There’s been plenty of speculation about the fates of Angels manager Mike Scioscia and general manager Jerry Dipoto, but Jon Morosi of FOXSports.com offers a bit of substance in reporting that one of them will be a goner after the season.
According to Morosi “philosophical differences exist between the men and it has become increasingly apparent to organization that status quo is not tenable.”
Angels owner Arte Moreno gave Scioscia a pretty big vote of confidence earlier this season, saying things like “Mike has zero problems” and “I have no questions about Mike.” Of course, that was back in May and the Angels have continued to struggle on their way to a 55-71 record.
One big factor? Scioscia is signed through 2018, so Moreno would have to eat a bunch of money to make MLB’s longest-tenured manager go away. On the other hand, Moreno fired Tony Reagins as GM and replaced him with Dipoto just two years ago, so cutting him loose would be admitting a big blunder. And if Dipoto is let go the fact that Moreno forced him to make certain moves, including signing Josh Hamilton to a huge, almost immediately regrettable contract, will be tough to ignore.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.
There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.
Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.
According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Cardinals are keeping an eye on outfield prospect Luis Robert. The 19-year-old left his native Cuba last November and is expected to command interest from multiple MLB teams as he approaches free agency. Goold adds that the Cardinals sent scouts to evaluate Robert’s workouts in the Dominican Republic as recently as last week.
There’s still a good chance that the club won’t get a shot at signing him; as Craig mentioned last month, it seems likely that Major League Baseball won’t declare Robert a free agent until after June 15. By July 2, the new Collective Bargaining Agreement’s policies on international bonuses will go into effect, handcuffing teams with the maximum penalty for bonuses to a $300,000 signing figure for any available international prospect. It’s designed to effectively take away those teams’ abilities to sign additional international talent, and the Cardinals have already spent a reported $9.35 million in bonuses on Venezuelan outfielder Victor Garcia, Cuban outfielders Jonatan Machado and Randy Arozarena and Cuban right-hander Johan Oviedo.
Until the cutoff in mid-June, the Cardinals are likely to continue actively scouting other international talent, including Robert. MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez quotes an anonymous National League scouting director who describes Robert as the No. 2 talent behind Japanese wunderkind Shohei Otani. The 19-year-old hit .286/.319/.397 with a .716 OPS during a 16-game run in the Canadian-American League in 2016, following up an impressive three-year tenure with the Ciego de Avila in the Cuban National Series from 2013-2015.