The season just ended, but it’s already time to think about qualifying offers for impending free agents. For those unfamiliar, teams must give qualifying offers to their free agents if they want to receive draft pick compensation. The player has the ability to accept the qualifying offer (which will be a one-year, $15.8 million contract this time around), but if they turn it down and sign a contract elsewhere, the team nets a compensatory draft pick for 2016. Likewise, the signing team surrenders a draft pick.
Players like David Price and Yoenis Cespedes can’t receive qualifying offers from the Blue Jays and Mets respectively since they were acquired midseason. However, those who were with the same team for all of 2015 are eligible. One such player who falls under this classification is Matt Wieters. According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, the Orioles are expected to give him a qualifying offer by Friday’s 5 p.m. ET deadline.
Wieters is an interesting case since he appeared in just 75 games this season after Tommy John surgery while batting .267 with eight home runs and a .742 OPS (100 OPS+). But he’s the No. 1 catcher on the market and doesn’t turn 30 until next April. He’ll almost certainly land a lucrative multi-year contract somewhere. This is one of those situations where a qualifying offer should be an easy call. At the very worst, he’d accept and the Orioles would have him on a one-year deal. That seems unlikely, even off what wasn’t an ideal walk year.
Assuming Wieters receives the qualifying offer, he will have one week to decide whether to accept or reject.
After firing hitting coach Jeff Pentland last month, the Yankees are staying in-house for his replacement.
According to George A. King III of the New York Post, the Yankees are expected to promote Alan Cockrell to hitting coach while officially adding former major league outfielder Marcus Thames to the major league staff as an assistant. Cockrell was hired as the assistant hitting coach last offseason. Thames has worked in the Yankees’ minor league system for the past three seasons and served as Triple-A hitting coach in 2015.
The hitting coach job has become a revolving door for the Yankees, who hired Pentland last offseason after firing Kevin Long. New York’s offense faded during the second half this season, so Pentland ultimately took the fall for the dropoff. Cockrell will hope for a better fate.
According to Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times, former No. 1 overall pick Matt Bush was released from prison Friday after serving a sentence in Charlotte County, Florida for severely injuring a 72-year-old man while driving drunk.
Originally drafted by the Padres, Bush was in spring training with the Rays in March of 2012 when he ran down Tony Tufano with an SUV and left the scene. His blood alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit at the time. Tufano, who was riding a motorcycle, nearly died from Bush’s actions, suffering a collapsed lung, brain hemorrhaging and several broken bones.
Bush was sentenced to 51 months in jail after accepting a no contest plea deal. His attorney, Russell Kirshy, said Bush recently completed a nine-month work release program.
“He had the right attitude,” Kirshy said. “My concern with him while he was in custody was he was very much about, ‘This is my pennance, and I’ve got to pay for it and make the best of it.'”
Bush, who turns 30 in February, is expected to move closer to his family in Southern California now that he’s out of prison. Any baseball angle to this story is irrelevant at this point, but hopefully he can turn his life around.
Here are the Royals and Mets lineups for Game 4 of the World Series at Citi Field in New York. First pitch is scheduled for 8:07 p.m. ET. Kansas City holds a 2-1 lead in the series:
SS Alcides Escobar
2B Ben Zobrist
CF Lorenzo Cain
1B Eric Hosmer
3B Mike Moustakas
C Salvador Perez
LF Alex Gordon
RF Alex Rios
SP Chris Young
Royals manager Ned Yost has been consistent with his lineups this posseason and he isn’t making any changes from the team’s Game 3 loss on Friday night. Kendrys Morales is again on the bench with the designated hitter unavailable under National League rules.
RF Curtis Granderson
3B David Wright
2B Daniel Murphy
CF Yoenis Cespedes
1B Lucas Duda
C Travis d’Arnaud
LF Michael Conforto
SS Wilmer Flores
SP Steven Matz
After the Mets’ bats came alive with nine runs on 12 hits in Game 3, manager Terry Collins is sticking with the same lineup. Juan Lagares had enjoyed a nice postseason, but he hasn’t hit righties well in his career, so Conforto will get another start in left field. Still, Lagares figures to be in the game for defense again in the late innings.
Longtime Dodgers pitching coach Rick Honeycutt won’t be following Don Mattingly to Miami.
According to FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi, Honeycutt will remain in his current position with the Dodgers for the next two seasons. He’s expected to transition into a special assistant role from there. The Dodgers had told their coaches that they were free to explore opportunities elsewhere after parting ways with Mattingly this month.
Honeycutt has been the Dodgers’ pitching coach for the past 10 seasons and has overseen the rise of Clayton Kershaw. The team has gone through three managers during his tenure, including Grady Little, Joe Torre, and Mattingly. The Dodgers are currently looking for Mattingly’s replacement.