UPDATE: It’s done. According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Braves will name Fredi Gonzalez as their next manager on Thursday.
6:00 PM: There has been almost zero speculation about who will be the next Braves’ manager. Why? Because everyone agrees that it will almost certainly be former Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez. Indeed, the fact that none of the Braves writers are even playing the “who are the potential candidates” games to fill column inches leads me to believe that everyone knows it’s a done deal already but that the team has been holding off until the Braves season is over and Bobby Cox got his formal good-bye. Braves writers are pretty good at keeping an information embargo.
Well, the season is over now, so all bets are off. That has David O’Brein of the AJC is saying that Gonzalez will be named the Braves’ next manager right around the World
Series, either right before or right afterward.
It’s probably the best choice under the circumstances. Not that Gonzalez is the best managerial candidate full stop. Just that, given where the team is right now — competitive, loaded with players who are Cox’s guys — it was inevitable that the team would pick one of the many Cox proteges around the league.
Gonzalez was Bobby Cox’s third base coach for several years and Cox is quite fond of him. He’s available. When you add in the fact that unlike, say, Terry Pendelton or some others, Gonzalez has big league experience, the choice is pretty obvious.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Cubs have signed pitcher Brett Anderson to a contract, pending a physical. Anderson, apparently, impressed the Cubs during a bullpen session held in Arizona recently. According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, the deal is for $3.5 million, but incentives can bring the total value up to $10 million.
Anderson, 28, has only made a total of 53 starts and 12 relief appearances over the past five seasons due to a litany of injuries. This past season, he made just three starts and one relief appearance, yielding 15 runs on 25 hits and four walks with five strikeouts in 11 1/3 innings. The lefty dealt with back, wrist, and blister issues throughout the year.
When he’s healthy, Anderson is a solid arm to have at the back of a starting rotation or in the bullpen. The defending world champion Cubs aren’t risking much in bringing him on board.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports provides an interesting window into how teams handle a player’s contract after he has died in an accident. It was reported on Sunday that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura died in a car accident in the Dominican Republic. He had three guaranteed years at a combined $19.25 million as well as two $12 million club options with a $1 million buyout each for the 2020-21 seasons.
What happens to that money? Well, that depends on the results of a toxicology report, Rosenthal explains. If it is revealed that Ventura was driving under the influence, payment to his estate can be nullified. The Royals may still choose to pay his estate some money as a gesture of good will, but they would be under no obligation to do so. However, if Ventura’s death was accidental and not caused by his driving under the influence, then his contract remains fully guaranteed and the Royals would have to pay it towards his estate. The Royals would be reimbursed by insurance for an as yet unknown portion of that contract.
The results of the toxicology report won’t be known for another three weeks, according to Royals GM Dayton Moore. Dominican Republic authorities said that there was no alcohol found at the scene.
Ventura’s situation is different than that of Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, who died in a boating accident this past September. Fernandez was not under contract beyond 2016. He was also legally drunk and cocaine was found in his system after the accident. Still, it is unclear whether or not Fernandez was driving the boat. As a result, his estate will receive an accidental death payment of $1.05 million as well as $450,000 through the players’ standard benefits package, Rosenthal points out.