Skip Schumaker hired as manager of Marlins

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

MIAMI — Skip Schumaker was a candidate to take over as manager of the Boston Red Sox and New York Mets in recent years, only to see those clubs pick someone else.

The Miami Marlins didn’t let him get away.

Schumaker was hired by the Marlins to become the 16th manager in franchise history after what the team described as “an extensive process.”

“As we continue to grow as an organization, we felt it was important to find an individual who had been a part of a winning culture,” Marlins general manager Kim Ng said. “Having been a member of two championship teams, along with his reputation for tenacity and getting every ounce out of his ability, Skip will be a tremendous example to our players. His leadership style, teaching skills and attention to detail made him the clear choice as the club’s new manager.”

Schumaker – who played for World Series-winning clubs in St. Louis in 2006 and 2011 – comes to Miami from the Cardinals, with whom he spent this season as the bench coach. Schumaker had been a first-base coach and associate manager for San Diego from 2018 through 2021, then joined the Cardinals’ staff.

“Skip has a long list of distinguished accomplishments as both a player and a coach that showcase the remarkable individual he is as well as the high level of credibility and leadership he will bring to the dugout and the Marlins organization,” Marlins owner Bruce Sherman said. “He has an incredible passion and winning spirit that will set the course for the Marlins franchise.”

The 42-year-old Schumaker takes over for Don Mattingly, who managed the Marlins for seven seasons. Mattingly went 443-587 with Miami, winning the NL Manager of the Year award after leading the Marlins to the playoffs in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season.

Mattingly’s contract expired when this season ended, and he and the Marlins’ front office agreed it would be best for both sides not to enter into a new deal.

The Marlins went 69-93 this season, the 12th time they finished with a losing record in the last 13 years. The exception was 2020, when they went 31-29.

The 2022 season for the Marlins started with a bit of a shocker: In February, Hall of Famer Derek Jeter – who had been Miami’s CEO, the first Black person in baseball history to hold that role with a franchise – announced a surprise departure after 4 1/2 mostly unsuccessful years that didn’t come remotely close to matching his success as a player for the New York Yankees.

Now Mattingly, like Jeter a former Yankees captain, departs and Schumaker takes over to lead the next rebuilding effort in Miami. Schumaker inherits a club that has a Cy Young Award hopeful in All-Star ace Sandy Alcantara (14-9, 2.28 this season in an MLB-best 228 2/3 innings). But the Marlins struggled mightily at the plate – their .230 team average ranked 27th out of 30 MLB clubs, and the team was 28th in runs scored.

“I’m very excited and grateful that Bruce, Kim, and the Marlins organization have given me an opportunity to manage a very talented team,” Schumaker said. “Delivering a winning, sustainable culture with the expectation of getting into the postseason is the next step for this organization and South Florida – and I can’t wait to get started.”

The Marlins are the second team to change managers since the regular season ended. Texas hired veteran Bruce Bochy as its skipper last week, and now there are two openings left – Kansas City and the Chicago White Sox.

The NL champion Philadelphia Phillies made a managerial move of sorts, taking the interim tag off Rob Thomson. That move came two days after the Phillies swept St. Louis 2-0 in a wild-card series, which wound up as Schumaker’s farewell with the Cardinals. Also, Toronto reached a three-year deal with John Schneider, who had been the Blue Jays’ interim manager.

Schumaker played in the majors for 11 seasons, mostly with the Cardinals, and now gets his first managerial opportunity with Miami – which shares a spring training complex in Jupiter, Florida, with St. Louis.

Schumaker was a starter for the Cardinals team that won the 2011 World Series. The California native batted .278 in 1,149 games while primarily playing second base and the outfield. He retired in March 2016 while in camp with the Padres on a minor league deal.

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

Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

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.