Storylines: Cubs fire Renteria, hire Maddon
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. 31.
- The Cubs, who fired manager Rick Renteria yesterday, will host a press conference on Monday to announce the Joe Maddon hiring, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. The Cubs officially announced Maddon's hiring in a team release, as MLB.com's Carrie Muskat noted.
- The Cubs' decision to replace Rick Renteria with Joe Maddon seems "a little dirty," but the baseball world will go on, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal wrote. The Rays believe the Cubs tampered with Maddon while they had him under contract, and others in the game aren't happy that Maddon's situation led to Renteria's firing. Rosenthal noted that if MLB can prove the Cubs tampered, the Rays could demand a promising young player in compensation, maybe even a player as talented as Javier Baez or Addison Russell.
- Indians GM Chris Antonetti doesn't believe Jason Giambi will be a good fit for the team's roster next season, Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer reported. Giambi will be 44 in January, and he hit .133/.257/.267 in limited duty in 2014, so it's no surprise that the Indians might move on. Terry Francona has called Giambi a "manager-in-waiting," so if Giambi isn't able to find another role as a player, his next move could involve coaching.
- The Indians announced that they exercised their one-year, $3.5 million club option on Mike Aviles. Cleveland essentially faced a $3.25 million decision, as Aviles' option contained a $250,000 buyout.
- The Indians have made a variety of front office moves, Hoynes also reported. Ross Atkins will be Cleveland's new vice president in charge of player personnel, with Carter Hawkins becoming director of player development and Paul Gillispie the director of pro scouting.
News and Notes:
- Coming off another World Series win with the Giants, free agent third baseman Pablo Sandoval is seeking a nine-figure contract, CBS Sports' Jon Heyman wrote. Sandoval would, however, like to remain in San Francisco. "He loves the city. He loves the team. He loves the fans," says agent Gustavo Vazquez. "And he wants to stay." Sandoval himself echoes those sentiments earlier today, and the Giants want him to return as well. The Red Sox are also expected to be among the teams bidding for Sandoval.
- The Angels are likely to have a quiet offseason, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register wrote. They don't have many free agents departing and not many clear needs, and since they want to stay under the luxury tax threshold, they don't have much money to spend anyway. They do want bullpen and rotation depth, and a report earlier today indicated one way they might try to get it is by trading Howie Kendrick or David Freese.
- The Yankees have spoken with veteran Royals outfielder Raul Ibanez about their hitting coach position, George A. King III of the New York Post wrote. Since Ibanez was still technically a Royal during the team's World Series run (although he was not on their active roster), the Yankees waited until late this week to contact him. The 42-year-old Ibanez has an excellent clubhouse reputation, although, obviously, he has never been a professional hitting coach. The Yankees have interviewed Chili Davis (who ended up in Boston) and Dave Magadan (who returned to the Rangers).
- The Yankees hired longtime big league third baseman Eric Chavez as a special assignment scout, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Chavez retired at midseason this year but has expressed a desire to remain within the game. He's had a close relationship with Yankees GM Brian Cashman and assistant GM Billy Eppler since playing with the Yankees in 2011-12. Heyman added that Chavez was eyed by some clubs as a potential hitting coach, though it's uncertain whether or not he's interested in coaching gigs at this time.
- The Brewers exercised their half of a $14 million mutual option on third baseman Aramis Ramirez, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Ramirez and his agents at Kinzer Management will now have three days to decide whether to accept their half or decline in favor of free agency.
- The Rays announced that they exercised their one-year, $7.5 million club option on Ben Zobrist.
- The Rangers announced that they officially declined their $13.5 million club option on outfielder Alex Rios in favor of a $1 million buyout. Additionally, the team outrighted infielder Ed Lucas and right-handers Nathan Adcock and Alfredo Figaro to Triple-A Round Rock. Adcock elected minor league free agency.
- The Rockies announced that they exercised their option on closer LaTroy Hawkins, paying him $2.25 million rather than a $250,000 buyout. In addition, they outrighted 1B/OF Matt McBride.
- The Yankees will extend a qualifying offer to closer David Robertson, Jack Curry of the YES Network reported. They hope to keep him, Curry wrote, citing a source.
- The Blue Jays will exercise their team option on lefty starter J.A. Happ, paying $6.7 million rather than a $200,000 buyout, CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reported. Prior to the 2013 season, the Jays signed Happ to a one-year, $5.4 million extension for 2014 that included the option they're exercising now. He can become a free agent after the coming season.
- The Tigers announced that they extended one-year, $15.3 million qualifying offer to impending free agents Max Scherzer and Victor Martinez. Additionally, the team announced that utility man Don Kelly and right-hander Evan Reed were outrighted off the 40-man roster. The Tigers also announced that they selected the contract of outfielder Wynton Bernard, adding him to the 40-man roster.
- The Tigers will exercise their $7 million club option on right-hander Joakim Soria, according to Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press.
- GM Dave Dombrowski said the Tigers would have retained outfielder Andy Dirks in 2015 if they knew he would be healthy, Tom Gage of the Detroit News reported. Dirks platooned with Matt Tuiasosopo in left field for the Tigers in 2013, but he missed the entire 2014 season with back and hamstring issues, and the Tigers lost him on waivers to the Blue Jays yesterday.
- The Brewers announced the decision to decline their $11.5 million club option on Rickie Weeks, making him a free agent.
- The Dodgers declined their option on starting pitcher Chad Billingsley, Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times reported. Given the cost of the option ($14 million minus a $3 million buyout) and Billingsley's struggles to stay healthy, the move comes as no surprise. Billingsley was once among baseball's more promising young arms, but he's pitched only 12 big league innings since September 2012 after a series of elbow injuries and setbacks. He had Tommy John surgery in April 2013, then another elbow surgery in June of this year.
Hawkins will simply be a continuation of what Atkins was doing as the director of player development before him.
Any idea what the front office changes will do to the team if anything?