UPDATE: According to Todd Zolecki of MLB.com, the Phillies and general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. have agreed to a four-year contract extension. He’ll remain in the fold through 2015.
7:12 PM, Friday: A team source tells Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Inquirer that a contract extension for general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. is “done.”
10:15 AM, Friday: Earlier this week manager Charlie Manuel and the Phillies agreed to a two-year contract extension and now Paul Hagen of the Philadelphia Daily News reports that the team is “virtually done” and “lacking just the finishing touches” on an extension with general manager Ruben Amaro Jr.
After playing eight seasons in the majors as a light-hitting outfielder Amaro spent 10 years as the Phillies’ assistant GM, working as the right-hand man for both Ed Wade and Pat Gillick. He took over for the retiring Gillick as GM just days after the team won the World Series in 2008 and has pulled the trigger on some incredibly bold moves in two-and-a-half years on the job.
Under his watch the Phillies have built a potentially historic rotation around holdovers Cole Hamels and Joe Blanton, as Amaro twice acquired Cliff Lee and also traded for Roy Halladay and Roy Oswalt. He’s also made some questionable moves, like signing Ryan Howard to a $125 million extension long before it was necessary, but Amaro has built the Phillies into a powerhouse capable of extending their streak of four straight playoff appearances for years to come.
The Red Sox have more or less withdrawn from the Edwin Encarnacion sweepstakes, with Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald noting that much of their reluctance hinges on the likelihood that they’d exceed the new $195 million luxury tax threshold by locking the DH into a lucrative deal. That doesn’t leave them without options, however, and FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported that the club could be interested in 29-year-old corner infielder Pedro Alvarez, as well as fellow free agents Mike Napoli and Matt Holliday.
After playing just 10 games at DH from 2010 to 2015, Alvarez suited up as the Orioles’ primary designated hitter and part-time third baseman in 2016. His defense is sub-par, to say the least, but he batted .249/.322/.504 with 22 home runs for Baltimore in 2016.
According to Heyman, the Red Sox envision using Alvarez in much the same way the Orioles did. He’d have a place as the team’s DH with the occasional infield start, while Hanley Ramirez would keep his post at first base. Whether the Red Sox make offers to Napoli, Holliday or Alvarez, they’re expected to pursue a short-term deal in order to stay under budget.
The Braves signed left-handed reliever Jacob Lindgren to a one-year deal, according to a team announcement on Sunday.
Lindgren, the Yankees’ top draft pick in 2014, was nicknamed “The Strikeout Factory” after blowing through four levels of New York’s farm system in 2014. He started the 2015 season in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and was called up for his major league debut only two months into the 2015 season. The 22-year-old lasted seven innings with the club before succumbing to bone chips in his elbow, and underwent bone spur surgery in June before trying his luck again during spring training in 2016.
In August, the Yankees shut Lindgren down for the remainder of the season so the lefty could undergo Tommy John surgery. With a projected return date of 2018, Lindgren was non-tendered by the Yankees on Friday.
While the Braves won’t get the benefit of Lindgren’s top prospect skill set in their bullpen anytime soon, he will remain under club control if they keep him on their 40-man roster beyond the 2017 season (per ESPN’s Keith Law).