has 41 multi-strikeout games.

    The 24-year-old is going to get paid once he reaches arbitration, although he could fall just short during the upcoming offseason. The Super Two cutoff has not fallen under 2.122 (two years, 122 days) since 2009. Diaz will be one day shy of that total.

    Tampa Bay Rays Rays Depth Chart

    Opening Day 2018: Alex Colome
    September 2018: Co-Closers – Sergio Romo/Jose Alvarado

    Future Outlook: When Colome was traded to Seattle on May 25th, the Rays were two games under .500 and 10 games out in the division. It’s not clear whether they were throwing in the towel or whether they just had enough confidence in Romo, who had 84 career saves coming into the season, and the remaining group of young arms. In any case, it’s worked out just fine.

    Since the trade, the Rays are 64-44 with Romo as the primary closer (3.38 ERA, 23-for-28  in save chances) and Alvarado, a 23-year-old lefty, also playing an integral role (1.98 ERA, 7 saves). Not that you can count on the Rays to do anything conventional like name a closer prior to the season or at any point during the regular season, but Alvarez and the hard-throwing Diego Castillo would be the leading in-house candidates if they did. Tampa Bay could also look to bring Romo back into the fold.

    Texas Rangers Rangers Depth Chart

    Opening Day 2018: Keone Kela
    September 2018: Jose Leclerc

    Future Outlook: No relief pitcher has boosted their value more in the second half of the season than Leclerc, who spent the first four months in a setup role. Once Kela was traded to the Pirates on July 31st, it was the 24-year-old Leclerc’s chance to shine. It’s hard to imagine a more convincing way to show that he wouldn’t be relinquishing the job anytime soon.

    Aside from converting each of his 11 save opportunities, Leclerc has allowed just two hits and six walks over 17 scoreless innings while striking out 28. The Rangers will look to bolster their bullpen this offseason, but finding a new closer isn’t likely to be on the agenda. Leclerc is controlled through 2022.

    Toronto Blue Jays Blue Jays Depth Chart

    Opening Day 2018: Roberto Osuna
    September 2018: Ken Giles

    Future Outlook: Despite being the primary closer on the World Champion Astros, it was clear  that Giles was not trusted with the game on the line. The trade to Toronto in late July gave the 28-year-old a chance to re-establish himself, out of the spotlight, as a reliable late-inning reliever. So far, so good.

    After a few shaky appearances to begin his Blue Jays tenure, Giles has settled into the closer’s role with 1.29 ERA over his past 15 appearances with 12 saves in 12 chances. It might not be enough to prevent the Jays from pursuing another option this winter, but Giles should at least be in the mix.

    Nate Jones (if $4.65MM club option is declined)
    Joe Kelly
    Craig Kimbrel
    Ryan Madson
    Andrew Miller
    Fernando Rodney (if $4.25MM club option is declined)
    Sergio Romo
    Joakim Soria (if $10MM mutual option is declined)
    Quick Hits: Wong, Nola, Phillips, Sano https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/09/quick-hits-wong-nola-phillips-sano.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/09/quick-hits-wong-nola-phillips-sano.html#comments Sun, 23 Sep 2018 20:01:12 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=133339 Per a tweet from Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong received some bad news recently. An MRI showed damage in Wong’s knee that might need to be addressed in the offseason, though there’s no official word on that either way. The general belief from the Cardinals’ camp, Wong included, is that the aforementioned knee damage may be contributing to the recurring soreness in his hamstring. There’s also some concern that the severity of the damage could lead to a strain. Despite this issue, Wong’s still put up the most productive season of his career thus far, in part due to outstanding defensive marks that include 21 Defensive Runs Saved and a 19.8 UZR/150.

    Other news and rumors from around the league…

    • Matt Gelb of The Athletic tweets that the Phillies were “deep in meetings” this morning to plot the club’s final eight contests of the season. Gelb notes that Aaron Nola will pass 200 innings today (and in fact, has, as of me writing this sentence), which could spell the end of the season for the club’s emergent ace. Some in the organization had suggested earlier in the season that the Phillies were planning to limit Nola to 185 innings on the season, but contender status necessitated them to increase that total. Now, though, Philadelphia is no longer playing with October in mind, which may help to explain why Gelb ponders aloud whether today could be Nola’s last start of 2018.
    • Speaking of innings caps, Orioles rookie right-hander Evan Phillips won’t pitch again this season, per Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com. He’s reached an innings limit after hurling a career-high 63 relief frames on the season between the Orioles, Braves and the Triple-A affiliates of the two clubs. Phillips, 24, has allowed 11 earned runs in 5 1/3 innings in Baltimore; he became part of the Orioles organization by way of the deadline deal that sent Kevin Gausman and Darren O’Day to the Braves.
    • A magnetic resonance imaging exam didn’t turn up any new leads as to the cause of Miguel Sano’s knee discomfort, Mike Berardino writes as part of a piece for the Pioneer PressTwins manager Paul Molitor provided some words on the subject, which must be frustrating for club and fan base alike. “We tried to eliminate things that might be sources or causes of the aggravation that he continues to feel,” said Molitor. “A little bit of a puzzle that we haven’t been able to solve yet in terms of the discomfort he continues to experience. We’re hoping with treatment and maybe a little bit more rest, we’ll be in a better place come Tuesday.” Sano has only appeared in the lineup once since September 4th, which comes as another black mark on a miserable follow-up to the three strong campaigns with which he began his career.