Posts Tagged ‘Major League Baseball’

Jose Bautista‘s tenure with the Toronto Blue Jays may be over, but remaining in the American League East appears to be an option.

The Tampa Bay Rays are interested in the slugger, according to a report from Jon Morosi of MLB Network, who also claimed Bautista had discussions with the Rays last offseason before returning to Toronto.

Earlier, Bautista’s agent suggested his client would be willing to sign as a corner infielder as well as an outfielder or designated hitter. While the 37-year-old has spent the majority of his career in right field, he has also played first base and third base on rare occasion.

The Rays could lose Logan Morrison and Lucas Duda to free agency, and have a noticeable vacancy at first base. Corey Dickerson is either the starting left fielder or designated hitter, leaving another opening in one of those spots.

Bautista is coming off of his worst season since 2009 (.203/.308/.366) and became a free agent when the Blue Jays rejected a $17-million mutual option.

Over his 14-year career, the six-time All-Star owns a .250/.362/.480 slash line while hitting 331 home runs.

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The New York Yankees outperformed expectations in 2017, coming within a victory of making the World Series. They decided to part ways with longtime manager Joe Girardi anyway.

Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner said it was a tough decision for general manager Brian Cashman, but things wouldn’t necessarily have been different if the team had won the World Series, according to ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick.

“I’m sure there would have been more pressure,” Steinbrenner said Wednesday. “It would have been maybe a more difficult decision to make. But I would have made it because I felt like that was best for the organization moving forward.”

In 10 seasons as Yankees skipper, Girardi went 910-710 in the regular season. He won the World Series with the club in 2009.

General manager Brian Cashman said in early November that Girardi had difficulty communicating with his players.

“This was not a decision we took lightly, and not a decision that had to do with two-three weeks. It had to do with two-three years, and observing things and hearing things,” Steinbrenner said, noting that he agreed with Cashman’s recommendation to bring in a new manager. “We felt it was time to move in a different direction.”

The Yankees remain the only team without a manager in place for 2018.

Agent Scott Boras has set an asking price of $210 million over a seven-year deal for outfielder J.D. Martinez, reports Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports.

Teams were already under the impression that Boras would seek top dollar for Martinez – one of, if not the most coveted asset on the open market.

The 30-year-old Martinez is coming off an incredible season split between the Detroit Tigers and Arizona Diamondbacks in which he hit .303/.376/.690 for a remarkable 1.066 OPS across 119 games.

Boras will be involved in some of this offseason’s most expensive signings, as he also represents free agents Eric Hosmer, Jake Arrieta, and Mike Moustakas.

The Toronto Blue Jays expect to be players in the Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes once he’s posted by the Nippon Ham Fighters.

General manager Ross Atkins said the team will be “extremely prepared” to make a pitch when the time comes, adding he thinks Toronto is a “perfect fit” for the pitcher-outfielder hybrid, according to Sportsnet’s Hazel Mae.

The 23-year-old Ohtani is expected to be highly coveted for his ability to crush home runs while also shutting down opponents from his perch on the mound. Ohtani missed action throughout 2017, playing in only 65 games as a hitter, and tossing only 25 1/3 innings.

In 2016, he slashed .322/.416/.588 with 22 home runs, 18 doubles, and 67 RBIs.

The Blue Jays will have to get creative with their international bonus pool money if they intend to take a run at bringing Ohtani north. They only have $50,000 available, compared to $3.535 million for the Texas Rangers, according to Ronald Blum of the Associated Press.

The Atlanta Braves introduced Alex Anthopoulos as executive vice president and general manager at a press conference Monday.

“The talent level and the work that’s been done here is tremendous and that’s certainly a credit to all the administrations that have been here before over the years,” Anthopoulos said, per FOX Sports.

The 40-year-old signed a four-year contract that runs through 2021. He will have complete control of baseball operations, and report directly to Braves chairman and CEO Terry McGuirk. In addition, the Braves announced that president of baseball operations John Hart – who had been serving as interim GM – will move into a new job as senior advisor “effective immediately,” and will have no “active involvement in baseball operations.”

Anthopoulos inherits a Braves team with an elite group of prospects highlighted by outfielder Ronald Acuna and pitchers Kolby Allard and Kyle Wright, though the Braves are expected to be hit with punishments from Major League Baseball over a scandal that forced his predecessor, John Coppolella, to resign in October.

During his six-year tenure (2009-2015) as Toronto Blue Jays‘ GM, Anthopoulos was credited with drafting and developing several key players, including starters Aaron Sanchez, Noah Syndergaard, and Marcus Stroman, and signing international players such as Roberto Osuna and current Blue Jays top prospect, Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

Anthopoulos is also known for his bold trades that saw the Blue Jays acquire Josh Donaldson ahead of the 2015 season, while trading for Troy Tulowitzki and David Price, among others, around the 2015 trade deadline, leading to the organization’s first postseason berth since 1993.

“In terms of similarities to Toronto, at the time that I started there, we were going to do some work at the minor-league level, and the minor leagues right now (in Atlanta) is as good as you’re going to find anywhere in baseball, and to have a head start like that is outstanding,” Anthopoulos added.

After rejecting a five-year extension to remain with the Blue Jays at the end of the 2015 season, Anthopoulos joined the Los Angeles Dodgers as VP of player development – a position he held until joining the Braves.

Raisel Iglesias might get to settle down in the Queen City after all.

Although at least one other team has been said to have interest in acquiring Iglesias, the Cincinnati Reds are reportedly telling rival clubs that they plan to hold onto their Cuban closer this offseason, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.

Cincinnati is coming off a 94-loss season, but there were several bright spots in 2017 – including Iglesias’ work in the ninth inning – and Rosenthal reports that the team believes a window of contention could come as early as 2019, when Iglesias would still be under team control at a relatively friendly salary.

Without referencing Iglesias directly, Reds general manager Dick Williams told MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro on Monday that he’s not thinking about dealing from his core group of youngsters – a group that by all accounts includes his 27-year-old closer.

“Right now, I feel like our team is in a pretty good place,” Williams said. “I want them to keep growing. I want to keep them together. I don’t foresee a lot of subtractions.”

Iglesias appeared in 63 contests for the Reds last season and saved 28 games in 30 attempts while posting a 2.49 ERA and averaging over 10 strikeouts per nine innings. He’s under contract for another three seasons and is set to earn just $4.5 million in 2018, though Iglesias does have the right to opt out of the remainder of his deal in favor of entering arbitration.

It was reported on Sunday that the Minnesota Twins had contacted the Reds to discuss the potential availability of Iglesias.

Despite receiving a hearty endorsement from former teammate CC Sabathia, Alex Rodriguez says he hasn’t even considered himself a possible candidate for the New York Yankees managerial vacancy.

“I’ve never thought about that,” Rodriguez told Mark W. Sanchez of the New York Post. “I’ve always thought that one day, ownership could be interesting.”

The Yankees have begun interviewing for the vacancy following Joe Girardi’s dismissal last month after a decade with the organization, though it’s not believed Rodriguez is on the list of interviewees.

Sabathia hasn’t been the only one to mention Rodriguez’s name as a future manager. Prior to last season, Girardi, ironically enough, predicted that Rodriguez could one day find himself leading a team.

“I think Alex would probably prefer to manage, if he was going to do anything, because I think he likes all the strategy of the game,” Girardi said at the time. “I wouldn’t be surprised if you saw him in uniform.”

Since retiring near the end of the 2016 season, Rodriguez has spent some time around the Yankees in an advisory role, but his main ambitions have come away from the team – serving as an analyst for FOX Sports, while also appearing on the TV show “Shark Tank.”

Rodriguez believes the Yankees’ managerial position will be highly coveted, as he considers it one of the most prestigious jobs in sports.

“I will say that being a manager for the New York Yankees is almost like POTUS, like one of those jobs that anybody and everybody should and would pay attention to,” Rodriguez said. “Because the New York Yankees are the greatest franchise in sports, not only in America but in the entire globe.”