Joe Torre has served as MLB’s executive vice president for baseball operations since retiring as Dodgers manager in late 2010–with a brief break while he pursued ownership of the team–but the 71-year-old future Hall of Famer has decided to take on another managing gig.
Torre has been chosen as Team USA’s manager for the World Baseball Classic in March of 2013. Four years ago Davey Johnson managed the WBC team along with a star-studded coaching staff that included Mike Schmidt, Barry Larkin, Mel Stottlemyre, Billy Ripken, Reggie Smith, and Marcel Lachemann.
No word yet on who will be on Torre’s staff and presumably the WBC job won’t lead to Torre following in Johnson’s footsteps by eventually becoming an MLB manage again, but if anyone is well-equipped to manager a team full of All-Stars it’s certainly Torre. He managed 29 seasons for the Mets, Cardinals, Braves, Yankees and Dodgers, winning four World Series titles and two manager of the year awards.
Team USA finished in fourth place under Johnson in 2009 and tied for sixth place under manager Buck Martinez in 2006, with Team Japan winning both tournaments.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes will opt out of his contract shortly after the World Series concludes. Cespedes, who earned $17.5 million for the 2016 season, has two years and $47.5 million remaining on his deal which includes an opt-out clause.
That Cespedes plans to opt out isn’t surprising as he’s almost certain to get a better contract entering a weak free agent market. He hit a terrific .280/.354/.530 with 31 home runs and 86 RBI in 543 plate appearances for the Mets this past season.
It remains to be seen how the Mets will deal with potentially losing Cespedes. They can pick up a $13 million club option for Jay Bruce, but he performed terribly after joining the Mets in a trade from the Reds. The Mets could also go after free agents Jose Bautista or Mark Trumbo. Curtis Granderson and Michael Conforto will handle the other two outfield positions.
Major League Baseball announced on Wednesday that former Red Sox DH David Ortiz and Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant won the 2016 Hank Aaron Award in their respective leagues.
Ortiz, 40, flourished in his final season, batting .315/.401/.620 with 38 home runs and 127 RBI in 626 plate appearances during the regular season. His .620 slugging percentage, 1.021 OPS, and 48 doubles led the majors while his 127 RBI led the American League. Ortiz also won the Hank Aaron Award back in 2005.
Bryant, 24, is the likely winner of the National League Most Valuable Player Award as well. He hit .292/.385/.554 with 39 home runs and 102 RBI over 699 plate appearances. He also led the league by scoring 121 runs. Bryant is the first Cub to win the Hank Aaron Award since Aramis Ramirez in 2008.
Last year’s winners in the AL and NL, respectively, were Josh Donaldson and Bryce Harper.