Storylines: Twins tab Molitor as next 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, Nov. 3.
- The Twins announced that they hired Hall of Famer and Minnesota native Paul Molitor as the successor to longtime manager Ron Gardenhire. Molitor, who has signed a three-year deal that runs through the 2017 season, will be introduced at a press conference this morning at 10am CT. Molitor, 58, was seen as the favorite to land the position heading into the team's managerial search. He served as a member of Gardenhire's coaching staff in 2014, working with Twins players on baserunning, infield instruction/positioning and in-game strategy. He's been credited as the primary factor behind the Twins' much more aggressive adoption of infield shifting. As the St. Paul Pioneer Press' Mike Berardino wrote back in April, the Twins shifted 46 times through their first 15 games this season after shifting just 87 times as a whole in 2013.
- Joe Maddon's contract with the Cubs was announced on Monday. The team announced that his deal is for five years. Terms weren't announced, but ESPN's Jim Bowden reported that Maddon will earn $25 million over the five years "with extensive incentives." ESPN's Buster Olney tweeted that the bonuses in Maddon's deal are tied to postseason performance. There isn't an opt-out clause in the contract.
- The Indians announced that they outrighted catcher Chris Gimenez off the 40-man roster and re-signed right-hander Tyler Cloyd to a minor league deal with an invite to big league Spring Training.
- The Indians also announced that outfielder J.B. Shuck was claimed off waivers by the White Sox.
News and Notes:
- The Dodgers announced that they have made a one-year, $15.3 million qualifying offer to Hanley Ramirez. The move was widely expected, as Ramirez will hit the open market as arguably the top position player in this year's free agent class. The 30-year-old Ramirez batted .283/.369/.448 with 13 homers in 128 games this season, and while he's been injury prone over the past few years, he comes with the upside of being one of the game's best offensive players, as he was in 2013 upon activation from the disabled list. Ramirez slashed an otherworldly .345/.402/.638 with 20 homers in 86 games that year and is a lifetime .300/.373/.500 hitter.
- The Orioles announced that they made a one-year, $15.3 million qualifying offer to Nelson Cruz and also re-instated Manny Machado and Matt Wieters from the 60-day disabled list, bringing the team's 40-man roster to 33. At this point, it appears that Nick Markakis will not be the recipient of a QO, which should help his stock on the free agent market. Of course, he's also said to be discussing a four-year deal to remain in Baltimore.
- The Royals extended a qualifying offer to free agent righty James Shields, the team announced. Shields has until 4pm CT on November 10 to decide whether or not to accept the one-year, $15.3 million offer, though it is universally expected that he'll reject the QO in favor of a larger deal in free agency.
- The Rockies announced that they extended a one-year, $15.3 million qualifying offer to Michael Cuddyer. Needless to say, this move comes as a bit of a surprise. The 35-year-old Cuddyer will turn 36 next March and played in just 49 games this season. While his production over the past two seasons has been unquestionably outstanding when healthy — he's batted .331/.385/.543 and captured the 2013 NL Batting Title — Cuddyer was not seen as a candidate for a QO due to his injuries and age.
- The Giants officially extended a one-year, $15.3 million qualifying offer to third baseman Pablo Sandoval. He'll have a week to accept or decline the offer, though as one of the top free agents on this year's market, he will assuredly be declining the offer.
- Aramis Ramirez exercised his side of his $14 million mutual option with the Brewers and will return to the club in 2015, the Brewers announced via their Twitter feed. Milwaukee exercised its end of the option on Friday.
- The Pirates extended one-year, $15.3 million qualifying offers to both Russell Martin and Francisco Liriano, the team announced. Both moves have been expected to varying degrees. Martin was seen as the likelier candidate, but Liriano is coming off a pair of strong, albeit injury-shortened seasons, and figures to seek a more lucrative multi-year deal on the open market.
- Sportsnet.ca's Jeff Blair reported that the Blue Jays have had internal discussions about Russell Martin. In that same item, Blair noted that Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos might look to act quickly this offseason rather than wait for deals to develop. The latter strategy left the Jays largely empty-handed last winter. Toronto has already dealt Adam Lind to Milwaukee, a trade that Blair felt doesn't make much sense for the Jays unless a follow-up move is forthcoming.
- The Braves announced that they officially made a one-year, $15.3 million qualifying offer to right-hander Ervin Santana, who will now have a week to accept or decline the offer. Should he decline and sign elsewhere, which seems likely, the Braves would receive a compensatory draft pick at the end of the first round of next year's draft. Santana, 31, enjoyed a solid season for Atlanta in which he posted a 3.95 ERA with 8.2 K/9, 2.9 BB/9 and a 42.7 percent ground-ball rate in 196 innings of work. While his ERA rose, metrics such as FIP (3.39) and xFIP (3.47) felt Santana had his best season since 2008.
- The Royals announced that they exercised their $7 million club option on right-hander Wade Davis for next season.
- Phillies starter A.J. Burnett declined his player option, the Phillies announced. By turning down his $12.75 million option, Burnett will become a free agent. Burnett's decision was one of the more closely-watched option situations around the game, in large part because the outcome was unclear. The Phillies have recently made clear they intend to focus the organization's energies on rebuilding for the future rather than competing in the near-term, and that — combined with his experiences last year — may have encouraged Burnett to leave the cash on the table.
- Dave Martinez, Torey Lovullo and Tim Bogar all figure to be on the Rays' list of interview candidates, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times wrote. Other well-regarded coaches like Brian Butterfield, DeMarlo Hale, Ron Wotus and Tim Flannery could also be possibilities, while Topkin predicted the Rays will also talk to "some outside-the-box names." It doesn't seem like ex-Cubs manager Rick Renteria would be a Rays candidate, Topkin noted, "just from the optics of hiring the guy fired to make room for [Joe] Maddon."
- The Cubs signed left-hander Tsuyoshi Wada to a one-year, Major League contract, the team announced. The deal is worth $4 million, and another $2 million available in incentives, MLB.com's Carrie Muskat reported The new contract overrides a $5 million team option the Cubs held on Wada's services for the 2015 season.
- After designating them for assignment recently, the Pirates outrighted relievers John Axford and Jeanmar Gomez. Axford, 31, will look for a chance to bounce back after posting three seasons and 189 innings of 4.24 ERA work from the pen. Gomez, meanwhile, tossed 62 frames of 3.19 ERA ball after a solid 2013, but his peripherals do not quite back up the results.
Agree about Cuddyer. Should be first player to accept QO