Cole Hamels

Report: The Phillies to offer Cole Hamels six years, $130 million


Jon Heyman reported the other day that the Phillies were prepared to offer “more than $120 million” to Cole Hamels. Now he’s getting more specific:

The Phillies are sending signals that they are planning to make an initial offer to star lefthanded pitcher Cole Hamels for about $130 million over six years within the next few days, sources familiar with the team’s thinking told

The Phillies are believed to have had some conversations in recent days with Hamels, and while no official offer has been made yet, sources say the team is interested in doing a deal in the range of Matt Cain’s six-year arrangement with the Giants.

Hard to say what that will do. It would be a reasonable assumption to think that Hamels will want more than Matt Cain is getting — $127 million or so — so this is not merely a non-starter, public relations offer.  But if Hamels truly wants to play the open market, it may not matter.

Targets north of Cain include Johan Santana’s $137.5 million deal and CC Sabathia’s $161 million deal, which he later opted out of and redid.

Wild Card, Division series umpires announced

Angel Hernandez
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Major League Baseball just released the umpire assignments for the Wild Card Game and the Division Series. As always, the basis for these assignments is a proprietary, scientific calculation undertaken by Major League Baseball, mixing in (a) skill; (b) seniority; and (c) trolling of baseball bloggers who, unlike 99% of the rest of the world actually know the names and track records of various umpires and who are easily riled.

Which is to say that, while we have no Joe West in the early playoff rounds this year — too obvious, perhaps? — we do get an Angel Hernandez.

Here are the assignments. The asterisks represent the crew chief of each unit. Guys with little up arrows next to their names are regular season crew chiefs in their own right. Print this out and keep it near your television so you know who to yell about before the broadcasters tell you who to yell at:

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Which teams improved and declined the most in 2015?

Joe Maddon

I was curious about which MLB teams changed their fortunes the most this season compared to last year, so I crunched the numbers.

First, here are the biggest win total improvements from 2014 to 2015:

+24 Cubs
+21 Rangers
+16 Astros
+15 Diamondbacks
+13 Twins
+11 Mets
+10 Blue Jays
+10 Cardinals
+10 Pirates

The top five teams on the biggest-improvement list all had managers in their first season on the job, led by Joe Maddon joining the Cubs after tons of success with the Rays. Also worth noting: Of the nine teams with the biggest win total improvement, seven made the playoffs. Only the Twins and Diamondbacks improved to double-digit games and still failed to make the playoffs.

Now, here are the biggest win total declines from 2014 to 2015:

-20 Athletics
-16 Tigers
-15 Orioles
-14 Brewers
-13 Nationals
-13 Angels
-12 Braves
-12 Reds
-11 Mariners

Not surprisingly, a whole lot of those teams have changed managers, general managers, or both. And a couple more may still do so before the offseason gets underway. Oakland retained manager Bob Melvin despite an MLB-high 20-win dropoff and just promoted Billy Beane from general manager to vice president of baseball operations.