UPDATE: OK, maybe Wren was right. Gonzalez won the Sporting News’ Manager of the Year Award. Damn. I really wish he was deluded about that. It would have made for great blog fodder, basically, for every single game Gonzalez managed.
3:00 P.M.: Fredi Gonzalez was formally announced as the Braves new manager a few minutes ago. I think the press conference is actually still going on. It’s been fun. And while I’m not going to change my mind that Gonzalez is the best guy for the job, this gives me a bit of pause: Braves GM Frank Wren has twice referred to Fredi Gonzalez as having won the Manager of the Year Award with the Marlins a couple of years ago.
Except . . . that was Joe Girardi, not Gonzalez.
I guess Girardi hasn’t gotten a contract extension from the Yankees yet and could still be lured away if that’s who Wren really wanted, but really, that would be rather awkward now that they made Gonzalez’s jersey and everything.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Brewers “floated” an extension offer around $20 million to infielder Jonathan Villar, but the 25-year-old turned it down.
Villar broke out last season, batting .285/.369/.457 with 19 home runs, 63 RBI, 92 runs scored, and a major league best 62 stolen bases. He also spent some time at third base and second base in the second half after shortstop prospect Orlando Arcia was promoted to the big leagues.
Villar will become eligible for salary arbitration after the 2017 season and can become a free agent after the 2020 season.
Veteran hurler Jake Peavy has not signed with a team. It’s not because he’s not still capable of being a useful pitcher — he’s well-regarded and someone would likely take a late-career chance on him — and it’s not because he no longer wishes to play. Rather, it’s because a bunch of bad things have happened in his personal life lately.
As Jerry Crasnick of ESPN reports, last year Peavy lost millions in an investment scam and spent much of the 2016 season distracted, dealing with investigations and depositions and all of the awfulness that accompanied it. Then, when the season ended, Peavy went home and was greeted with divorce papers. He has spent the offseason trying to find a new normal for himself and for his four sons.
Pitching is taking a backseat now, but Peavy plans to pitch again. Here’s hoping that things get sorted to the point where he can carry through with those plans.