I haven’t done this in a little while, and while the baseball world has largely shut down until the end of the World Series there is a bit to catch up on.
Rocco Baldelli hired as Twins manager
The Twins are the latest team to hire a new manager, and they’ve brought in an old friend to do the job. Rocco Baldelli is obviously known for his days with the Rays, which makes sense because he spent six of his seven major-league seasons with Tampa Bay. He also looked like one of the more exciting up-and-coming players before injury derailed his career. The Rhode Island native did spend the 2009 season with Boston, however, and despite being a division rival he was always a likable opponent. Since he retired, he’s been all around the Rays organization. He spent time as a roaming minor-league instructor, an assistant in the baseball operations department and as a first base coach. Now, he’s getting the ultimate promotion to the top of the Twins coaching staff. Minnesota announced the hiring on Thursday. Minnesota is a sneaky exciting coaching opportunity with a lot of high-ceiling (and low-floor, to be fair) players that is only one year removed from a wildcard berth.
Blue Jays hire Charlie Montoyo as manager
The Twins weren’t the only team to hire a new leader on Thursday. The Blue Jays, who let John Gibbons go after the season, also brought in a former Rays coach to head up their dugout. Toronto hired Charlie Montoyo as their new manager on Thursday. Montoyo has taken a more traditional route to this managerial role, spending a long time in a lot of different coaching roles with the Rays, including managing all over the minor-league system. It’s really interesting, though not undeserved or unsurprising, that Kevin Cash is starting to grow a managing tree.
Eduardo Escobar re-signs in Arizona
This is an older bit of news and one that doesn’t really affect the Red Sox in the way that two American League teams — including one American League East team — hiring new managers does, but it’s something. Before even getting a chance to test the open market, Eduardo Escobar decided to re-up in Arizona on a three-year, $21 million contract. That seems.....crazy-low to me. It’s true that Escobar was more of a league-average hitter before 2018, but he is entering his age-30 season as a versatile infielder coming off a big year at the plate. That he didn’t even test the open market tells me that we could very well expect a similarly disappointing offseason for players as last season. Now, the studs like Manny Machado and Bryce Harper are going to get theirs, but the lower tiers of free agents may be disappointed, and that could push us closer to the labor strife that was hinted at last winter. Obviously, I hope I’m wrong here.
An Arizona Fall League Update
I wanted to do this more often on its own, but the Red Sox being in the World Series has occupied most of my free time. Imagine that. Anyway, prospects are still chugging along down in Arizona and that includes a big group of Red Sox prospects. There are four big ones for Boston in Arizona. Bobby Dalbec is having the best offensive stint in the desert, posting an .859 OPS. He has had some swing-and-miss issues though. On the mound, Darwinzon Hernandez and Mike Shawaryn have both looked good in short stints with low ERA’s and over a strikeout per inning. Hernandez in particular has been dominant with 16 strikeouts in eight innings of work. The big negative for Boston in Arizona has been Josh Ockimey, who has five hits (all singles) in eight games with just one walk.