Storylines: Braves retain Gonzalez for 2015 season
In this MLB News and Notes segment, I will be giving occasional reports on the latest news and rumors throughout the MLB. I also will try to tweet news and rumors as I see them, so feel free to follow me on Twitter: @AndrewIBI.
Here are the stories from Friday, Oct. 3.
- Interim Braves GM John Hart announced yesterday that the team will retain Fredi Gonzalez for the 2015 season and hire recently dismissed Astros manager Bo Porter as a third base/outfield and baserunning coach. According to a team press release, assistant hitting coach Scott Fletcher will not be returning to the organization in 2015, and Porter will replace former third base coach Doug Dascenzo. Hitting coach Greg Walker already announced his resignation earlier this week. The remainder of the coaching staff will return, according to the Braves.
News and Notes:
- After already having interviewed Steve Buechele and Mike Maddux, the Rangers announced six additional candidates yesterday: interim manager Tim Bogar, Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo, White Sox third base coach Joe McEwing, former big leaguer Alex Cora, Indians bullpen coach Kevin Cash, and Pirates bench coach Jeff Banister.
- Jim Tracy's interview with the D'Backs was on Thursday and went well, sources told Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports also reported that the Rangers granted the D'Backs permission to interview Tim Bogar. As he noted, this is a bit curious, as Bogar is seen as one of the favorites in Texas' own managerial search.
- After being replaced as the general manager of the Diamondbacks, Kevin Towers declined an opportunity to stay on in another capacity, the club announced yesterday. The club has also decided not to renew the contract of assistant GM Billy Ryan. Towers had been waiting to consider the new role after talking it over with new GM Dave Stewart.
- The Phillies issued a statement refuting a FOX 29 report from Thursday night which claimed president and CEO David Montgomery was forced out of his position in order for partial owner John Middleton to become the team's majority owner. Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer spoke to multiple unnamed sources that "strongly" refuted the notion that Montgomery was forced out. Gelb wrote that not all of what FOX 29′s Howard Eskin reported can be refuted. While the notion that Montgomery was forced out appears decidedly incorrect, Gelb confirmed with two sources that Eskin was correct in reporting that Middleton now has a 48 percent share of the team. It's not clear how long he's held such a large share, according to Gelb, but it does appear to be unusual for a Phillies minority owner to have such a large stake in the team.
- ESPN's Jerry Crasnick heard from multiple sources that Miguel Cabrera's comments about not wanting his postseason bonus money were made in jest, and the Tigers slugger will indeed sign the paperwork to receive his money. As USA Today reported Tuesday, Cabrera stated that he wouldn't sign and didn't care about the money, as he "just want[ed] the ring."
- Earlier this week, Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik said that he felt he would have more financial resources to work with, and yesterday Mariners president Kevin Mather confirmed as much in an appearance on 710 ESPN's Brock and Salk show (Brady Henderson of 710 ESPN transcribed some of the highlights). Mather explained that the Mariners spent $16 million more than they had budgeted for in 2014 (a total payroll of $107 million), but ownership has no intention of scaling that back after seeing the team's performance this season.
- The man who has played for more Major League teams than anyone in history won't be adding another to his resumé, as right-hander Octavio Dotel decided to officially retire, according to Chris Cotillo of SB Nation's MLB Daily Dish. Last we heard on Dotel, the veteran reliever was looking to make a comeback in 2014, though that never wound up coming to be. Cotillo noted that Dotel tried to rehab from his most recent injury (elbow inflammation that cost him nearly all of the 2013 season) in the Dominican Republic in hopes of latching on with a new team, but the rehab was unsuccessful. Dotel, 40, will finish his career having played for a record 13 teams in the Majors. In parts of 15 big league seasons between the Astros, Athletics, Tigers, White Sox, Royals, Mets, Rockies, Pirates, Braves, Cardinals, Dodgers, Yankees and Blue Jays, Dotel compiled a 3.78 ERA with 10.8 K/9, 3.9 BB/9 and a 32.5 percent ground-ball rate. In his best seasons, Dotel averaged 94+ mph on his fastball, but he lost some of that velocity late in his career and finishes with an average of 93 mph on his heater.
- Twins pitching coach Rick Anderson will not be back with the team next year, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported. According to Rosenthal's source, Anderson informed GM Terry Ryan that he wouldn't return once Ron Gardenhire was ousted as manager. However, John Shipley of the St. Paul Pioneer Press spoke with Anderson directly, who went on the record with a different story, saying he didn't quit, but just assumed he was out once Gardenhire was dismissed. "It's been a tough four years," Anderson told Shipley. "I understand where they're coming from. Maybe they need someone new. I imagine the new guy will want someone new. It's not like I'm saying, 'I'm out,' I'm just assuming that will be the case." However the scenario truly played out, it does appear certain that the Twins will have a new pitching coach for the first time in 13 years next season.
- The Mets, as expected, decided not to bring back hitting coach Lamar Johnson and assistant Luis Natera in those roles, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported. Johnson stepped in mid-season after his predecessor, Dave Hudgen, was fired. Meanwhile, Triple-A skipper Wally Backman will not be elevated to the big league staff, but will be offered the chance to keep his position.
- The Pirates designated right-handed-hitting outfielder Jose Tabata for assignment, according to the MLB.com transactions page. Tabata's struggles led to him being outrighted earlier in the year, though he made his way back to the big league roster and ultimately played in the Wild Card game. Tabata, 26, has not lived up to the expectations that led the team to sign him to a six-year, $15 million extension in August of 2011. Over the 2012-14 seasons, he has logged only 901 plate appearances, slashing .266/.325/.375. Tabata also saw his promising early numbers on the basepaths (35 steals; 14 times caught in 2010-11) wither away (12 bags stolen, 15 times caught since).
- If the Pirates are unable to bring back catcher Russell Martin, another impactful transaction that could have PR benefits would be a Neil Walker extension, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review wrote. With a $5.75 million arbitration salary to build off of over his next two seasons of eligibility, and coming off of a .271/.342/.467 slash with 23 home runs, he will not be cheap.
- The Pirates acquired minor league righty Preston Guilmet from the Orioles in exchange for cash considerations, Baltimore announced. Guilmet was recently designated for assignment by the O's.
- The Blue Jays announced that they outrighted catcher George Kottaras off the 40-man roster and officially announced the outrights of Munenori Kawasaki and Dan Johnson, both of which were made known earlier in the week.