Rounding up front-office shakeups
Baseball's employment rate took a hit this week with the unsurprising firing of embattled Blue Jays GM
A few more firings will likely follow, with hirings to follow the firings. So eventually the news won't be all bad. Here are some of the latest developments ...
• Padres owner
• Baseball lawyer
• Another predictable development: Rockies ownership has decided to offer new contracts to general manager
• Ricciardi's replacement in Toronto,
• Blue Jays people say they talked out the clubhouse issues regarding manager
• The Nationals haven't decided who to name as their permanent manager, but there are indications they are considering retaining interim
• Former Mets and Rangers manager and outgoing Chiba Lotte manager
• If the Marlins do shock folks and fire well-regarded manager
• The Indians, surprised to hear that clear favorite
• Astros owner
• Brewers manager
• Mets manager
• Mets ownership doesn't appear to be making progress in their attempts to dissuade respected longtime scout and executive
• The Mets are leaning toward giving 1986 hero
Now, let's go a little more in-depth on some of these developments ...
In many ways a Valentine-Marlins matchup makes perfect sense. He is a terrific manager who's historically gotten more out of less. And as everyone knows, the Marlins spend less than anyone.
But the thing is, Florida has a manager, Gonzalez, who's doing an excellent job. He was given a two-year extension through 2011 at the start of this year, then led the young, feisty team to an 87-75 record when few folks were expecting them to do that well. It's true Marlins owner
The other thing is, the Marlins don't pay. Valentine turned down chances to manage the Dodgers and Rays for offers in the $1 million range over the past few years. He is leaving his $4 million-a-year job managing the Chiba Lotte Marines for an analyst position at ESPN but would expect to earn a lot closer to the $4 million mark to manage. And the Marlins paid only two of their players --
Loria has indeed been in talks with Valentine for some position, as Valentine's new employer ESPN first reported. And while it couldn't be learned what position Loria and Valentine have been discussing, it's logical to assume it's for the managerial job.
Loria, who is said by people familiar with his thinking to believe the Marlins underachieved this year, wouldn't discuss the matter when reached in New York. Loria said, "I don't really have any comment. I don't talk about rumors, and you know that." People familiar with the Marlins' inner workings say Loria is displeased to be out of the playoffs at the moment, and in no mood to grade on a curve based on the team's sport-low payroll.
Even so, it still seems slightly far-fetched to think Loria will pull the trigger and fire a manager everyone else thinks did a nice job.
San Diego owner Jeff Moorad surprised Towers and a lot of other folks by telling Towers he was firing him. Towers has made the playoffs four times with a small-market club, but Moorad wanted his own man and also wanted a different type. Moorad said by phone that he was looking for someone who was more analytical than intuitive, someone who'd be more "disciplined" and more "strategic." Boston's Jed Hoyer and Oakland's David Forst fit that description and both are extremely well respected.
Moorad denied that there was any negative lingering feelings from their dealings when Moorad was an agent, that he "loves" Towers personally, and says the decision simply was about wanting a different type for the job. The Padres have not drafted especially well in Towers' tenure, but he's usually compensated with excellent scouting at the big-league level and astute low-cost pickups. He leaves the Padres in good financial shape since they have the lowest salary commitment for 2010, at $12 million.
Moorad said he has been looking around for a couple weeks and suggested that he was fairly close to finding Towers' replacement, stating that he expected to have a new GM within two to three weeks. Moorad also said he would not raid his old Diamondbacks team for the new hire. Anyway, the Arizona official he'd most likely be interested in plucking from
The Indians were said by one person familiar with their situation to have been "stunned" by Farrell's decision to remain pitching coach with the Red Sox. Farrell is thought to be paid about $750,000 in his current job, and is said to be appreciative of the pay raise given to him when the Mariners showed interest in hiring him to manage last year.
Farrell has a clause in his contract that prohibits him from leaving to be manage elsewhere. But he didn't even try to test it because he likes his situation in Boston so much. Cleveland is now said to have a long list of names that includes Valentine and their own minor league manager Torey Lovullo. Valentine also may be pricey for the Indians, who are cash-strapped and already committed to about $1.3 million for the fired
Bagwell and Biggio are two names on a rather interesting list the Astros have put together. According to the
• The Angels have made an offer to try to keep
• The Mariners should have the money to lock up
• Griffey looked emotional after the Mariners' finale, leading to speculation he may hang it up. But some close to him expect him to try to play.
• It surprised a lot of folks when Orioles GM
• The Dodgers were said to be somewhat disappointed in
• There are some in that organization who are quite disappointed in
• The Twins deserve credit for coming back to tie the Tigers from seven down and without
• Another reason to love
• Mets higher-ups have been meeting almost daily, and the sense is that they will keep their payroll in the range of $140-150 million for next year. They implied as much in letters to ticket holders they are trying to retain after their disastrous year.
• While congratulating the Padres, A's and Royals for playing hard until the end recently, I neglected to mention the Reds, who did the same.
• Some took me to task for not including
• The Rangers were shortchanged on the list, as their deals for several cost-efficient players, such as reliever
• The White Sox's deal for
• The Rangers are expected to go for about $500 million, which isn't bad in a football town.
• Major League Baseball is going to wind up drawing 73.4 million fans this year, a very modest six-percent decrease considering the poor economy.
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