Inside Baseball MLB Notes: Baldelli makes sense as next Twins manager

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Taking our weekly trip around the majors …
 
Arizona Diamondbacks
— The team played it safe with a $27 million three year deal for Eduardo Escobar. And the same goes for Escobar since we don’t know if there’s going to be a repeat of last year’s market. (But no one’s blaming him for taking the solid deal here) … 
— The move was a bit of a surprise, but Zach Buchanan of The Athletic thinks it means that a complete teardown is unlikely. As he points out, though, it could allow them to move Jake Lamb to first base, where there’s been a lot of speculation about a possible Paul Goldschmidt trade. From here it still seems like a Goldschmidt deal is unlikely because it would seem to be difficult to believe they could get the appropriate value in return … 
— Some believe assistant GM Amiel Sawdaye could be a favorite for a Giants GM job. 
Atlanta Braves
— With tons of money coming off the books following their surprise excellent season, the Braves finally have big bucks to spend, at least $30 million, and perhaps more … 
— Mike Sorotka is said to be throwing very well, which is a great sign for the Braves. Add an ace, and they will be dangerous.
 
Baltimore Orioles
— Bobby Witt Jr., big-time shortstop prospect from the Dallas-Ft. Worth area, is still seen as the potential No. 1 pick. One scout likened Witt to Robin Yount, “He can do it all, and he’s a natural shortstop,” says the scout. His uncle Doug Witt was recently hired as a scout by the Orioles, but of course that guarantees nothing … 
— The Orioles gathered $8 million in international money and appeared prepared to dive into international waters but they have been left at the altar in their attempts to sign Victor Victor Mesa, Victor Mesa Jr. and Sandy Gaston, and still have $6.5 million left. They did successfully sign four other players: Venezuelan outfielder Angel Gomez, Cuban outfielder Kevin Infante, Dominican right-hander Kelvin LaRoche and Venezuelan shortstop Gilbert Machado. So there's another Machado in the Baltimore system now … 
— Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun had a story with Chris Davis, who’s looking to regain some semblance of his former swing and career.


 


Boston Red Sox
— The Red Sox could talk to MVP candidate JD Martinez about his contract this spring. He has opt outs each of the next three years, and Boston might like to add more certainty to the situation off his monster year. There also was no indication of any issue with the foot that help up talks last spring …
— While Chris Sale didn’t throw his best game in Game 1, he certainly didn’t look ill, getting it up to 96 mph … 
— Steve Buckley of The Athletic had a story of the bond between Alex Cora and J.D. Arteaga, the University of Miami pitching coach who recently lost his 16-year-old son Ari in a tragic car accident … 
— GM Dave Dombrowski is in his fourth World Series with his third different team, and as Mully and Haugh suggested to me on 670 TheScore, Dombrowski is a Hall of Fame candidate now. This is the first time he’s made it without Jim Leyland as his manager (though Leyland’s buddy Tony LaRussa, who was with Dombrowski on the South Side of Chicago decades ago, is with him again) … 
— The Red Sox certainly have a stacked team, but Chad Jennings of The Athletic credits Cora for “managing his ass off” 
— Game 1 hero Eduardo Nunez has a $5-million player option he will likely pick up … 
— Rafael Devers, the guy he hit for, has RBI in his first eight playoff starts, tying Alex Rodriguez, Lou Gehrig and other luminaries …
— Jackie Bradley Jr. was a surprise ALCS MVP — to some. But Indians star Trevor Bauer said on MLB Network that he recalls JBJ killing his UCLA team when he was at South Carolina. So he knew he could come up big in big moments … 
— Good for the Red Sox, too, in not trading JBJ when some folks were suggesting that was possible last winter … 
— Of course the Red Sox will pick up the $15 million team option on Chris Sale … 
— And of course, David Price will not opt out of $127 million over four years, though Price has his mojo back
 
Chicago Cubs
— Interesting question on MLB.com about whether the Cubs will go for a closer this winter, or assume Brandon Morrow will reclaim the job. The Cubs never liked very long deals for relievers …
— David Kaplan, a Chicago radio personality, reported the Cubs offered Kris Bryant a $200-million or so deal that Bryant declined … 
— The Cubs will surely pick up the $20-million option on Cole Hamels rather than buy him out for $6 million.

RELATED: Bell may be favorite for Reds job | Girardi interviews for Reds job
 
Cincinnati Reds
— It was no surprise the Reds wound up hiring David Bell as manager, as we suggested here more than two weeks ago. But C. Trent Rosecrans has the story of how they knocked the list down from 90 to one 
— Matt Harvey is a target, but if they are unable to bring him back, they are expected to play for other free agent pitchers …
— Congrats to former Reds and Nats pitcher Bill Bray who recently passed the bar. The William and Mary law school graduate works at the Octagon agency. 
 
Cleveland Indians
— Zack Meisel of the Athletic wrote about the heated exchange involving the coaching staff in exit interviews
 
Colorado Rockies
— Seung-hwan Oh will be back next year, under his $2.5 million team option, GM Jeff Bridich said. Oh had given an interview in which he said he was thinking about going back to Korea, but Bridich suggested he must have mean after next season since he is obligated to play for the Rockies in ’19. That’s a plus because the Rockies gave up real prospects for him, partly due to the reasonable option price … 
— Charlie Blackmon could switch to left field, with David Dahl moving to center, writes Kyle Newman in the Denver Post.
 
Houston Astros
— People closest to the Astros say they changed signs frequently during the Red Sox ALCS since they were so concerned about Red Sox manager Alex Cora (the Astros bench coach in 2017) and his well-known talent for sign reading …
— Some close to Dallas Keuchel believe that while the Oklahoma native and University of Arkansas product loves Houston he also wouldn’t mind the big stage, so don’t rule out New York or L.A. for him. Both the Yankees and Dodgers reset their tax so that’s a plus for him if he wants to go that way, Following his Cy Young season, it is believed Keuchel turned down a monster deal. While he didn’t have that type of year this year, he should do very well and now he will have a chance to play wherever he wants … 
— Keuchel’s new agent, Scott Boras, is urging Andy Petite and Tom Glavine, two crafty lefties who had long careers, as comps ...
— He’s also pointing out that like the other two Keuchel has been very good in the postseason (4-2, 3.31 ERA) …
— The Astros were one of the most talented teams in the game this year, and their run differential was even better than Boston’s. And that’s true despite the Astros letting go of two of the biggest weapons this season and this postseason —  Red Sox cleanup hitter J.D. Martinez, who was arguably the best hitter in the American League (it’s either him, teammate Mookie Betts or Mike Trout) and who was let go one spring by the Astros, and Brewers reliever Josh Hader, who was unhittable all year … 
— There is concern for Lance McCullers Jr. who admitted he is battling an injury … 
— Jose Altuve showed what a gamer he is playing on one leg in the postseason. Amazing. …
— Brodie Scoffield broke off from Legacy to start Tidal sports agency, which will be based out of San Clemente, Calif., and start with several nice clients, led by Astros star Alex Bregman.
 
Los Angeles Angels
— There’s a belief among the call to hire new Angels manager Brad Ausmus might have been either owner Arte Moreno’s decision or at least heavily influenced by Moreno, but GM Billy Eppler insisted it was a group effort with club president John Carpino and Eppler, too. Most folks (including here) figured Eric Chavez, who’s very close to Eppler, was the likely favorite at the start. Some suggest Moreno ultimately decided he'd prefer someone with experience, but Eppler said many factors were considered, not just one, and it's not correct to say Moreno made the call due to experience alone. The Angels' process was pretty rigorous, as we've outlined here, including the written test …
— Chavez has been asked to remain in his old role, and the Angels are hopeful he will. But if he has an opportunity elsewhere of course they won't stand in his way ...
— Some believe the Angels won't spend big this winter on free agents, but Eppler said those meetings haven't been held, and it would be "premature" to say that …
— Moreno said aloud what we already knew: locking up Mike Trout, who’s a free agent in two years, is "always" on mind. The Angels offered a 13-year deal four years ago when Trout chose the six-year, $144-million option instead. The Angels are expected to once again try to make Trout a lifetime Angel this winter.
 
Los Angeles Dodgers
— There’s debate about whether Clayton Kershaw will opt out of $65 million over two years. But since both sides want to stay together, the strong belief is they will work it out. It’s possible they could simply add a year. With Kershaw suffering injuries each of the last three years and stuff that’s diminished to a degree (it’s still pretty elite), there’s some debate about the opt out, but one rival agent opined, “He has to opt out. Even if he can get a bit more – and he should – he’d have to try it.” … 
— As I pointed out on social media, by making the World Series yet again, Cody Bellinger has made it six times in six seasons the Bellinger family has reached the Fall Classic. His father Clay played on four teams (the 1998-2000 Yankees and 2002 Angels) and Cody has been on the Dodgers the past two years. That is obviously remarkable and amazing, and the odds of this happening bear that out. According to my calculation (seeing as how each Bellinger played for only one of the 15 teams in their league each year, if you assume each team has a one in 15 chance and disregard that by happenstance they both played for big-market teams in consecutive years), the odds are 11,390,625 to 1. Which is 1/15 to the sixth power … 
— Dodgers exec Raul Ibanez turned down managerial opportunities. He will manage as soon as he wants is the belief here. He has that kind of rep … 
— Hard to believe, as Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported, manager Dave Roberts’ 2019 team option is only for $1.1 million, and harder to believe it hasn’t been picked up yet. Though of course there was no obligation to do so … 
— Yasmani Grandal’s free agency looks severely diminished following a disastrous postseason in which Austin Barnes took back the starting catching job … 
— Here’s an important reason I think the Dodgers will win the World Series: I picked them 10 years in a row to win it and of course it never happened and this year I finally switched to the Astros … 
— But Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated writes that the Dodgers know they need to play near-perfect ball to beat the Red Sox …
— The quirks of Fenway spelled trouble for the Dodgers who’d never played there, writes Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic
— The Dodgers, who have been vulnerable vs. lefties at times the past couple years, became the first team to start an all-righty lineup in World Series history, vs. lefty Chris Sale (in the past there were lineups that included switch hitters who batted righty), Joe Buck said on FOX. Lefties hit no home runs vs. Sale this year … 
— It’s still a mystery how Yasiel Puig could hit .309 vs. righties but only .203 vs. lefties ... 
— Reading the vibe, don't expect a new deal here for Manny Machado with the Dodgers. He appears like a (very talented) short timer …
— The Dodgers have an interesting decision about whether to give Hyun-Jin Ryu the $17.9 million qualifying offer, but his strong finish makes it seem likely. 

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Milwaukee Brewers
— Brandon Woodruff and Corbin Burnes could be candidates for the Brewers rotation next year, points out J.R. Radcliffe of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel … 
— Tom Haudricourt of the same paper suggested at some point they were “likely” to tender a contract and thus offer arbitration to Jonathan Schoop considering the prospects they gave up for him, but that would seem to be a stretch for a small-market team, especially since Schoop was a backup in the postseason – though with Mike Moustakas a free agent and Travis Shaw (who was good at 2B) likely moving back to third base, there’s room for him on the infield … 
— Moustakas said here he wouldn’t mind a return to Milwaukee 
— Hard to believe, Jhoulys Chacin had the best year of any of the free agent starters from last winter … 
— Marc Carig of The Athletic writes about the sad life of the man who created the greatest logo in the history of sports, the M and B that make up the iconic ball-in-love themed insignia.


Minnesota Twins
— Rocco Baldelli, who is about to be named Twins manager, is a logical choice as a smart fellow steeped in analytics from all his days with the Rays. Twins bench coach Derek Shelton and Cubs bench coach Brandon Hyde were finalists. Shelton, who knows Baldelli from his days as a Rays coach, could stay on as a part of Baldelli’s staff.

RELATED: Is job title complicating Mets GM search?
 
New York Mets
— Travis d’Arnaud is a candidate to be non-tendered … 
— Ruben Amaro didn’t get a GM interview with the Mets where he serves as a 1B coach, though he remains interested in a return to that seat at some point. 
Oakland Athletics ...
— Two big orders of business for the A’s: Lock up potential lame duck Bob Melvin (his contract expires after 2019) and do the same for slugger Khris Davis.

RELATED: Could Phillies land Machado or Harper? 
 
Philadelphia Phillies
— Some are speculating following the Phillies’ brutal finish that perhaps Mike Scioscia could be a fit for them. Scioscia’s spent his whole career in Southern California but he’s a Philly guy. Also, Phillies GM Matt Klentak – who has been an ardent and vocal supporter of manager Gabe Kapler it must be pointed out – came to Philly from the Angels front office. Generally, it’s been a tough go for veteran managers, even ones with pedigree. To this point Mike Matheny, Buck Showalter and Scioscia have not been linked to any teams.
 
Pittsburgh Pirates
— Congrats to my former teammate at Fanrag John Perrotto, who was recently hired at DK Pittsburgh Sports.


 
St. Louis Cardinals
— Trevor Rosenthal held a showcase in California in recent days, and he didn’t hold back. In fact, word is that Rosenthal, coming off Tommy John surgery, consistently threw 98, and touched 100 mph in the event that was well attended at UC-Irvine. 
 
San Diego Padres
— Folks are figuring the Padres could make some more big plays this winter, as they are expected to try to make a nice move in 2019 (though the official winning target date is 2020) … 
— Padres exec Moises Alou, the former great, turned down some managerial interview opportunities … 
— Barring something unforeseen the Padres are expected to go in-house to replace fired hitting coach Matt Stairs … 
— Mark McGwire stepped away as bench coach, as A.J. Cassavell of MLB.com first reported … 
— The Padres also seek an infield coach … 
— Yusei Kikuchi, the Japanese lefty, is expected to be posted soon by his Seibu Lions team, perhaps as early as Monday. Most MLB teams have been scouting the veteran, who is seen as a solid mid-rotation (or better) starter … 
— The Padres are holding a celebration of life Nov. 7 for Don Welke, the beloved scout who recently passed away.

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San Francisco Giants
— Hunter Pence, who showed he may not be done late this year, may play Winter Ball … 
— Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe suggested the Giants, Dodgers and Cubs could be players for Patrick Corbin, as well as the Yankees, which was noted in this space. But the Giants may need to see who their GM is first … 
— With some things we don’t need to know who the GM will be. The Giants will of course exercise the $12-million option on Madison Bumgarner’s contract. As Hank Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle pointed out, a new GM may be more likely to trade MadBum however … 
— Charles Johnson, who is believed to be the biggest shareholder in the Giants, took some heat after it was revealed he donated to a PAC behind a racist, untrue radio ad that played in the South and featured someone saying that Democrats would bring back lynching if black voters don’t support the GOP. This kind of racism is frowned upon in most places (we hope), not just San Francisco. The San Francisco Chronicle did a story
— RIP Hank Greenwald. The Chronicle has a tribute.
 
Seattle Mariners
— James Paxton is seen as a potential trade candidate, if the Mariners do indeed rebuild. But that’s probably true of anyone on a Jerry Dipoto team … 
— Franklin Gutierrez, the former Mariner who was hampered by injuries in recent years but had big production when he did play, will play Winter Ball.
 
Tampa Bay Rays
— The Rays continue to be quite popular in hiring season. Assistant GM Chaim Bloom has GM chances in New York and San Francisco, and from the coaching staff Charlie Montoyo still has a managerial chance after Rocco Baldelli joined the Twins. Montoyo is a candidate in Toronto.

RELATED: Beltre, undecided on future, will leave choice to family
 
Texas Rangers
— Elvis Andrus will not opt out with $58 million and four years to go following a year plagued by injury. But he’s hardly been out of the lineup in other years, and he gets another crack at an opt-out again next winter in a contract that reflected the Rangers' love for the player… 
— Don Wakamatsu has another year left on his bench coach deal. If he isn’t manager, he could stay as bench coach, potentially … 
— We are still awaiting Adrian Beltre’s word on a potential retirement. He is a Hall of Famer either way.

RELATED: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. could file grievance | 57 candidates primed for an MLB managerial post
 
Toronto Blue Jays
— It should come as no surprise that the Jays are considering two from Kevin Cash’s staff in Tampa Bay. Cash is part of the Cleveland group, as are Jays leaders Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins …
— The Jays aren’t a certainty to pick up Justin Smoak’s $7 million option.

RELATED: Which superstar will win the offseason?
 
Washington Nationals
— Jayson’s Werth’s beard, which obviously has a strong tie to a certain team (this one), made an interesting point on Twitter: Manny Machado is basically what people seem to think Bryce Harper is. It’s funny, in my poll where Machado got more votes than Harper for the question about who’s going to get the bigger deal, a few folks mentioned the “drama” surrounding Harper, but no one said anything like that regarding Machado. The reality may be the opposite … 
— The Nats will surely pick up Sean Doolittle’s $6-million option rather than buy him for $500,000 … 
— Davey Martinez and his entire staff are returning, writes Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post. That’s good to see after years of upheaval in that area for the Nats. It’s hard to know what the issue is, but someone suggested: “Too many cooks.” 

Jon Heyman is Fancred's baseball insider. He publishes his weekly Inside Baseball column each Thursday on the App and FancredSports.com. You can download the App here and interact with Jon by following him right here.

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