Blue Jays' Lawrie acknowledges cheering crowds after he hit a walk off home run to beat the Red Sox in the eleventh inning of their American League MLB baseball game in Toronto

The Mariners tried to trade Michael Pineda for Brett Lawrie


The Michael Pineda-for-Jesus Montero trade was pretty cool in that we don’t see tons of young-pitcher-for-young-slugger trades that don’t involve payroll things, impending free agency or any of that.  But it could have been way cooler. Well, at least if you’re a Mariners fan.

As Jeff Blair of the Globe and Mail reports, the Blue Jays — who have been criticized by some for not doing anything big this offseason — defended themselves yesterday by noting that they avoided doing something big — and dumb — a couple of weeks ago:

They squandered some of that currency and Monday was an attempt to build it back up, with Anthopoulos getting in the act and stating clearly that a particular trade he didn’t make – let’s take a wild stab here, folks, and say it was for Seattle Mariners pitcher Michael Pineda – fell apart because the other team wanted a major-league-ready player off the Blue Jays roster.

(Several sources say that player was third baseman Brett Lawrie; the Blue Jays balked and instead the Mariners did some good business with the New York Yankees, landing catcher Jesus Montero.)

I guess you can’t fault the M’s for asking. But man, I can’t think of many young hitters who are more untouchable, or at least should be, than Brett Lawrie. Sure, Jesus Montero may be great one day, but at age 21 Lawrie hit .293/.373/.580, hit nine home runs drove in 25 RBI in only 171 plate appearances. And had some big, dramatic hits too.

Padres announce Pat Murphy won’t return as manager in 2016

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Per Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, the Padres have announced that interim manager Pat Murphy won’t return as the team’s manager in 2016. Haudricourt adds that Brewres manager Craig Counsell tried to get Murphy on his staff, and says to look for Murphy to join the Brewers for the 2016 season.

Murphy led the Padres to a 42-53 record after Bud Black was fired in June. He had previously managed for two years with Single-A Eugene in 2011-12, and at Triple-A Tucson and El Paso in 2013-14.

Former major leaguer Phil Nevin is a candidate for the Padres’ vacant managing position, according to Scott Miller of Bleacher Report.

Royals clinch home field advantage, best record in the American League

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With a 6-1 win over the Twins in Sunday’s season finale, the Royals clinched the best record in the American League, which nets them home field advantage in the ALDS and ALCS. The Royals stand at 95-67 while the Blue Jays, who lost on Sunday, finish at 93-69.

95-67 is the Royals’ best record since finishing 97-65 in 1980, when they lost the World Series to the Phillies. Their division title is their first since 1985.

In the ALDS, which starts on Thursday, the Royals will host the winner of the AL Wild Card game between the Astros and Yankees. They are looking to avenge last year’s World Series loss, in seven games, to the Giants. The Blue Jays will host the Rangers in the other ALDS series.