Jon Heyman has a news nugget in his latest column — Charlie Manuel will, in fact, be back at the helm in Philly next year — but I don’t think anyone ever doubted that. If they did, the recent run has put any such thoughts to rest, or should have. Say what you want about the 2012 Phillies, but if they fall short of the playoffs, it’s not Charlie Manuel’s fault.
The article is more interesting for the Ryne Sandberg talk. It comes up each year, but this year it’s earlier than usual: when is Ryne Sandberg going to get his shot at managing?
Heyman says that Sandberg is so well-liked in the Phillies front office that some people even thought that, rather than extend Manuel’s contract into 2013, they should have just given the job to Sandberg. Ruben Amaro shoots that down hard, but it’s no secret that Heyman knows people in the Philly front office. He tends to get scoops there.
In any event, yeah, it would seem that Sandberg is up next in Philly. I’d just not expect to hear anything more about it than what Heyman has to say, because baseball has a really bad history with heir apparent managers. Ray Knight in Cincinnati is one. The Yankees naming Billy Martin Bob Lemon’s successor mere days after Martin was fired in 1978 was another.
Baseball is a lot like the late night talk show business. You just can’t have a well-run operation with the next guy obviously and officially waiting in the wings to take over.
UPDATE: People are telling Will Carroll this too, by the way. From his Monday column:
Word out of Philly is that Charlie Manuel will retire after next season. Ryne Sandberg may shift to bench coach in order to make an easy transition …
Update (8:51 PM EST): The deal is in place, according to Heyman.
Update (8:27 PM EST): Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Cardinals made an “over-the-top offer” to Fowler to ensure he’d sign.
Frank Cusumano of KSDK Sports reports that free agent outfielder will take a physical in St. Louis on Friday. Presumably, that means that Fowler and the Cardinals have gotten pretty far along in negotiations.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports recently reported that Fowler was looking for $18 million per year. The Blue Jays reportedly made an offer to Fowler in the four-year, $16 million range several days ago. The Cardinals’ offer to Fowler, if there is indeed one, is likely somewhere between the two figures.
Fowler, 30, is coming off of a fantastic year in which he helped the Cubs win their first World Series since 1908. During the regular season, he hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 home runs, 48 RBI, 84 runs scored, and 13 stolen bases in 551 plate appearances.
Fowler rejected the Cubs’ $17.2 million qualifying offer last month. While the QO compensation negatively affected Fowler’s experience in free agency last offseason — he didn’t sign until late February with the Cubs — his strong season is expected to make QO compensation much less of an issue.
Tommy Stokke of RanRag Sports reports that the Braves and Rangers agreed to a trade. According to ESPN’s Keith Law, the Braves will receive pitcher Luke Jackson from the Rangers in exchange for pitchers Tyrell Jenkins and Brady Feigl.
Jackson, 25, is under team control through 2022. He has logged only 18 innings in the majors, yielding 14 runs on 22 hits and eight walks with three strikeouts. While Jackson has struggled with control, the Braves likely see upside because his fastball sits in the mid- to high-90’s.
Jenkins, 24, is also under team control through 2022. The right-hander made eight starts and six relief appearances in his first major league season in 2016, putting up a 5.88 ERA with a 26/33 K/BB ratio over 52 innings.
Feigl, 25, was an undrafted free agent and was signed by the Braves in 2013. The lefty underwent Tommy John surgery in 2015 and briefly rehabbed in rookie ball this past season.