CSN Mid-Atlantic’s Rich Dubroff reports that the Orioles are “searching everywhere” for outfield help. The club recently acquired L.J. Hoes from the Astros in exchange for cash considerations, throwing him into a stable of six outfielders that could potentially crack the Opening Day Roster.
Adam Jones, of course, will open the season in center field. But in the corner outfield and on the bench, Dubroff lists Hoes along with Dariel Alvarez, Junior Lake, David Lough, Nolan Reimold and Henry Urrutia. Both Lough and Reimold are eligible for arbitration — Lough for the first time, and Reimold for his third and final year — so it remains to be seen if the Orioles will retain both of them.
The Orioles could target outfield help in the Rule-5 draft, and they could also target outfielders in free agency. Gerardo Parra, acquired by the O’s in a trade with the Brewers at the trade deadline, remains a possibility but the team is reluctant to offer him more than two years.
MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports that the Indians have signed catcher Anthony Recker to a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training.
Recker, 32, has spent the past three seasons with the Mets, compiling an aggregate .190/.256/.350 batting line with 15 home runs and 51 RBI in 432 plate appearances. He’ll serve as catching depth for the Indians.
Recker was selected by the Athletics in the 18th round of the 2005 draft. They then sent him to the Cubs in exchange for Blake Lalli in an August 2012 trade, and the Mets selected him off waivers from the Cubs in October 2012.
Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports that Diamondbacks GM Dave Stewart seems content to keep Brad Ziegler in the closer’s role. The club is not expected to heavily pursue a high-end closer such as Aroldis Chapman.
Ziegler, 36, took over the closer’s rule during this past season and did an admirable job, finishing with 30 saves, a 1.85 ERA, and a 36/17 K/BB ratio in 68 innings. Most Sabermetric stats suggest that Ziegler’s 2015 performance won’t be sustainable, particularly because he posted the sixth-lowest strikeout rate among qualified relievers.
However, the Diamondbacks will be counting on Ziegler’s propensity to induce ground balls to continue his run of success. Ziegler’s 72.8 percent ground ball rate ranked second behind Orioles closer Zach Britton.
Ziegler will earn $5.5 million for the 2016 season and can become a free agent after the season.
Update (11:00 PM EST): Roberts will sign a three-year deal to manage the Dodgers, per Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY. The press conference will be held a week after Thanksgiving.
The Dodgers are expected to name former major leaguer Dave Roberts as manager, Dylan Hernandez, Bill Plaschke, and Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times are reporting. The hiring is expected to be made official on Monday.
Roberts, 43, spent parts of 10 seasons in the majors with the Indians, Dodgers, Red Sox, Padres, and Giants. He made a name for himself with his speed, swiping 243 bases in 301 attempts (80.7%). Following his retirement, Roberts had been coaching for the Padres since 2011 and officially managed one game in 2015 after Bud Black was fired and before Pat Murphy took over in the interim.
Roberts is one of three minority managers, joining Dusty Baker and Fredi Gonzalez. He’s the Dodgers’ first minority manager. Baker, recently hired to manage the Nationals, lamented the lack of diversity in baseball.
Gabe Kapler was the other finalist for the Dodgers’ open managerial position.
The Reds are expected to pursue trading outfielder Jay Bruce this winter, but there is a small roadblock as MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon reports that Bruce has a limited no-trade clause with which he can veto trades to any of eight teams. Those teams are the Yankees, Red Sox, Athletics, Rays, Marlins, Twins, Indians, and Diamondbacks.
Bruce, 28, has had back-to-back disappointing seasons, hitting a combined .222/.288/.406 with 44 home runs and 153 RBI in 1,194 plate appearances. However, he’s still relatively young and signed to a team-friendly contract which will pay him $12.5 million in 2016. Bruce’s team can choose to buy out his 2017 season for $1 million or pick up his club option for $13 million.