It was two years ago today that the Brewers made one of the biggest single-day splurges in recent baseball history, acquiring Christian Yelich from the Marlins for a four-prospect trade package, and also agreeing to sign Lorenzo Cain to a five-year, $80MM contract. (Cain’s deal wasn’t officially finalized until he passed a physical on January 26, 2018.) There surely aren’t any regrets in Milwaukee over that red-letter day, as the Brewers have reached the playoffs in each of the two subsequent seasons. Yelich has been nothing short of spectacular in a Brewers uniform, winning the 2018 NL MVP honors and finishing second in the MVP voting last season. It has been a bit more of a mixed bag for Cain, who enjoyed a tremendous 2018 campaign but then struggled through an injury-riddled 2019, though Cain finally won his first career Gold Glove last year after another outstanding defensive showing in center field.
The latest from around baseball…
- MLB Pipeline unveiled the latest edition of its top 100 prospects list today, with the Rays’ Wander Franco receiving the nod as the game’s top minor leaguer. Franco’s long list of plaudits includes a rare 80 grade for his hitting, the highest possible mark on the 20-80 scouting scale. “If you were to build a hitter from scratch using all of the physical attributes and skills that have come to define great hitters, he’d probably end up looking something like Franco,” details Pipeline’s scouting report on the 18-year-old shortstop. The Rays placed six prospects on the top 100 list, the most of any team. The Dodgers’ Gavin Lux, White Sox outfielder Luis Robert, the Orioles’ Adley Rutschman, and the Padres’ MacKenzie Gore rounded out the rest of the top five. MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo (who compiled the list along with colleagues Jim Callis and Mike Rosenbaum) details how the list was compiled, the new faces joining the top 100, the prospects from past lists who were omitted from this year’s ranking, and many more details.
- After playing seven different defensive positions in 2019, it looks like the Tigers’ Niko Goodrum is going to focus only on shortstop for the foreseeable future, Chris McCosky of The Detroit News writes. Goodrum came up in the minors as a shortstop, but he expanded his horizons in hopes that versatility would improve his chances of cracking the big leagues. That strategy worked out pretty well for the 28-year-old, who’s coming off a solid pair of seasons after the Tigers signed him to a minor league deal more than two years ago. While that versatility is still an asset, Detroit likes Goodrum best at shortstop at present, especially after an impressive defensive showing over 326 2/3 innings at short in 2019. While it’s tricky to make a definitive judgement based on such a small sample size, Goodrum received high grades over a range of defensive metrics (+3 Defensive Runs Saved, +8.6 UZR/150, and +6 Outs Above Average).
- Could this be Chaim Bloom’s only chance to hire a Red Sox manager? This is one of many points raised by the Boston Globe’s Peter Abraham while speculating about the club’s rather quiet managerial search. With a nod to how quickly the Sox parted ways with former front office heads Ben Cherington and Dave Dombrowski, Abraham writes that “given the lack of job security in his position, Bloom may only get one chance to hire a manager if he doesn’t get this right.” This leads Abraham to wonder if Bloom could make a hire from outside the organization, in order to put some type of personal stamp on a team that otherwise retained much of its front office staff after Dombrowski was fired.