John Hart met with the media for the first time since taking over as the Braves’ new president of baseball operations and in doing so the 66-year-old former Indians and Rangers general manager laid out his plans for rebuilding the team:
That’s all the type of stuff frustrated fans will probably eat up–he wants tough guys instead of these losers we’ve had lately!–but really Hart is basically saying nothing.
He wants to bring in players who’re like the players on the two teams currently matched up in the World Series. He wants “tough” players rather than, presumably, “weak” players. He wants “winning” players rather than, presumably, “losing” players. And he wants “players who overachieve rather than underachieve.”
Fired two weeks ago after eight seasons as the Yankees’ hitting coach, Kevin Long has signed on with the Mets to fill the same role.
For the majority of Long’s tenure the Yankees had one of the elite offenses in baseball and overall from 2007-2014 they scored MLB’s second-most runs, but the lineup fell apart during the past two seasons due to aging and injuries.
Dave Hudgens was fired as the Mets’ hitting coach at midseason and his replacement, Lamar Johnson, was let go after the season ended. Hudgens has since joined the Astros as their hitting coach.
Long previously worked with Mets outfielder Curtis Granderson on the Yankees from 2010-2013, but in general will have a much different task ahead him than the veteran, star-filled lineups he’s used to. And the expectations will probably be just a tad lower, too.
Grady Sizemore joined the Phillies in mid-June after being released by the Red Sox and impressed enough that Philadelphia has signed him to a one-year, $2 million deal before he could hit the open market as a free agent.
Sizemore’s numbers in Philadelphia were nothing special and for the season overall he hit just .233 with five homers and a .654 OPS in 112 games. Clearly the Phillies think he still has upside remaining after injuries repeatedly derailed his career, but Sizemore is 32 years old and hasn’t topped a .750 OPS since 2009.
Earlier this week the Phillies signed journeyman Jerome Williams to a one-year, $2.5 million deal, so general manager Ruben Amaro is trying to get the margins of his aging roster set before the offseason officially begins.
Left-hander Craig Breslow indicated to Rob Bradford of WEEI.com that he expects the Red Sox to decline his $4 million option for next season following a rough year in which he posted a 5.96 ERA.
Breslow admitted that “$4 million is probably a hefty price tag” if you look strictly at what he did this season, but noted that if you “look at the body of work from 2008-13 you can have better appreciation for the pitcher that I’ve been.”
And he’s right about that, because prior this season Breslow posted a 2.82 ERA in 402 career innings, including a sub-4.00 ERA in all eight seasons. However, at age 33 and with some shoulder problems this season Breslow may have to settle for a modest one-year deal on the open market.
Earlier this month the Blue Jays admitted to starting contract talks with free agent Melky Cabrera and now Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports that they’re “willing to offer at least a three-year deal” to the 30-year-old outfielder.
That’s quite a change from last time Cabrera hit the open market, when he managed only a two-year, $16 million contract coming off a 50-game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs.
Back then he was coming off a career-year that included a .346 batting average and .906 OPS. This time around he hit .301 with an .808 OPS this season and struggled last season, but whatever negative stink Cabrera had attached to his name following the suspension seems to have mostly vanished. (Nelson Cruz is in a similar situation after leading the league in homers for the Orioles.)
Toronto will almost surely make the $15.3 million qualifying offer to Cabrera if they can’t re-sign him before then, guaranteeing draft pick compensation if he declines and signs elsewhere.