Yesterday the Blue Jays signed Cuban shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria to a four-year, $10 million contract and today general manager Alex Anthopoulos gives a scouting report on the 21-year-old prospect:
The financial commitment speaks for itself. We are hoping that this is someone who can emerge and be a core piece for us. This is a significant signing. He’s the total package. He has very good range, above-average throwing arm and above-average defense. We absolutely believe he is going to stay at shortstop.
Just about everything I’ve seen written or said about Hechavarria suggests his bat has much more upside than his glove, so (if true) Anthopoulos saying that the Blue Jays believe he’ll be able to stick at shortstop is significant.
Anthopoulos added that Hechavarria will initially head to extended spring training before likely making his pro debut next month at Single-A and perhaps finishing the season at Double-A. He’s unlikely to make it to Toronto this year, although the GM said that hasn’t been ruled out. For now the Blue Jays have 33-year-old Alex Gonzalez as a place-holder shortstop and he’s off to a huge start.
Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera didn’t play in the Tigers’ season finale against the White Sox, but he has officially clinched the AL batting title with a .338 average following Sunday’s action. It’s Cabrera’s fourth batting title in his last five seasons.
Marlins second baseman Dee Gordon entered Sunday’s season finale with a bit more pressure. He was in a tight race with Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper for the NL batting title, trailing only by rounding to the fourth place, .3307 to .3306. Gordon went 3-for-4 in a loss to the Phillies while Harper went 1-for-4 in a loss to the Mets. As a result, Gordon officially won the NL batting title with a .330 average. It’s the first batting title of Gordon’s brief career. Hanley Ramirez was the Marlins’ last batting champion, doing so in 2009.
Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels are expected to announce Billy Eppler as their new general manager on Monday. Eppler had been serving as the assistant general manager with the Yankees.
Jerry DiPoto had been the Angels’ GM but he stepped down on July 1. DiPoto later joined the Red Sox in an advisory role, then was named the Mariners’ new GM last week.
The Angels lost to the Rangers in Sunday’s season finale, which eliminated them from contention for the second AL Wild Card spot. They finished 85-77. Most of their regulars are under contract for the 2016 season, but Eppler will have to decide whether to tender contracts to seven arbitration-eligible players while filling in the rest of the roster.