mystery man

Who is “the best major-league managing prospect” in America?

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I don’t have a definitive answer to that, but Michael Arace of my hometown Columbus Dispatch says that it’s Mike Sarbaugh, manager of the Indians AAA team, the Columbus Clippers:

In eight seasons since Sarbaugh started managing, his teams have made the playoffs every year save one … Sarbaugh has won championships in the New York-Penn, Carolina, Eastern and International leagues … It is almost as if you can give Sarbaugh nine lawn chairs and they will contend.

Obviously winning in the minor leagues is a different deal than it is in the majors. Especially at AAA, where the team can be used as either a talent repository or a holding cell for AAAA players or both, depending on the whim of the organization.  But you gotta measure it somehow, and winning is not a bad starting point. Columbus has a 13-game lead in their division.

The only thing giving me pause: the last time a Clippers manager was touted as the next big major league managing prospect it was … Trey Hillman.

But at the very least you can get to know Mr. Sarbaugh if you aren’t already acquainted.

Magic Johnson to take over the Lakers, but will still be part of Dodgers ownership

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 15:  Earvin 'Magic' Johnson attends game one of the National League Championship Series between the Chicago Cubs and the Los Angeles Dodgers at Wrigley Field on October 15, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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This is more significant for basketball fans than baseball fans, but Magic Johnson is taking over basketball operations for the Los Angeles Lakers. Dan Feldman over at PBT has the full story on that.

For our purposes, you probably know that Johnson is part of the Dodgers ownership group. Anthony McCullough of the L.A. Times got comment from the Dodgers, saying that despite his new full-time job, his status with the Dodgers will be unchanged:

Maybe I’m alone in this, but I’m not entirely certain what Magic does with the Lakers, so the first clause in Kasten’s comment may be doing most of the heavy lifting here.

Matt Wieters is close to signing with the Washington Nationals

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 02: Matt Wieters #32 of the Baltimore Orioles connects on a two-run home run in the fourth inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on October 2, 2016 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
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Jon Heyman reports that the Nationals are closing in on a deal with catcher Matt Wieters. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that it’s a two-year deal. UPDATE: Ken Rosenthal reports that the deal is for two years, at $21 million. There is an opt-out for him after year one. He will get $10 million in 2017 and, if he returns in 2018, he’ll get $11 million.

Wieters was not expected to go this long without signing, but his market, which many thought would be robust, never materialized. The Nats had been rumored to be interested for months, but they were apparently waiting to swoop in late and get what one presumes will be a bargain.

Wieters, 30, finished last season hitting .243/.302/.409 with 17 home runs and 66 RBI in 464 plate appearances. The Nationals currently have Derek Norris and Jose Lobaton, so who falls where in the catcher fight in Washington is unclear, but one presumes that Wieters getting a two-year deal puts him at the top of the depth chart.