With the Yankees season over a lot of attention will be paid to A-Rod’s arbitration, which starts today, and Robinson Cano’s fre agency, which starts as soon as the playoffs are over. But there is another loose end which is pretty darn important too: Joe Girardi.
Girardi is a managerial free agent, essentially, as he’s not under contract for 2014. Joel Sherman says that it feels like he wants to stay in New York. Buster Olney says that, while that may be true, Girardi is going to demand a significant raise to do it. Sherman adds this:
But there are real opportunities out there for Girardi. Tim McCarver’s spot in the Fox national booth is opening. Harold Reynolds and John Smoltz are perceived as strong candidates. But sources said the network loves Girardi and would strongly consider him.
He adds that the Cubs may have a managerial opening too and reminds us that Girardi is an Illinois guy, hailing from Peoria, going to Northwestern and playing for the Cubs.
Whether Girardi wants to leave the dugout for the booth or go to a rebuilding situation is an open question. But whether or not the Yankees should want him back in the Bronx shouldn’t be. He got more out of less talent this season than anyone. He has kept the clubhouse operating on an even keel despite all manner of controversy and scrutiny. He deals deftly with big egos and big media and the Yankees would be hard pressed who could do his job better than him. It’s just a matter if he wants it.
Either way, he’ll be making good money in 2014. And after a tumultuous 2013, it’s hard to say he won’t deserve it.
During the Pirates’ FanFest on Saturday, right-hander Gerrit Cole announced that he is back up to full health after being shut down with elbow inflammation in September. Per Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Cole said he’ll start a throwing program on Monday as he works on regaining his form for the 2017 season.
The 26-year-old pitched through 116 innings for the Pirates in 2016, delivering a 3.88 ERA and 2.5 WARP before landing on the disabled list in June with a triceps strain and again in August with elbow inflammation. It was a steep drop for the right-hander, who saw a considerable spike in his ERA and BB/9 rate and struggled to strike out batters at the 8.7 mark he managed in 2015.
The upside? Inflammation was the worst of Cole’s issues in 2016, and while the newfound health issues didn’t help his case for an extension, a more serious injury doesn’t appear to be on the horizon.
The Astros, Braves and Nationals came sniffing around White Sox left-hander Jose Quintana during the Winter Meetings, but each appeared to find the Sox’ asking price well beyond what they were willing to give up for the starter. On Saturday, Peter Gammons revealed that the White Sox had floated Francis Martes, Kyle Tucker and Joe Musgrove as a possible return for Quintana.
It’s a strategy that worked well for Chicago in the past, most recently when they dealt Chris Sale to the Red Sox for Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech, among others, and flipped Adam Eaton to the Nationals for a trio of pitching prospects. Astros’ GM Jeff Luhnow didn’t appear eager to sacrifice some of his core talent to net a high-end starter, however, and told the Houston Chronicle’s Jake Kaplan as much on Wednesday:
We’re prepared to trade players to improve our club right now. […] We’re just not prepared to trade away players that are core to our production in 2017, and those are sometimes the players that are required to get these deals done.
While Lunhow was speaking specifically to the inclusion of third baseman Alex Bregman in future deals, it’s not unrealistic to think that top prospects Francis Martes and Kyle Tucker would also be considered instrumental to the Astros’ plans for the next few seasons.
Martes, 21, currently sits atop the team’s top prospect list on MLB.com. The right-hander blazed through his first full season in Double-A Corpus Christi, posting a 3.30 ERA and career-best 9.4 K/9 over 125 1/3 innings in 2016. Tucker, meanwhile, profiles as the Astros’ second-best prospect and made a successful jump to High-A Lancaster last season, slashing .339/.435/.661 in 69 PA. Rookie right-hander Joe Musgrove is the only player left off the top prospect list, but he got off to a decent start with the club in 2016 as well, going 4-4 with a 4.06 ERA and 3.44 K/BB rate in 62 innings during his first major league season.