Ryan Divish of The News Tribune on the report about the Mariners seeing if Lou Piniella would be interested in coming back to manage the Mariners: “It would make life much more enjoyable and my job more interesting. But it probably isn’t the best thing for the Mariners.” Ryan ain’t lyin’.
Divish’s piece was based on a story by Ken Rosenthal at Fox Sports, which also includes his (Rosenthal’s) statement that: “The Mariners are considering a wide range of managerial candidates, sources say. The futures of the team’s top executives — not just general manager Jack Zduriencik but also club president Chuck Armstrong and CEO Howard Lincoln — could hinge on the club’s performance in 2014.” I’m sure there will be plenty of Amens for that prayer.
AL West Commentary
“We’re not going to make a move unless it fits into the plan, and we’re not going to rush the plan. [General Manager] Jeff [Luhnow] has a very systematic formula and we do have some good players coming up. You add three or four key positions and bring in a couple of guys that are ready; this team is pretty competitive pretty quickly with the starting pitching we’ve got. We’re deep in pitching,” [Astros owner Jim] Crane said, as reported by Brian McTaggart at MLB Pro Blogs.
“Though titles have not yet been formalized, the Rangers are re-working their scouting and player development departments. A.J. Preller, currently the Senior Director of Player Personnel, will oversee both efforts. Preller has previously overseen most of the club’s scouting efforts. The biggest change in responsibilities will occur for Mike Daly, who has spent the last four years as the club’s director of international scouting. Daly will move over to the player development side and will handle the day-to-day operations of the farm system. He replaces Tim Purpura, who had been the farm director for the last two years. Purpura has been reassigned to the business side of the organization.” —Evan Grant at Dallas Morning News
Baseball Best Practice
Jay Jaffe of Sports Illustrated did a study of free agents earlier in the year which indicated that, on the whole, they are not great investments, which probably won’t shock many readers. As we get ready for this season’s free agent auction, it’s worth reviewing. Jaffe writes that he “used the ESPN Free Agent Tracker to create a pool of 100 players, consisting of the top 20 free agents from each winter. Of those 100 players, only 28 delivered as much or more WAR in their first season following free agency (Year 1) as in their walk year (Year 0), a finding that was true whether the players remained on the same team (eight out of 28, 28.6 percent) or changed teams (20 out of 72, 27.8 percent). The average player in the sample was worth 3.0 WAR in Year 0, and 1.7 WAR in Year 1, a drop of 43 percent. Surprisingly, starting pitchers held their value better than other positions, though not by much.” The full article can be found here.
John Tomase of the Boston Herald “feels the Red Sox should look to the New England Patriots [when contemplating what to do regarding Jacoby Ellsbury], who have made unpopular decisions to let popular players depart without hurting the franchise long-term. He adds that “Red Sox executives have privately marveled at the Pats’ ability to remove emotion from their player evaluations” and points out that speed-oriented players typically don’t age well.”
So they said
“I don’t want to be a cliché, but there’s nothing to hang our heads about,” Maddon said. “There really isn’t. A great battle all season. We were an up-and-down kind of team. We hit some really good moments and some really bad moments, but at the end of the day you still won 92 games. That’s pretty good.” —Tampa Bay Rays Manager Joe Maddon as reported by Roger Mooney at TBO
Mariner’s potential off-season targets
Zach Links at MLB Trade Rumors reports that the Rangers have designated Jeff Baker for assignment, stating that:
“The infielder was taken off of the 40-man roster to make room for right-handed pitcher Matt West to be activated off of the 60-day disabled list. The move doesn’t make a huge difference in the Rangers’ plans as Baker is set to hit the open market this winter. Baker had a strong .279/.360/.545 slash line in a small sample size of 175 plate appearances this season. The 32-year-old, who also has experience in the outfield, has a career slash line of .267/.321/.440 over parts of nine big league seasons. Last winter, the Yankees were among the clubs that showed interest in Baker when they were in the hunt for a right-handed outfield bat.” Baker put up a .905 OPS with 11 dingers in his age 32 season.
“The Phillies and Mets could be battling for Carlos Beltran, writes David Murphy. I spoke with an evaluator the other day who believes that Beltran will have an extremely limited market among NL teams because his defensive metrics have gone backward significantly — to the degree that he wonders if it the Cardinals will pass on the one-year qualifying offer to the veteran. Beltran’s defensive metrics were by far the worst among right fielders, according to Fangraphs.com.” Buster Olney at ESPN [Insider required]
“The Phillies enter next season with uncertainty nearly everywhere on the roster. Bringing back [Roy] Halladay, even at a club-friendly price, would only add to that. Maybe Halladay bounces back and has a great year. But history suggests pitchers his age coming off shoulder injuries continue to struggle. FanGraphs found pitchers over 35 — Halladay turns 37 in May — who went on the DL for any sort of shoulder injury only averaged 59 innings the rest of their career. Halladay pitched 27 2/3 innings following right shoulder surgery in May, so maybe he is ahead of the game.” From Todd Zolecki at Phillies.mlb.com
Buster Olney said on ESPN Radio that the Dodgers are the team most likely to pursue David Price this off-season. While he sees the Rangers and Mariners as possible contenders for Price, Olney doubts Price would be willing to sign with Seattle.
“[Mike] Morse is a pending free agent. [It’s] believed his injury “pre-dated” the August 30th [Orioles] trade with Seattle, but it’s not an issue they’re pursuing.” Roch Kubatko at MASN
“The search for a bench coach and first-base coach will intensify next week as Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington and general manager Jon Daniels pare a lengthy list of candidates and possibly conduct interviews. Daniels has said that the preference is to look within the organization first, and that could be where he and Washington find the replacement for Dave Anderson in the first-base box and as infield instructor. Double A Frisco manager Steve Buechele is a possibility. Washington would prefer to have a bench coach who has big-league managing experience, but no one within the organization has that on his résumé. Former Seattle manager Eric Wedge and former Colorado manager Jim Tracy have been considered.” From the Ft Worth Star-Telegram
Comment From Matt: Any chance the Mariners can get Giancarlo Stanton? What prospects would the Marlins need to get in return?
Steve Adams: They probably have some nice pieces in place, but they’d need to give up something like Taijuan Walker and Nick Franklin or Mike Zunino as a starting point, and I don’t think the Marlins will trade Stanton anyhow.
Comment From Jose: Ranger targets this off-season?
Steve Adams: Abreu, McCann… they’ll be in on some big name players.
Comment From Toml: Will Yenier Bello be free to sign this winter? How will that affect McCann or Saltalamacchia?
Steve Adams: I would think so, yes. I don’t think it’s going to have a huge impact on them, as they’ll still be viewed as the top targets on the market. He may impact Ruiz and Pierzynski more. We don’t know a ton about Bello yet though… I’ll be interested to continue reading on him as the offseason progresses
Comment From Get er Done: Aoki and Weeks (maybe plus a couple mil) for Gerrit Jones. Who hangs up?
Steve Adams: Aoki has real trade value. The others don’t. No sense in the Brewers doing that.
Comment From Billy Beane: Is Josh Donaldson legit, or is he having a fluke season like Chase Headley?
Steve Adams: Donaldson’s been a guy with good hitting tools and high expectations for awhile… just another late bloomer who’s been held back by injuries and some poor years. I think he’s legit, though I don’t think he’s an eight-win player every year. A solid, two-way third baseman for the foreseeable future though.