Storylines: Diamondbacks clean house, fire Gibson
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, Sept. 26.
- The Diamondbacks announced that they fired manager Kirk Gibson and bench coach Alan Trammell. The team will immediately begin seeking a new manager, according to the press release. In a curious decision, however, the D'Backs also announced that Trammell will manage the final three games of the season.
- Corey Kluber unleashed his signature sinker in the eighth inning on Friday night and pushed the Indians to a Major League record. When Tampa Bay's David DeJesus swung through the 95-mph two-seamer from Cleveland's Cy Young Award candidate, the Tribe established a benchmark for team strikeouts in a single season. The Indians ended Friday's 1-0 victory with a dozen punchouts, giving their pitching staff 1,431 on the year, Jordan Bastian of MLB.com reported. The previous standard for team strikeouts in a season was established by the 2013 Tigers, who fanned 1,428 batters en route to the American League Central crown. Detroit surpassed the 2003 Cubs' mark of 1,404 strikeouts, which is still a National League record. Bastian also noted that this year's Rays have 1,419 strikeouts. Kluber's strikeout of DeJesus in the eighth inning gave Cleveland the MLB record, but the right-hander then extended the mark with a strikeout of Evan Longoria to end the inning. In the ninth, Indians closer Cody Allen added a strikeout of his own.
News and Notes:
- The Brewers decided to exercise a $13 million option over starter Yovani Gallardo, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported. As MLB.com's Adam McCalvy recently explained, that move was widely expected with the 28-year-old righty coming off of 192 1/3 frames of 3.51 ERA ball. Gallardo would have presented an interesting free agent case; though he would have faced a lot of competition in the mid-tier starter's market, his age remains intriguing.
- Outfielder Bobby Abreu, who made a surprising Major League comeback with the Mets this season, announced his retirement last night. Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News heard that the Mets have not spoken to Abreu about a future coaching position.
- The Reds agreed to a contract extension with GM Walt Jocketty for multiple years, Jocketty told reporters including MLB.com's Mark Sheldon. As John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer reported on Thursday, both Jocketty and manager Bryan Price were expected to be retained, though the front office man was working on an expiring contract.
- Phillies hurler Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez will have a chance to start next spring, according to Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com. "The plan for him is to try to get him to the point where he's a starter again and to put him in the mix for us next year," said GM Ruben Amaro Jr., who said it remains to be seen whether he'll earn a role. "I don't know, but we have starter deficiencies and we have holes there and we'd like to put him in a position where he can at least compete for a spot," Amaro explained.
- Meanwhile, the Phillies announced a significant front office change: assistant GM Marti Wolever, who ran the team's amateur scouting efforts, will not be back next year. As MLB.com's Todd Zolecki wrote, Philadelphia has had some positives but also some notable negatives in converting drafted players into big league production. Of course, some of the young players that Wolever brought in were ultimately dealt away before they were able to contribute for the Phils. More front office turnover could well be coming, Zolecki said.
- Pirates starter Charlie Morton underwent surgery on a torn right hip labrum, the club announced. That procedure is expected to sideline him for between six and eight months, meaning that he may not be counted on to start the year in the rotation. The 30-year-old righty has posted a 3.72 ERA over 157 1/3 innings this year, after signing a three-year, $21 million extension before the season.
- The Rays are facing an uphill battle to keep their franchise relevant in a market that may not truly be a big-league market, former MLBTR scribe Howard Megdal wrote in a piece for USA Today. While ownership bet big on 2014 with an $80 million payroll that was seen as a lot for the Rays, that figure ranked just 25th in the Majors this season. The increasing payrolls around the game create a shrinking pathway for the Rays, Megdal wrote, and with a stadium that conjures up memories of what the fan experience was like in the 1980s (plus the rejection of a prototype for an innovative new stadium), there appears to be little sign of things improving. The team has an exciting crop of young pitching that features the likes of Chris Archer, Alex Cobb, Drew Smyly, Jake Odorizzi, Jeremy Hellickson and a returning Matt Moore (in 2015), but Megdal wondered how long the team will be able to hold onto that group. Those who don't sign extensions, after all, will see their price tags soar in arbitration at an ever-increasing rate, and offense is only getting more expensive. As such, the Rays' lack of revenue — the team drew just 1.446 million fans this season — is a significant concern.