Gordon Edes talks managers. Among the tidbits:
* Eric Wedge is almost certain to be fired;
* Dave Trembley is going to be gone and Jim Riggleman may very well be too;
* Ken Macha is probably safe for now;
* No matter how much the Wilpons talk about Jerry Manuel being safe, Bobby Valentine is being considered in Queens;
* Ed Wade needs to hire someone to clean up the mess, and based on the names floated — everyone from retreads like Jim Fregosi to newbies like Jeff Bagwell — he hasn’t yet figured out what he’s going to do.
Take all of this with a grain of salt, however, because based on what Edes says about Bobby Cox and the Braves, he may not be as plugged in as he would have you believe.
Citing “a major league source,” Edes claims in the piece that Cox and Braves’ GM had a big falling out last spring over the way John Smoltz’ situation was handled and that the poor relationship between the men could very well mean that Cox won’t be back in 2010. On the surface that sounds plausible, but according to both Cox himself and Mark Bradley at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the report is bunk. Cox says “everything is fine” and that Wren has been “outstanding.” Wren is a little more reserved, but calls Edes’ report “inaccurate.”
I’m guessing Cox and Wren aren’t big pals like Cox and Schuerholz were, but Cox is a pro who has been around forever. He survived Ted Turner for crying out loud, so I can’t feature a couple of personnel decisions by Wren causing such a rift.
If Cox isn’t back in 2010 it’s because he’s tired of managing, not because he can’t get along with the boss.
Update (7:01 PM EDT): David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports the deal has been completed.
ESPN’s Keith Law reported on Saturday evening that a bad contract swap involving the Braves’ Hector Olivera and the Padres’ Matt Kemp was “getting close.” Olivera has been pulled off the field, per Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that only a last-second medical would kill the deal at this point, and that the Padres will be sending money to the Braves.
Kemp, 31, will have $64.5 million remaining on his contract through 2019 after this season, but the Dodgers will pay $3.5 million annually over those remaining three years, so the $64.5 million is really $54 million. The veteran has compiled a .262/.285/.489 triple-slash line with 23 home runs and 69 RBI in 431 plate appearances for the Padres this season.
Olivera, 31, will have $28.5 million remaining on his contract through 2020 after this season. The outfielder was handed an 82-game suspension, beginning on May 26, for his involvement in a domestic dispute on April 13. The suspension is up on August 2. He has a .501 OPS in 21 major league at-bats this season and a .278 OPS in 37 PA at Triple-A.
Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the Padres will consider designating Olivera for assignment. The trade is all about the salary dump for the Padres, as they’d rather give outfield playing time to prospects Hunter Renfroe and Manuel Margot.
The Athletics and Royals swapped outfielders on Saturday. The Athletics sent Billy Burns to Kansas City and the Royals sent Brett Eibner to Oakland.
Burns, 26, doesn’t provide much in the way of offense, but he runs the bases well and plays solid defense. He was hitting .234/.270/.303 with 11 doubles, four triples, and 14 stolen bases in 274 plate appearances.
Eibner, 27, was batting .231/.286/.423 with three home runs and 10 RBI in 85 plate appearances. He has spent most of the season with Triple-A Omaha, where he’s put up a .902 OPS in 219 PA. Eibner played the outfield corners in the majors, but racked up a ton of time playing center in the minors, so his versatility will be valuable to the A’s.
Burns will become eligible for arbitration for the first time after the 2017 season while Eibner has hardly accrued any service time, which might explain part of the motivation behind the trade for the small-market Athletics.