Last month Indians general manager Chris Antonetti told reporters that Manny Acta would be back as manager next season. And then yesterday Antonetti fired Acta.
That alone makes it pretty tough to place much weight in anything the Indians say about hiring and firing at this point, but yesterday Antonetti got a vote of confidence from upper management. Presumably it means more than the vote of confidence Acta got from Antonetti.
Here’s what team president Mark Shapiro–who was the GM before moving upstairs in 2010–said about going forward with Antonetti:
We obviously look at a broad range of criteria when we’re evaluating everybody. Chris is dealing with a set of challenges, which I understand, some of which are the creation of the organization that he and I ran together, and some of which are the result of other decisions.
But I feel he’s controlled the bulk of what he can control well. [Indians CEO Paul Dolan] and I still endorse strongly his vision for how we can be competitive and, ultimately, a championship team. We feel that he’s uniquely qualified and more capable than any other person in leading us to that outcome.
As far as votes of confidence go that’s a good one, I guess, and it’s worth noting that Shapiro was still technically the GM when the Indians hired Acta to a three-year contract following the 2009 season. Shapiro may also feel responsible that some of his final moves as GM didn’t set up Antonetti for immediate success, but whatever the case it seems pretty clear that 2013 will be a make-or-break year for Antonetti in Cleveland.
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.