Storylines: D'Backs hire Hale as new manager
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, Oct. 13.
- The Diamondbacks announced the hiring of Athletics bench coach Chip Hale as their new manager. Contract terms weren't announced, though CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reported that Hale signed a two-year deal to manage the club. Hale's contract also contains a club option for a third season, according to John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7. USA Today's Bob Nightengale was the first to report that Hale has been hired. It is something of a homecoming for the 49-year-old Hale, who played college ball at the University of Arizona and began his coaching career in the D'Backs organization, working both as a minor league manager and as a Major League third base coach. He has also worked as the Mets' third base coach and has spent the last three years in Oakland under Bob Melvin.
- MLB.com's Jordan Bastian discussed a wide variety of offseason- and 2015-related topics in his latest Indians Inbox piece, including Francisco Lindor. Bastian wrote that he would be "shocked" if Lindor wasn't with the team next season, but given the notable step back he took in terms of his K/BB numbers at Triple-A and a lack of seasoning at that level, Lindor is probably headed for the minors to open the year. The defensively gifted Jose Ramirez will likely be ticketed to open the season as Cleveland's shortstop.
- Also from Bastian, he noted that if Lindor is indeed expected to be Triple-A bound to start the season, it makes sense for the team to exercise Mike Aviles' $3.5 million club option. Bastian downplayed the idea of Josh Tomlin as a non-tender candidate due to his modest salary and remaining options, and he also touched on the future of Lonnie Chisenhall, noting that third base is one of the most logical areas of upgrade for Cleveland.
News and Notes:
- Torey Lovullo and Alex Cora were informed that they are no longer in the running for the open managerial job with the Rangers, Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reported. As Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reported on Sunday, the club was expected to winnow the field this week.
- Athletics hitting coach Chili Davis is a contender to be the team's new bench coach, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reported. With the Yankees, Red Sox and possibly the Cubs all interested in Davis as a hitting coach, the A's could offer him a promotion to stay in the fold. The rest of the A's coaching staff and (as Slusser previously reported) Cardinals bench coach Mike Aldrete are also candidates for the bench coach job, while Kirk Gibson and Ron Washington are unlikely to be considered since recently-fired managers usually aren't so quick to accept bench coach gigs.
- Left-handed power will be a priority for the White Sox this winter, Bruce Levine of 670thescore.com wrote. Levine ran down a list of potential targets for the ChiSox, headlined by Victor Martinez but also including Melky Cabrera, Adam LaRoche and Pablo Sandoval. LaRoche is a bit of a reach to me given the presence of Jose Abreu and LaRoche's reputation as a solid defensive first baseman. Levine noted that he spoke to a Tigers source that indicated the team would do "whatever it could" to bring back Martinez for 2015 and beyond — and that's not the first time a reporter has gotten that vibe from Detroit; ESPN's Buster Olney heard something similar earlier in the month.
- "If the Tigers want me back, we will work that out hopefully. Other than that, I'm still thinking about my situation," Torii Hunter wrote in a text message to MLB.com's Jason Beck. Hunter hinted at retirement following the Tigers' elimination in the ALDS, and it seems that he might more inclined to hang up his cleats if he can't return to Detroit in 2015.
- Six pitchers seem like candidates to receive qualifying offers this offseason, Fangraphs' Mike Petriello wrote. Max Scherzer and James Shields are locks to receive and reject the one-year, $15.3 million offers, while Petriello thinks Francisco Liriano and Hiroki Kuroda will also reject the QO — Liriano in favor of a multiyear deal and Kuroda since he could retire, pitch in Japan or re-sign with the Yankees for slightly more than the qualifying offer (as he did last year). Petriello also tentatively thinks Ervin Santana could reject a QO from the Braves while David Robertson could actually accept the qualifying offer, since his market could be hurt by draft pick compensation.
- The Dodgers aren't likely to sign any starting pitcher that would cost them a draft pick, a source told ESPN Los Angeles' Mark Saxon. This would rule out the likes of Max Scherzer, James Shields or any other free agent arm who will have qualifying offer draft compensation attached to their services. As Saxon noted, the Dodgers' primary offseason goal is to inject more youth into their roster, as "they're terrified of becoming" a team loaded with declining veterans, a la the Phillies or Yankees.
- Speaking of qualifying offers, Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times looked at whether or not the Dodgers would extend a QO to Hanley Ramirez. The qualifying offer (not to mention his injury history and subpar shortstop defense) could hurt Ramirez's market, which creates the possibility that he could accept the one-year, $15.3 million offer and stay with a Dodger team that may prefer to move on from Ramirez. "It seems like a no-brainer," Dilbeck wrote, that L.A. would give Ramirez a QO — despite Ramirez's issues, he'll surely find a multiyear deal on the free agent market and thus there is very little threat of him accepting the qualifying offer. Even if he did accept, that would hardly be a major problem for the Dodgers since (as Dilbeck noted), Ramirez could then serve as a one-year bridge until prospect Corey Seager is ready at short.
- If the Pirates can't re-sign Russell Martin, backup Chris Stewart wouldn't be a bad option to take over the regular catching job next season, Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review opined. Stewart can serve as a bridge to the Bucs' young catching prospects, and while the 32-year-old isn't much of a hitter, he is an excellent defensive catcher and pitch-framer. Since the Pirates would have to choose between a lot of flawed catching options on the open market, Sawchik reasoned that the team could stick with a known commodity at a low cost.
- The Yankees will address the closer's job, the rotation, third base and shortstop as their main offseason focuses, George A. King III of the New York Post wrote. King noted that the Yankees like Alcides Escobar, though he obviously isn't a trade candidate this offseason since he's such a key part of the Royals' success.
- Tigers catcher Alex Avila is now symptom-free after suffering yet another concussion in the final game of this year's ALDS against the Orioles, he told MLive.com's Chris Iott. While many have speculated that Avila could need to step away from the game after being diagnosed with what he referred to as three "mild" concussions this year, Avila isn't thinking along those lines. "I had a CT scan and an MRI checking my brain and my neck and the arteries leading to it, and everything checks out normal and healthy," Avila told Iott. "And talking with the neurologist that examined everything, I shouldn't have any concern." Avila's concussion issues do predate this season, Iott noted, but the catcher maintains that he'd be ready to step on the field today if the Tigers needed him to do so. Detroit holds a $5.4 million option on Avila with a $200,000 buyout. Even if the option were to be declined, he'd still be under control via arbitration.
While it appear Lindor is a once in a generation prospect; in my sixty years of following the Indians I haven't seen too many in house second base prospects as good as Ramirez and that includes Kipnis.j I just believe Ramirez doesn't look as pretty as Lindor(size, swing,grace)
My biggest fear is that the Tribe trades the wrong infield prospect to improve the the team in 2015. To me it;s obvious that Gonzalez is the player to trade.
I like your description of Ramirez and defensively gifted.
I watched Ramirez at the plate and he was not an easy out. He had many at bats when he went deep into the count. I believe with his speed he is offensively gifted as well!!!