Inside Baseball NL Notes | Giants GM humbled by last-place season

Inside Baseball news and notes from around all 15 NL teams. Click here for notes on all 15 AL teams. Click here to read Jon Heyman’s picks for AL and NL Cy Young, MVP, Rookie of the Year and manager and executives of the year.

Arizona Diamondbacks

  • Everyone around the game is saying it. The D-backs are dangerous.
  • It isn’t just lip service to say Dave Stewart set the stage; he acquired two-fifths of one of the better rotations in baseball (Robbie Ray, who could get some support on the bottom of Cy Young ballots, plus Zack Godley).
  • Alex Jacobs, seen as a rising star with the Astros, has joined the D-backs as a special assignment scout. He put together Team Israel in the WBC, which was famous for its surprising run and Mensch on the bench.
  • Loved Zack Greinke’s quote about how things will be better if they win and not as good as they lose. That’s Zack!

Atlanta Braves

  • Former best friends John Schuerholz and John Hart, who run the team now, are said to be at odds over things related to the team and currently having a tough time getting along.
  • The Braves quite obviously were thinking long and hard about their managerial situation, suggesting they appeared to be on the fence about Brian Snitker, whom they ultimately kept for 2018 and who hasn’t done a bad job at all. There has been a bit of a split among higher-ups about what to do. But some wonder whether the GM situation affected their call to keep Snitker. The Braves have prided themselves in stability for decades, and the past few years have put a dent in that image. Still, this might be something to keep an eye on, since they brought Snitker back as a lame duck by just picking up the option.
  • Luiz Gohara looks like a star in the making. Marlins people were blown away by his stuff.

Chicago Cubs

  • Due to continuing hamstring concerns, Jake Arrieta was pushed back from Game 3 to 4 of the NLDS.
  • Davey Martinez should get a chance to manage at some point, no?
  • Writing on how they plan to slow down Trea Turner was Patrick Mooney of CSN Chicago.
  • More than one person around the game is envisioning a rematch of the 2016 World Series.

Cincinnati Reds

  • GM Dick Williams scouted Shohei Otani’s last start in Sapporo, though the Reds would seem like a long shot.
  • Joey Votto opined that this was his best year. Which might be like picking between your children; they are all to be loved and savored.
  • Los Angeles Times beat writer Andy McCullough tweeted, “I am being openly mocked in the press box for saying Joey Votto should be MVP. Have no fear, fans: Sportswriters are also dumb.” (Not sure if he meant himself, or more likely the others, but I take no offense, because Andy’s just funny. Votto has a case, though I didn’t put him first).
  • Scott Schebler has some tools: power and speed.

Colorado Rockies

  • In a surprise, Gerardo Parra got the start in left field for the Rockies, even over Ian Desmond, the big free-agent signee. Desmond is 3-for-22 lifetime vs. Zack Greinke, but Parra was on a 1-for-27 slide.
  • I like the Rockies’ future. They are headed in the right direction, even after a wild-card game loss to the D-backs – though signing Nolan Arenado long-term may not be easy.

Los Angeles Dodgers

  • Manager Dave Roberts says the record doesn’t matter now, and they all start fresh. That’s probably true. But the Dodgers should hope it does matter since they won 104, the MLB high. (He may be trying to have them forget their rough final month).
  • Chris Taylor’s contribution was immense. While he’ll be overlooked in MVP voting due to better overall numbers for others, his shocking versatility and power were key.
  • It feels like Adrian Gonzalez’s career is winding down, without the usual power. He isn’t making the Division Series roster.
  • Not suggesting Shohei Otani winds up with the Dodgers, but since Dylan Hernandez writes for the Los Angeles Times, his very good story on Otani goes here.
  • Otani, by the way, is expected to pick an MLB agent sometime after his season ends Oct. 9.
Japan’s starter Shohei Otani gestures after taking two outs during the third inning of the semifinal game against South Korea at the Premier12 world baseball tournament at Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015. (AP Photo/Toru Takahashi)

(AP Photo/Toru Takahashi)

Miami Marlins

  • The office the Marlins tweeted with Jeter behind the table that contained two computers is actually David Samson’s office. Samson offered to remain on to help guide Jeter in the early stages, but Jeter said no. Someone made something of the Purell bottle affixed to the wall that was prominent in the picture. For the record, that was Samson’s. He is very neat.
  • An associate of Jeter made the claim that the former Yankees great never intended to fire the four Marlins luminaries Jeter wound up asking back (Andre Dawson, Tony Perez, Jeff Conine and Jack McKeon) in what seemed like a reversal after Samson let them know they were being let go by Jeter following a conversation with Jeter. Jeter hasn’t spoken publicly on the matter. But sources say that Samson, before making those four unwanted phone calls to let go four of his friends, rechecked with either Jeter and/or Jeter’s lawyers to make certain that’s what he wanted to do. The answer came back: Yes. They are fired.
  • Many Marlins players aren’t expecting to be back next year, due to the expected rebuild/selloff, as was mentioned here in the Giancarlo Stanton interview over the weekend. But the key to the expected rebuild is probably Stanton himself.
  • More on the Marlins pursuit of Yankees exec Gary Denbo here.

Milwaukee Brewers

  • Some suggest Sonny Gray’s first choice would have been Milwaukee due to his close relationship with their pitching coach Derek Johnson from their days together at Vanderbilt. But Gray says now about the Yankees that he’s “happy to be here” and discounts that kind of talk.
  • As for the Brewers, while they are in the process of evaluating their big decisions, they don’t seem to be overly emotional about losing out for the playoffs by one game. Their decision not to part with top outfield prospect Lewis Brinson was really the key to not getting Gray (though perhaps they could have packaged several other pieces; once they decided to keep Brinson, it became clear the advantage swung to the Yankees). And as Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported, the decision to hold Josh Hader was part of the reason the division-rival Cubs landed Jose Quintana, their other top target. “We were in a number of conversations that were tough calls,” GM David Stearns said. “Anytime you’re talking about acquiring premium players you’re talking about premium prospects. We also know we have to maintain a base of talent if we want to win consistently.” Stearns didn’t suggest losing Quintana to the Cubs is any more difficult. “I don’t think I can operate like that.”
  • Folks can second guess, but Stearns has the Brewers on the right track.
  • The Brewers do look like they have a “surplus” of outfielders for trade purposes, with Domingo Santana stepping up, and kids Brinson, Corey Ray, Brett Phillips, Keon Broxton and others.

New York Mets

  • There were stories about how Collins was having trouble with players, especially young players, and the one by Newsday’s Marc Carig is revealing. This isn’t unusual in the seventh year, anyway, and as Alderson said, we all shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that Collins had seven years of mostly fine service.
  • It’s too bad that Collins didn’t have the benefit of a little nicer sendoff, like Pete Mackanin received in Philly. But the ugly last week probably prevented that.
  • Collins is said to have had at least one huge fan left in the clubhouse, and that is Jose Reyes. And why not? Reyes led the Mets in at-bats despite having a replacement-level-player type year.
  • Trainer Ray Ramirez didn’t deserve to be fired, though fans, upset by the team’s many injuries, seemed to cheer the move on Twitter. It’s silly to blame them on Ramirez from here, though.
  • Still no word on Asdrubal Cabrera’s $8.5 million option, though they seemed to be leaning toward picking it up.
  • The Mets’ payroll may go down next year, writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post. The budget was supposed to be significantly lower than the $155 million it wound up at this year, however.
  • Alex Cora and Kevin Long are on Mets’ managerial list

Philadelphia Phillies

Pittsburgh Pirates

  • Poor Andrew McCutchen could be back on the trade block again this winter, reports Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. No matter, McCutchen was once again the Pirates’ most productive outfielder.
  • Gregory Polanco hasn’t lived up to the hype yet, and Starling Marte’s season was a complete disaster.
  • Top prospect Tyler Glasnow was a disappointment while in the majors, posting a 7.69 ERA. But he was so highly regarded before that perhaps an adjustment or two could help.
  • John Jaso gave a nice retirement quote, saying he was going to “sail off.”
PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 01: Pittsburgh Pirates right fielder John Jaso (28) rounds second before scoring in the second inning uring a MLB game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Cincinnati Reds at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, PA on September 1, 2017. (Photo by Shelley Lipton/Icon Sportswire)

(Photo by Shelley Lipton/Icon Sportswire)

St. Louis Cardinals

  • One Marlins player said he heard word there was talk of interest on the part of the Cardinals, including in Marcell Ozuna, Dee Gordon and Brad Ziegler. The Ziegler talk occurred after Trevor Rosenthal went down.
  • Look for them to do something big, as they still have the monies left over from missing out on Albert Pujols, Jason Heyward and David Price.

San Diego Padres

  • They will likely seek a stop-gap answer at shortstop again, as their top prospects at that position appear a year away. That includes Fernando Tatis Jr., who’s one of the best prospects in the game.
  • Luis Perdomo’s four triples are the most for a pitcher since Robin Roberts in 1955, which can’t be a surprise. According to Statcast, Perdomo registered the fastest home-to-third performance for a pitcher at 11.5 seconds (Byron Buxton and Billy Hamilton did 10.5 this year). But as position players sometimes say, pitcher aren’t athletes (they are kidding, mostly).

San Francisco Giants

  • The Giants aren’t used to going 64-98. “It definitely humbles you,” GM Bobby Evans said. He’s been through a few losing seasons in his long tenure, but this is his first in his three years as GM. “It does taste a little worse when you cooked the meal,” he noted.
  • They say they want to re-emphasize defense after a rough year. Most of the misplays seemed to be in the outfield.
  • To that end, Denard Span has volunteered to move to left field. Which is the right move.
  • Some are saying the Giants aren’t expecting to have much money. But they have surprised folks with signings before, so I wouldn’t go with that rumor. Evans will only say they will be “mindful of opportunities.”
  • They have received managerial inquiries on their coaches Ron Wotus, Phil Nevin and perhaps Hensley Meulens. It feels like it’s time for Wotus, who’s been Bruce Bochy’s right-hand man for quite a while.
  • Bochy isn’t worried about a second ablation procedure, this one for atrial fibrillation.
  • Brandon Belt has been cleared to play after many weeks out with a concussion.
  • Matt Cain really seemed to appreciate his good fortune to have been a Giant during their incredible run, and his retirement, as well. And they appreciate him. “Matt’s contribution goes way beyond the trophy,” Evans said.
  • Beloved longtime scout Paul Turco also is retiring.

Washington Nationals

  • Dusty Baker and Mike Rizzo talked briefly about Baker’s expiring contract, and the suggestion is they want him back. It’ll be interesting to see how it goes though since Baker took a pay cut by half from his Reds days to be the manager in D.C. Dusty doesn’t seem too worried about it though. As he told Jorge Castillo in this story, “Confidence is not my problem.” No, it isn’t. Considering all the injuries they’ve had, Baker should be proud of the job he did.

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