Storylines: Hardy agrees to extension to keep him in Baltimore
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 Thursday, Oct. 9.
- Shaking up the free agent market before it opens, and boldly looking to the future even as they prepare to open play in the ALCS, the Orioles officially announced a three-year extension with shortstop J.J. Hardy. Hardy will receive $40 million over a guaranteed three year deal, representing a $13.3 million average annual value, though that must be discounted somewhat to reflect the deal's inclusion of $6.5 million in deferred money. Hardy also gets a fourth-year vesting option, based upon plate appearances. With the new deal, Baltimore will keep its key cog up the middle under team control through at least 2017, his age-34 season. And the free agent market has now lost one of its most appealing everyday position players.
- Indians first base coach Sandy Alomar Jr. will interview for the position Twins managerial opening, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported.
- The Rangers interviewed Indians bullpen coach Kevin Cash yesterday, according to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star Telegram.
News and Notes:
- The Royals will make an effort to bring back top starter James Shields through free agency, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported. Shields, 32, has given Kansas City 455 2/3 innings of 3.18 ERA ball over the last two regular seasons, and is still pitching for the team in October. While the club's run to the ALCS has made that a return a more plausible scenario, Heyman said that the starting point for the decision came around the trade deadline. At that point in the middle of the summer, the club informed Shields's agent, Page Odle, that it would be in touch after the season — a sign which seemingly indicated that a run at Shields was at least a possibility.
- The Cubs announced their finalized coaching staff for the 2015 season yesterday, which included a pair of new additions: hitting coach John Mallee and first base/outfield coach Doug Dascenzo. Mallee spent the 2010-11 seasons as the Marlins' hitting coach and the 2013-14 seasons as the hitting coach for the Astros. He also spent eight seasons with the Marlins as a minor league hitting instructor and brings to the table 19 overall years of pro baseball experience. Dascenzo spent the 2014 season as Atlanta's third base coach and has previously spent 13 seasons in the Padres' minor league system as a manager or coach. The rest of the coaching staff will return, though first base coach Eric Hinske will shift from first base coach to assistant hitting coach.
- Reds lefty Sean Marshall told MLB.com's Mark Sheldon that he's progressing well in his rehab from June shoulder surgery. While he still has some range of motion work to do, Marshall said that he feels like he "has a whole new shoulder" and is aiming a return in Spring Training of next year. The 32-year-old has been limited to just 31 appearances over the past two seasons and is entering the final season of a three-year, $16.5 million contract.
- In a second piece, Sheldon also spoke with Reds right-hander Johnny Cueto, who has a $10 million club option this offseason that the team is a lock to exercise. Cueto said that despite the small nature of Cincinnati's Great American Ball Park, he enjoys pitching there and wants to remain with the Reds. As manager Bryan Price noted to Sheldon, however, it's unlikely that the team can afford to retain Cueto, Mat Latos, Mike Leake and Alfredo Simon, all of whom are free agents following the 2015 season. As Sheldon pointed out, Cueto is by far the most attractive trade chip of the bunch, and the Reds may not be able to afford his price tag if they look to go the extension route. They could, of course, also take another shot at contending next season and either trade Cueto in July if they fall out of the race or make a qualifying offer at season's end if they do contend.
- After being designated for assignment last week, Pirates outfielder Jose Tabata was outrighted to Triple-A Indianapolis and accepted the assignment, according to MLB.com's Tom Singer. The move is not a surprise, as had Tabata rejected the assignment he would have forfeited the remaining $8.5 million on his contract.
- After letting Jorge De Leon go on a waiver claim, the Astros cleared three additional roster spots with a series of moves yesterday. As the club announced in a press release, they declined the option over reliever Matt Albers and outrighted first baseman Jesus Guzman and lefty Rudy Owens. According to the team, Houston's 40-man roster now has four vacancies, though it would appear from this list that it stands at 37 (with Albers still technically on the 60-day DL).
Agree, with the article it doesn't make much sense the Dodgers would trade him, unless, there's something more behind the scenes. But I'm skeptical. He would make a perfect fit and any team could fit him in their budget. With four yrs of control at a very reasonable price RH bat and AS OF the price would be HUGE.
His ability to man RF and hit RH would fit the Tribe. If rumors are true, he's a perfect fit for RF IMHO.