Inside Baseball news and notes from around all 15 AL teams. Click here for notes on all 15 NL teams. Click here to read Jon Heyman’s updated take on the crazy managerial carousel. Click here to read why Yankees manager Joe Girardi might be gone after this season no matter what.
- These stories making the rounds that the Orioles aren’t certain whether Tim Beckham is their shortstop are quite curious since Beckham posted a 3.3 WAR in his short time with the Orioles, good for third on the team for the year behind Jonathan Schoop (5.2) and Manny Machado (3.6). They made a great trade, sending a Class-A player for a shortstop who will be their starter the next three years.
- Some see Beckham as another possible area of division between GM Dan Duquette and manager Buck Showalter, with Duquette, having made that trade, being more sold on Beckham. In any case, it would seem to make little sense to try to find someone better when there are bigger needs – much bigger.
- While some would love to see the Orioles make a serious try to keep Machado, there’s still no evidence Peter Angelos is ready to dive into the $250-million-plus market.
Boston Red Sox
- Here’s what really did John Farrell in with Red Sox.
- Farrell did an OK job overall, and one reason some around the league thought they should have kept him is they weren’t confident they could find someone better. That didn’t seem like a great reason to me, and I made my feelings known earlier.
- The Red Sox have allowed their coaches to seek other jobs if they choose. Carl Willis, the pitching coach, is Farrell’s best friend, so he isn’t expected to return. There are some expectations bullpen coach Dana Levangie and third base coach Brian Butterfield will be retained. Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe pointed out that Butterfield, a whiz on the infield work, is key to helping young third baseman Rafael Devers.
- Chili Davis is a terrific hitting coach, and there’s no good reason why he shouldn’t be getting managerial inquiries.
Chicago White Sox
- So many prospects delivered for the ChiSox this year. Jake Berger, the No. 1 pick this year, answered questions about whether he can play third base. Eloy Jimenez, Michael Kopech and Alec Hanson all looked terrific, too.
- Zack Collins looks better behind the plate than many figured he would, and he definitely has power, but they are working on mechanics to aid his contact.
- Avisail Garcia’s terrific year has set him up to be valuable trade bait – assuming this market doesn’t devalue outfielders like we saw at the deadline.
- Joe McEwing’s in the mix in Detroit, and he’d actually make sense for Philly where he’s from, and New York where he played for the Mets.
- RIP Jim Landis, a hero of the pennant-winning 1959 team and father of noted agent Craig Landis. He was a great all-around player.
- Terry Francona and his bosses may love each other more than any boss-employee relationship I can think of, and the way it seems, Francona will manage the Indians for the rest of his career. So if anyone’s thinking he’d consider going back to the Red Sox, forget it.
- The Indians’ new regime’s call to emphasize scouting a bit more, and mix it in with analytics, seems to have paid off big-time. Scouts around the game are rooting for them.
- Their lineup didn’t look quite as imposing when they don’t have Edwin Encarnacion in it.
- Andrew Miller has a lot of guts. And funny it took awhile, but it turns out he’s every bit as talented as the Tigers figured when they stepped out and gave him a $6.6 million signing bonus out of UNC.
- The Tigers are off to a flying start in their interview process, and are known to have interviewed more than a half-dozen candidates already – Joe McEwing, Hensley Meulens, Mike Redmond, Fredi Gonzalez and three in-house guys.
- Ruben Amaro, the ex-Phillies GM, was linked in a report to Philly (that seems unlikely), but they are indeed taking a look at him in Detroit.
- Some were suggesting Ozzie Guillen as a managerial candidate, but as one rival said, “The problem with Ozzie is, it doesn’t end well.”
- A.J. Hinch did a wise thing and warned Justin Verlander the day before that he could see action out of the pen in Game 4, if needed. In fact, he made sure Verlander was on board for his first relief appearance. Verlander’s answer: “Absolutely.”
- The belief is that if you want to get to Verlander, you better get to him early. So the first batter to face him, Andrew Benintendi, hit a home run. Verlander shut down the Red Sox after that.
- Yulieski Gurriel, the former Cuban star, knows how to play in big games, and he came up huge, batting .529 vs. Boston.
- Josh Reddick’s amazing at-bat against Craig Kimbrel was something to behold. A “great professional at-bat against an elite talent,” said one exec. He fouled off two 98-mph heaters vs. Kimbrel before smacking a single.
- The Astros’ whole lineup seems like that. Beltran fouled off two 0-and-2 pitches before seeing a breaking ball, and doubling to left.
- I have issued a mea culpa before for suggesting the Astros overpaid for Reddick, which I did loudly and clearly. Of course, it’s early in the Reddick contract. But I am ready to concede.
- Cuban right-hander Alain Tamayo had a second workout for teams at the Astros facility in the D.R., Robert Murray of FanRag Sports reported.
- Carlos Correa, with help from club owner Jim Crane, H-E-B and Academy Sports, sent a cargo plane full of supplies on Sunday to his Puerto Rico.
Kansas City Royals
- The Royals have begun interviewing in-house candidates for pitching coach and hitting coach. They will need a hitting coach, as Dale Sveum is switching over to take Don Wakamatsu’s spot as bench coach.
- The Royals are still rechecking, so it’s not 100 percent, but they are still planning to give Lorenzo Cain the $18-million qualifying offer.
- They could still go one of two ways – either spend to keep some free-agent stars or rebuild – but signing their star free agents is “going to be a challenge,” in the words of GM Dayton Moore. The team doesn’t expect to meet or negotiate with any of the big ones before handing out the qualifying offers (Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas are shoo-ins for one). It’s a challenge, yes, but Moore recalls they had all but written off Alex Gordon before he came back to them for $72 million over four years. The Cubs were thought to be in play for Gordon should Jayson Heyward have gone elsewhere, and the White Sox even made a run at Gordon (though their offer was for less) before KC kept its homegrown star. As has been written in this space, Hosmer appears to be the one they are most interested in keeping.
- Despite rumors, Moore appears to be going nowhere. Moore was a beloved member of the Braves’ front office before moving on to the Royals, where he’s helped Kansas City into two World Series. Some believe he loves KC anyway.
Los Angeles Angels
- It’s time for the Angels to try to lock up Mike Trout. They did a nice job getting him to stay longer with a six-year deal that enables him to remain in Anaheim/LA until he’s 29. But they’ve wasted enough money on outside names that haven’t helped as much as they hoped. Though Trout is expected to finish outside the top two in MVP voting for the first time in his brilliant first seven years, he showed he isn’t slowing down a bit and would have led MLB in OPS if he had enough at-bats to qualify. They know that, and won’t even consider outside deals for him. With three years to go before free agency, it is time for the Angels to make their move.
- Ron Roenicke had some nice moments with the Angels, but the trend away from older managers may hurt him.
- Asdrubal Cabrera, should he become a free agent, would fit them since they should be looking at second base and third base over the winter.
- They are one of six teams with a pitching coach opening after letting go of Neil Allen.
- There is consideration to doing surgery to insert a rod in Miguel Sano’s troublesome shin, according to Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Anyway, the injury is worse than first feared.
- They lead the league in Haverford grads after hiring Jeremy Zoll from the Dodgers to be director of minor league ops. They also have GM Thad Levine and pro scout Ryan Isaac.
New York Yankees
- Good for CC Sabathia for getting it all back together, including his life. The Yankees would like to bring him back on a one-year deal, if possible – though the way he’s pitched, there will be outside interest.
- The Didi Gregorius trade may go down as one of the best in Yankees history. The late Stick Michael had a big role in that one.
- Matt Holliday should be playing more. I agree with Gary Phillips who wrote that for FanRag Sports. Holliday was bothered this year by the Epstein-Barr virus and struggled for a time. He looked good early and said he’d like to keep playing next year. While he’d like to be playing, he hasn’t complained.
- Beyond the monster power, Aaron Judge really has a terrific personality.
- Baseball president Billy Beane wanted to see more out of their young pitchers this year. “It was the one area where we were disappointed in the development,” he said in a story by John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle.
- One talent evaluator says Jorge Mateo could play shortstop in the bigs now, and be an impact defender in center now. He says he’s nearly as fast as Billy Hamilton, but that he’ll be a better hitter.
- People around the team believe Tim Bogar never got over being passed over for the Rangers managing job. He posted a nice record as interim, and probably was surprised not to get the job that went to Jeff Banister.
- No team was hurt in the AL more by injuries (except maybe the Jays).
Tampa Bay Rays
- The Rays know they won’t be able to keep Alex Cobb, as his market will be robust. He pitched superbly in his walk year (vs. the AL East too) and without his bread-and-butter changeup for a time, and is also the one top pitcher in his 20s on the market. They are expected to extend him the $18 million qualifying offer with little expectation he’d take it.
- Pitching coach Jim Hickey, who did an excellent job for more than decade, is receiving interest from multiple teams.
- The Rays were hurt by their all-or-nothing offense this year, but the expected return of Matt Duffy, a good contact hitter, may help. They have a lot to sort out on the infield, too, with Adeiny Hechavarria and others there.
- There’s a good chance they’ll be back in the first base market as Logan Morrison, who had a big year (38 homers) for $2.5 million, is a free agent. They could re-sign him, of course, but not at that price.
- GM Jon Daniels said they intend to get back to winning next year, which is very possible since they underachieved. But he also said the payroll would likely be cut back to 2016 standards (so about a $9 million cut).
- They need to get multiple starting pitchers (they are far from the only one in that category).
- The Rangers were weighing a qualifying offer for Andrew Cashner, but as Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News pointed out, he only had 4.64 strikeouts per nine innings this year, suggesting a bit of luck may have been involved in his fine season. Some thought the $10 million was too much for Cashner (Texas was right about that; he was worth it), but $18 million seems like a stretch.
- Joey Gallo took big strides this year. Las Vegas is the cradle of power hitters, with Bryce Harper and Kris Bryant, too.
Toronto Blue Jays
- Ross Atkins gets the award for most honest GM. Speaking of Devon Travis and Aaron Sanchez, whose seasons were decimated by injuries, Atkins called them “two young players that I feel like I let down.” Atkins blamed what he called the “inefficiency of our communication,” in this story by Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.
- The Jays did seem to lose players for lengthy periods. Travis had a knee, and Sanchez a blister/fingernail. Prospect Dalton Pompey missed the year after suffering a concussion in the WBC. And of course, Russell Martin, Troy Tulowitzki, J.A. Happ and Josh Donaldson all also missed significant time.
- Donaldson had a slash line of .300/.410/.690 with 24 home runs in 57 games, as Davidi mentioned. Meanwhile, Donaldson vowed that he’d be back to playing 150 games next year.