You can mark your calendar for Mariners Fanfest on Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 25-26 at Safeco Field. —Greg Johns at MLB
Jon Heyman at CBS Sports has written the most informed and detailed story yet about the break-up between the Seattle Mariners and Eric Wedge. It’s an interesting read; Heyman opens with this: “After speaking with Eric Wedge and several other people connected to the Mariners, only one thing can be easily concluded: Wedge made the right call to “walk away” from the job as Mariners manager after three years. (Wedge draws a distinction between that and “quitting,” one of many disagreements/distinctions that exist between the sides. The others are far larger.) After 3 1/2 up-and-down years, Wedge and much of the Mariners front office were no longer compatible. Of that there can be little doubt.
“The rest of the story is where it gets tricky. Not much is agreed upon in the aftermath, and that includes exactly what went down in that final, fateful conversation before the season ended between Wedge and five-year Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik that was described as “intense” by someone with knowledge of it.”
The fully detailed story can be read here.
AL West Commentary
A lot of rival evaluators believe Rangers are going to be really, really aggressive this winter, pursuing Price, Tanaka, McCann, etc. —Buster Olney via Twitter
Nolan Ryan, citing a desire to spend more time on his ranch and with his family, is stepping down as the chief executive officer of the Rangers, effective at the end of the month. Ryan said he has been thinking about this for some time and the decision had nothing to do with any philosophical differences he had with President of Baseball Operations Jon Daniels.
“I feel my relationship with Jon is good and our relationship didn’t come into play on this,” Ryan said during a press conference at the Ballpark in Arlington, attended by Rangers co-chairman Ray Davis and Bob Simpson.
The Rangers will not hire a new CEO to replace Ryan. Davis will assume the role of controlling owner as far as representing the Rangers with Major League Baseball and rotate the responsibility with Simpson. The break from the Rangers is complete as Davis and Simpson have bought out Ryan’s share in the ownership group. Both said they tried to talk Ryan into staying on in his current role. “We’re disappointed in the decision he’s made, but we understand it and now we’ll turn the page and wish him well for him and his family and wish the Rangers well as well,” Davis said. From Ranger’s press release.
So they said
“I like Nolan [Ryan], and at some point if Nolan wanted to do something, we’re all ears.” —Astros owner Jim Crane
“I just don’t think we should be booing him. This is our home. This is supposed to be a positive atmosphere.” —Tori Hunter on fans booing Prince Fielder
“Teams can will themselves to survive. That’s what we do.” —Dustin Pedroia via Peter Gammons
“I was going to give it every attempt to go out there and try to catch that ball,”[Tori] Hunter said. “If it takes for me to get knocked out or die on the field, I guess I’ve got to do it.”
Now that’s a gamer!
After game five, Jim Leyland became the latest in a growing list of MLB folks to say he’d be in favor of a rule change on plate collisions. —Buster Olney
“It’s been draining. I get home and I pass out. I never do that.” —Mike Napoli via Ken Rosenthal
By the numbers
Prince Fielder has gone 16 straight games without an RBI dating back to the regular season. That’s the longest streak of his career. —ESPN Stats & Info
At 21 years, 16 days old, Xander Bogaerts became the youngest Red Sox player to start a postseason game, besting some guy named Babe Ruth. —Maury Brown
Jon Lester now has 4 postseason wins, passing Babe Ruth and Bruce Hurst for most by a Red Sox LHP. —ESPN Stats & Info
“Mike Morse‘s free agency is completely undercut by this: He needs wrist surgery. His best bet now will be to sign someplace on a one-year deal, hope he can have a good season, and go back into the market next year.” —Buster Olney at ESPN
“[Vernon] Wells and Ichiro were awful this past season and have been for three years running now. Their salaries and statuses as proven veterans/good clubhouse guys and whatever else should not keep them on the roster. If (and hopefully when) the Yankees find suitable replacements, these two should be given the axe. I can’t stress this enough: you don’t win by having bad players on the team. These two are bad and they should absolutely be on the hot seat this offseason.” —Mike Axisa at River Avenue Blues
The Phillies sent four players to Triple-A Lehigh Valley, one of which was outfielder Casper Wells. Wells, who also spent time with the White Sox and Mariners in 2013, had a dismal .126/.186/.147 combined slash line in 102 plate appearances.
Comment From Prich: Erasmo Ramirez for Trevor Ploufe: who would or should say no?
Steve Adams: If I were Terry Ryan I couldn’t file the paperwork fast enough. I don’t think the Mariners should make that trade, nor would they.
Comment From Trevor: Please tell me the Mariners wont break the bank on Ellsbury?
Steve Adams: I think they’ll definitely be in the mix for him, but if you’re hoping they don’t sign him, you can at least take comfort in looking at what a hard time they’ve had convincing free agent hitters to go there in past years.
Comment From I hate Scott Boras: Any chance the Mariners resign Kendrys Morales or is he gonna move?
Steve Adams: If Seattle makes a qualifying offer and Morales rejects, I don’t know who else would take him at that point. Who’s giving up a Top 30 or Top 60 pick to sign a DH that’s a good but not great hitter? Maybe he could reject and work out something like 2/24 with the Mariners, but that’s steep for Morales.
Comment From Zach: Clearly Barry Zito is done with the Giants, but is his career done or do you see him getting a minor league deal somewhere?
Steve Adams: Sure, there’s no harm in giving Zito a minor league deal or even guaranteeing the guy a million bucks if you’re a non-contending team that just needs someone to eat innings and has a young rotation.
Comment From CB: Biggest name traded this offseason? To who?
Steve Adams: David Price to the Cubs or Rangers if I had to guess a destination now, but there are other teams with the pieces to pull it off
Comment From Frank: Ellsbury or Granderson for 2014, who would you rather have on your team?
Steve Adams: On a one-year deal? Ellsbury. On the contracts that they’ll probably end up signing? Granderson.
Comment From Thomas: How is Ethier untradeable? He posted a 122 OPS+, his career average is a 123 OPS+ and has not posted an OPS+ under 121 since his first full season in the majors. Money will need to be eaten, but he is far from untradeable
Steve Adams: I never said he was. I said they’d need to eat money to make it happen
Comment From bb: You think that the White Sox will trade Chris Sale this winter? Which teams will have the best offer?
Steve Adams: I don’t think Sale gets moved, no, but any teams that would be in on Price would want Sale just as badly, if not more. He’s controlled through 2019 — the price would be absurd. We’re talking a Top 15 prospect, another pair of Top 100 guys and some low-level, high-ceiling guys as well
Comment From LAA fan: Does E. Santana get 4 guaranteed years and at how much average per year?
Steve Adams: At least four, possibly five. He can pull in $14MM annually, maybe more if he only takes four years
Comment From Frank: Who’s the better International signing Jose Abreu or Tanaka?
Steve Adams: I’d prefer Tanaka, but both are going to get pretty eye-popping contracts. Pitching is tougher to find than power bats with questionable gloves though.
Comment From Jacob: Who are the best sleeper free agents out there?
Steve Adams: I like Corey Hart as a nice rebound candidate in 2014. All he’s ever done is hit when healthy. Ruiz is a nice value coming off a down season with a strong finish. I don’t think a lot of people realize just HOW good Ubaldo Jimenez was this season. The ghost of his 2011-12 seasons could limit his market to the point where he’s a bargain. None of them are necessarily sleepers, but I think all may be undervalued. Ryan Madson too, if he’s healthy finally.
Comment From Cory: Could Mike Morse be a bargain ?
Steve Adams: Yeah if he’s healthy and the team that signs him just puts him at DH. I guess you could let him play first base, but just keep him out of the outfield already
Comment From Cory Heart: Who am I signing with?
Steve Adams: He said he’d take a discount to return to Milwaukee, so they’re my pick.
Comment From Jose Abreu: Where do I sign, when, and for how much?
Steve Adams: We’re posting a FA Profile on Abreu shortly after the chat, and I agree with Tim’s ultimate prediction of 6/54 that’s in the post. As for who could sign him… Marlins, Rangers, Red Sox, White Sox… pretty early to predict on that, but I do think Miami will be more seriously involved than most cynical fans want to give them credit for.
Steve Adams: Lots of questions on where Choo will sign — too early to make a solid prediction on that, but I think he pulls in over $80MM on a five-year deal