Jeff Moorad was really polite about it, but don’t these comments about the Padres passing on Pat Burrell hang Padres’ GM Jed Hoyer out to dry?
“In retrospect, I wish I’d done more than relay Pat Burrell’s interest
in coming here.” Moorad said Thursday afternoon. “I’m not going to tell Jed what to do and I’m not going to push a
particular player on him. (But) in retrospect, I wish I had raised the
possibility to a different level.”
Hoyer was quoted in the article agreeing with his boss, saying that Moorad was right and, yeah, he wishes he would have pushed harder.
I guess the order in which the quotes were obtained matters here: if Hoyer first admitted that he blew it on Burrell, credited Moorad and then Moorad was quoted, fine. But if Moorad says it first, doesn’t that undercut Hoyer here? Isn’t it better for an organization to speak with one voice in such matters? “We made a mistake, in hindsight, in not getting Burrell. These things happen.” Moorad and Hoyer know the dynamic that went into the decision. Whose interest does it serve for the public to know that the owner and the general manager disagreed?
There’s a fine line between owner meddling and owner input, I suppose. I suppose that line is even finer when the owner has Moorad’s baseball background as opposed to the top guy being some car salesman or trial lawyer or something. I’m not sure I could restrain myself from trying to tell my GM to get this or that player if I owned a team. It’d be hard!
But I would like to think that I’d try to keep all of the sausage making in-house.
During the Pirates’ FanFest on Saturday, right-hander Gerrit Cole announced that he is back up to full health after being shut down with elbow inflammation in September. Per Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Cole said he’ll start a throwing program on Monday as he works on regaining his form for the 2017 season.
The 26-year-old pitched through 116 innings for the Pirates in 2016, delivering a 3.88 ERA and 2.5 WARP before landing on the disabled list in June with a triceps strain and again in August with elbow inflammation. It was a steep drop for the right-hander, who saw a considerable spike in his ERA and BB/9 rate and struggled to strike out batters at the 8.7 mark he managed in 2015.
The upside? Inflammation was the worst of Cole’s issues in 2016, and while the newfound health issues didn’t help his case for an extension, a more serious injury doesn’t appear to be on the horizon.
The Astros, Braves and Nationals came sniffing around White Sox left-hander Jose Quintana during the Winter Meetings, but each appeared to find the Sox’ asking price well beyond what they were willing to give up for the starter. On Saturday, Peter Gammons revealed that the White Sox had floated Francis Martes, Kyle Tucker and Joe Musgrove as a possible return for Quintana.
It’s a strategy that worked well for Chicago in the past, most recently when they dealt Chris Sale to the Red Sox for Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech, among others, and flipped Adam Eaton to the Nationals for a trio of pitching prospects. Astros’ GM Jeff Luhnow didn’t appear eager to sacrifice some of his core talent to net a high-end starter, however, and told the Houston Chronicle’s Jake Kaplan as much on Wednesday:
We’re prepared to trade players to improve our club right now. […] We’re just not prepared to trade away players that are core to our production in 2017, and those are sometimes the players that are required to get these deals done.
While Lunhow was speaking specifically to the inclusion of third baseman Alex Bregman in future deals, it’s not unrealistic to think that top prospects Francis Martes and Kyle Tucker would also be considered instrumental to the Astros’ plans for the next few seasons.
Martes, 21, currently sits atop the team’s top prospect list on MLB.com. The right-hander blazed through his first full season in Double-A Corpus Christi, posting a 3.30 ERA and career-best 9.4 K/9 over 125 1/3 innings in 2016. Tucker, meanwhile, profiles as the Astros’ second-best prospect and made a successful jump to High-A Lancaster last season, slashing .339/.435/.661 in 69 PA. Rookie right-hander Joe Musgrove is the only player left off the top prospect list, but he got off to a decent start with the club in 2016 as well, going 4-4 with a 4.06 ERA and 3.44 K/BB rate in 62 innings during his first major league season.