Sick of being left to twist in the wind, Jim Tracy resigned as manager of the Rockies on Sunday afternoon.
The Rockies were clearly wavering on bringing back Tracy, and this seems to be the best-case scenario for them, as it gets them out of a potentially messy situation. Tracy didn’t have a contract beyond 2013, but he did have some sort of handshake, indefinite-commitment deal that might have made firing him problematic.
But the Rockies needed to move on, something they’ve always struggled to do. Even though they’ve reached the postseason just three times in 20 years, they’ve been very resistant to change. Even this summer, when they finally sort of made a big move in the front office, they simply altered GM Dan O’Dowd’s duties rather than firing him. They even allowed him to keep his title.
Tracy took over the Rockies after Clint Hurdle was let go in 2009, and he went 74-42 the rest of the way before Colorado lost in the NLDS. In the years since, the Rockies had slipped from 92 to 83 to 73 and now a franchise-worst 64 wins in 2012.
It seems doubtful Tracy will get another managerial gig right away. He’s not going to be a fit in Boston. Perhaps Miami would consider him if Ozzie Guillen is fired, but that too is a long shot.
Among the managerial candidates the Rockies could consider are the Indians’ Sandy Alomar Jr., Rays bench coach Dave Martinez and new Phillies third-base coach Ryne Sandberg.
Update (7:01 PM EDT): David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports the deal has been completed.
ESPN’s Keith Law reported on Saturday evening that a bad contract swap involving the Braves’ Hector Olivera and the Padres’ Matt Kemp was “getting close.” Olivera has been pulled off the field, per Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that only a last-second medical would kill the deal at this point, and that the Padres will be sending money to the Braves.
Kemp, 31, will have $64.5 million remaining on his contract through 2019 after this season, but the Dodgers will pay $3.5 million annually over those remaining three years, so the $64.5 million is really $54 million. The veteran has compiled a .262/.285/.489 triple-slash line with 23 home runs and 69 RBI in 431 plate appearances for the Padres this season.
Olivera, 31, will have $28.5 million remaining on his contract through 2020 after this season. The outfielder was handed an 82-game suspension, beginning on May 26, for his involvement in a domestic dispute on April 13. The suspension is up on August 2. He has a .501 OPS in 21 major league at-bats this season and a .278 OPS in 37 PA at Triple-A.
Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the Padres will consider designating Olivera for assignment. The trade is all about the salary dump for the Padres, as they’d rather give outfield playing time to prospects Hunter Renfroe and Manuel Margot.
The Athletics and Royals swapped outfielders on Saturday. The Athletics sent Billy Burns to Kansas City and the Royals sent Brett Eibner to Oakland.
Burns, 26, doesn’t provide much in the way of offense, but he runs the bases well and plays solid defense. He was hitting .234/.270/.303 with 11 doubles, four triples, and 14 stolen bases in 274 plate appearances.
Eibner, 27, was batting .231/.286/.423 with three home runs and 10 RBI in 85 plate appearances. He has spent most of the season with Triple-A Omaha, where he’s put up a .902 OPS in 219 PA. Eibner played the outfield corners in the majors, but racked up a ton of time playing center in the minors, so his versatility will be valuable to the A’s.
Burns will become eligible for arbitration for the first time after the 2017 season while Eibner has hardly accrued any service time, which might explain part of the motivation behind the trade for the small-market Athletics.