Report: A's made top offer to Scutaro

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FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal tweets that the A’s offered Marco Scutaro a better deal than the Red Sox did before the veteran opted to sign with Boston.
Scutaro was guaranteed $12.5 million as part a two-year deal with a mutual option for 2012 with the Red Sox. The A’s guaranteed the full three years, but Scutaro preferred the chance to win a World Series with the Red Sox.
The news came as something of a surprise, given Billy Beane’s statements last month that suggested the A’s would largely remove themselves from the free agent market. Scutaro could have played either third or shortstop for the A’s, depending on how Eric Chavez looked in spring training. The A’s have expressed confidence in Cliff Pennington’s ability to start at short, but it’s still possible that he’ll end up as a long-term utilityman for the club.
Scutaro is, of course, familiar with Oakland. The club gave him his big break in 2004, and he hit .262/.321/.387 in four seasons with the A’s. With his salary on the rise, he was traded to Toronto for pitching prospect Graham Godfrey and Kristian Bell two years ago.
With Scutaro out of the picture, one wonders if the A’s will now look to bring back another one of their former infielders. Miguel Tejada remains a free agent, and unlike Scutaro, he wouldn’t cost the team a draft pick.

Report: Mets interview Dave Littlefield to fill GM vacancy

AP Photo/Kathy Willens
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Marc Carig of The Athletic reports that the Mets have interviewed Dave Littlefield to fill the club’s GM vacancy. The position hasn’t exactly been a popular one for potential candidates, with many preemptively taking their name out of consideration.

Littlefield, 58, was the Pirates’ GM between 2001-07. It didn’t exactly go well. The club never won more than 75 games during his tenure. Littlefield was also infamous for the 2003 Rule 5 draft in which he carelessly left several valuable players unprotected, including Chris Shelton and José Bautista. Littlefield was also criticized for trades he made (e.g. Aramis Ramírez) and for trades he didn’t make (e.g. Kris Benson for Ryan Howard).

In the time since, Littlefield worked as a scout for the Cubs, then for the Tigers. Since 2015, he has worked as the vice president of player development for the Tigers. Littlefield’s successor, Neal Huntington, went on to have more success which didn’t help Littlefield’s cause any. Huntington was also comparatively much more open to analytics.

The Mets’ interest in Littlefield isn’t surprising. There are plenty of up-and-coming GM candidates — like Ben Cherington — the Mets could target, but Fred Wilpon (pictured above) want that. They want someone malleable who will adhere to payroll constrictions. Mets ownership’s involvement is an issue for the younger, analytics-oriented executives, Matt Ehalt of The Record reported earlier this month. Ehalt wrote, “There are rumblings that several candidates with progressive, analytics-oriented approaches do not believe they will be able to operate as they please should they take the Mets job, according to a source. That hesitation played a factor in why former Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington bowed out of the mix, per the source.”

You have to feel bad for Mets fans, who seem relegated to having to root for a middling ballclub once again. And you have to feel bad for the likes of Brandon Nimmo, Jacob deGrom, and Noah Syndergaard, who will once again have to perform for a team that doesn’t have competing as its chief priority.