We knew the Blue Jays’ front office was a mess, but Ken Rosenthal explains that the clubhouse is no better:
The Blue Jays’ rehiring of manager Cito Gaston last season started out as a feel-good story, a link to the franchise’s back-to-back World Series titles in 1992 and ’93.
A mere 15 months later, the mood inside the Jays’ clubhouse has turned decidedly sour.
The players are fed up with Gaston and do not want him to return next season, according to multiple major-league sources.
“It’s nearly a mutiny right now,” one source says. “He has lost the entire team.”
According to Rosenthal, players are complaining about Gaston’s “old-school approach” and lack of communication, and that “certain Jays veterans bristle over reduced playing time.”
Those seem like an odd combination of complaints to me. Usually veterans are the beneficiaries of a manager with an old-school approach. As in they get a lot of undeserved playing time simply because they’re veterans. Scanning the Jays’ roster, however, doesn’t reveal anyone who should be getting PT but isn’t. At least no glaring examples, and certainly no veterans. Cito has a mediocre team and he’s deploying it in a more or less reasonable manner in my eyes.
But you still have to communicate to your players. And if the players hate him, even unreasonably so, it doesn’t matter how well he handles playing time. A manager who doesn’t have his team’s confidence is 100% assured to be an ex-manager, because you can’t just go out and get new players.
Silver lining: it seems inevitable that J.P. Ricciardi is going to be fired. If he is, it will be easier to hire a good replacement G.M. if he’s also going to be allowed to bring in his own field manager rather than be stuck with old Cito. If I’m running the Jays I fire them both and start fresh.
Former Tigers infielder Casey McGehee has reportedly signed a one-year deal with the Yomiuri Giants of Nippon Professional Baseball, according to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.
It’s the fourth move the corner infielder has made in the last two seasons after seeing short-term stints with the Marlins, Giants and Tigers. He signed a minor league deal with the Tigers prior to the 2016 season, providing the club with some infield depth behind 24-year-old Nick Castellanos. When Castellanos hit the disabled list in August with a broken hand, McGehee was recalled from Triple-A Toledo for a 30-game stint and slashed .228/.260/.239 with one extra-base hit in 96 PA. His career batting line (.258/.317/.384 over eight seasons) isn’t too shabby, but his age and a long history of knee injuries puts a damper on his potential.
McGehee last appeared in the NPB circuit in 2013, when he signed a one-year, $1.5 million deal with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles. He spent the bulk of his season at the hot corner, batting an impressive .292/.396/.515 with 28 homers in 590 PA and appearing in the Eagles’ first and only championship run to date.
The deal comes with a club option for 2018, Rosenthal reports, though no figure has been specified.
Free agent left-hander Rich Hill is rumored to be entertaining a three-year, $40+ million offer from the Dodgers, reports Peter Gammons. The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo corroborated the report, adding that Hill could receive somewhere between $46 and $48 million from his former team.
Hill, 36, pitched to a 2.12 ERA and 3.91 FIP in back-to-back stints with the Athletics and Dodgers in 2016. While a chronic case of blisters on his pitching hand limited the frequency of his starts, he still figures to be one of the most productive and noteworthy starting pitchers on the market this winter.
The Orioles, Yankees, Red Sox, Rangers and Astros have all been mentioned as potential suitors for the left-hander’s services, though Orioles’ GM Dan Duquette said the club has yet to make a play for Hill and ESPN’s Jim Bowden pointed out that the Red Sox are less involved in trade talks than other interested parties.