Storylines: Braves shake up front office
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 Monday, Sept. 22.
- The Braves fired general manager Frank Wren, the team announced. John Hart, a senior advisor with the club, will become the interim GM and will also be part of a three-man team (along with team president John Schuerholz and former manager Bobby Cox) in charge of finding a permanent general manager. Any decisions on Fredi Gonzalez and the Braves' coaching staff will wait until after the new GM is hired, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported. Cox praised Gonzalez's work and feels he should stay on as the team's manager.
- Incoming baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred and players' association head Tony Clark were selected to participate in a new Major League Baseball committee tasked with decreasing the times of games. The committee announced Monday by outgoing Commissioner Bud Selig will be chaired by Atlanta Braves President John Schuerholz. The group includes Boston Red Sox Chairman Tim Werner and partner Michael Gordon, New York Mets general manager Sandy Alderson and Major League Baseball Executive Vice President Joe Torre, the Associated Press reported. The average time of a nine-inning game has increased from 2 hours, 33 minutes in 1981 to a record 3:03 this year. Selig said the group plans to make recommendations for the 2015 season.
- Jason Kipnis has felt improvement with his ailing right hamstring in recent days, but the Indians are not ready to send the second baseman back to the field. On Monday, Cleveland manager Terry Francona pulled Kipnis from the lineup for the conclusion of the Aug. 31 suspended game with the Royals, opting instead to send utility man Justin Sellers in for defense. Kipnis also was out of the starting lineup for the Tribe's regularly scheduled game, with Kansas City lefty Danny Duffy scheduled to start.
- Indians starter Corey Kluber was named the American League Player of the Week for Sept. 15-21. It's the second time in his career Kluber has received the award (June 16, 2013) and the fourth time this season an Indians player has been honored. Kluber went 2-0 with a 1.80 ERA last week, walking three and striking out a Major League-best 28 hitters in 15 innings. He led the league in innings pitched and was tied for first in wins.
News and Notes:
- The Mets will exercise their 2015 option on general manager Sandy Alderson and the two side are working toward a contract extension, sources told Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Alderson's contract extension will be for "about three years," according to Andy Martino of the New York Daily News. However, the deal is not yet complete, and there are still details to be worked out, he heard. Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reported that the Mets will announce an extension for Alderson after the season, and he added that there will also be an announcement that manager Terry Collins has been retained. Alderson's new deal will override his 2015 option and span the 2015-17 seasons, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.
- The Diamondbacks will announce their new GM on Thursday, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today. Dave Stewart is the heavy favorite for the job, although DeJon Watson is still under consideration. The team will also be promoting scouting director Ray Montgomery, according to Nightengale. Nightengale also stated that it wouldn't be far-fetched to see Stewart named GM, Watson hired as an assistant GM, Montgomery promoted and Towers retained in a senior scouting capacity. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports wrote that Stewart, Watson and former Royals GM Allard Baird are the three finalists. In a related issue, Nightengale wrote that while a decision won't come until after the season, a managerial change appears likely given the team's poor performance.
- "If you had to ask me now, I would assume that I would have to move on, unfortunately," Adam LaRoche told CSN Washington's Mark Zuckerman about his future with the Nationals. Though LaRoche is having a strong season and is well-respected within the Nats' clubhouse, the team may need to create a spot at first base for Ryan Zimmerman next season since Zimmerman is no longer able to play third. If the Nationals do decline their side of LaRoche's $15 million mutual option for 2015, expect the veteran to draw interest from several teams on the free agent market. LaRoche will turn 35 in November but he's still playing well enough to help any team in need of left-handed pop.
- Rays outfielder Matt Joyce said that he believes he will be dealt in the offseason, as Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reported. The 30-year-old is entering his final year of arbitration eligibility after earning $3.7 million this season.
- The top offseason priority for the Twins will be the rotation, GM Terry Ryan told Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Of course, that seemed to be the case last year, when the team made significant commitments to free agent hurlers Ricky Nolasco, Phil Hughes, and Mike Pelfrey. Only Hughes has been a hit, though he does look to be a legitimate bargain.
- For the Astros, meanwhile, the bullpen figures to receive the most attention this winter, MLB.com's Brian McTaggart reported. GM Jeff Luhnow said that the club might have seen a significant jump had two of its expected pen pieces — Matt Albers and Jesse Crain — been able to contribute more innings. Looking forward, he said that the team has no choice but to take its chances adding relief arms.
- The Yankees announced that they designated left-hander Josh Outman for assignment in order to clear roster space for outfielder Eury Perez, who was claimed off waivers from the Nationals yesterday. Meredith Marakovits of the YES Network first tweeted that Outman was packing up his locker, bringing about speculation that he'd be the corresponding roster move for Perez.