Wanna see how Mike Matheny figures out each night’s lineup?

Ralph Freso/Getty Images
16 Comments

MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch provided some interesting reporting on Monday, investigating how Cardinals manager Mike Matheny decides on his lineup for each game. It’s really rather fascinating.

To sum up the process: Matheny created a rough draft of Sunday’s lineup against the Dodgers before the series began on Friday. He watches video of Sunday’s starter Alex Wood, then decides if anyone would have a particularly favorable match-up. Matheny then asks for freedback from the Cardinals’ baseball operations staff. He’ll create his first real iteration of the lineup before sending it to his coaching staff for input. Individual performances in the first two games of the series on Friday and Saturday led to some alterations of Sunday’s lineup. By the time he leaves the stadium on Saturday, Matheny had three potential lineups, but he finally decided on one and texted it to his team.

Over the course of a season, optimal lineup construction only amounts to a handful more runs than a sub-optimal lineup, so Matheny is, in reality, spending a lot of time on something that matters little on paper. However, there is something to be said for having a process that doesn’t just favor seniority, which is typically how lineups have been constructed. Matheny’s willingness to solicit outside opinions from both his coaching staff and the baseball operations department shows open-mindedness, another trait that hasn’t been typical of managers in the past.

Free agent slugger José Abreu signs 3-year, $58.5M deal with Astros

Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
0 Comments

HOUSTON — Jose Abreu and the World Series champion Astros agreed to a three-year, $58.5 million contract, adding another powerful bat to Houston’s lineup.

Abreu, the 2020 AL MVP, gets $19.5 million in each of the next three seasons.

He spent his first nine major league seasons with the Chicago White Sox. The first baseman became a free agent after batting .304 with 15 home runs, 75 RBIs and an .824 OPS this year.

With the Astros, he replaces Yuli Gurriel at first base in a batting order that also features All-Star sluggers Yordan Alvarez, Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman and Kyle Tucker.

Gurriel became a free agent after Houston defeated the Philadelphia Phillies this month for its second World Series championship.

The 35-year-old Abreu becomes the biggest free agent to switch teams so far this offseason. Born in Cuba, the three-time All-Star and 2014 AL Rookie of the Year is a .292 career hitter in the majors with 243 homers, 863 RBIs and an .860 OPS.

The Astros announced the signing. Abreu was scheduled to be introduced in a news conference at Minute Maid Park.

He would get a $200,000 for winning an MVP award, $175,000 for finishing second in the voting, $150,000 for third, $125,000 for fourth and $100,000 for fifth. Abreu also would get $100,000 for earning World Series MVP and $75,000 for League Championship Series MVP, $75,000 for making the All-Star team and $75,000 for winning a Gold Glove or a Silver Slugger.

Abreu gets a hotel suite on road trips and the right to buy a luxury suite for all Astros home games.