Here are the top stories from today’s Hot Stove action.
–Tigers Acquire Francisco Rodriguez from Brewers
In a not-so-surprising deal, the Milwaukee Brewers parted ways with their closer of five seasons, RHP Francisco Rodriguez, affectionately dubbed “K-Rod”. On the other end of the deal were the Detroit Tigers, who sent a Class A Advanced infielder, Javier Betancourt. The deal makes sense for the Tigers, who’ve struggled in the bullpen for the past few seasons, especially considering Rodriguez’s stellar 2.21 ERA in 57 innings pitched in 2015, with 38 saves. Over his fourteen-year career, Rodriguez has a 2.69 ERA with 386 saves. The Brewers are slated to get a player to be named later, and the Tigers possibly may acquire one as well, according to GM Al Avila, who told MLB.com that there’s a scenario where Detroit “could receive a second player as well”. Rodriguez will make $7.5 million next season, and has a $6 million club option for 2017.
TL;DR: The Tigers get a great closer for a relatively low price.
-There were almost serious discussions Freddie Freeman deal which sent him to the Astros
Continuing the Braves’ crazy fire sale of the past year, which has been capitalized by sending SS Andrelton Simmons to the Angels, an exclamation point could’ve been put on the sequence with a trade of the face of the franchise, 1B Freddie Freeman. The trade would’ve involved five players, and Freeman was apparently a key part of the discussion, according to Ken Rosenthal and Jeff Passan. Talks fell apart, and some hypothesize it’s due to Freeman’s monstrous contract of over $100 million (an extension signed after the Braves’ 2013 season, the last one in which they won over 80 games.) Even though Freeman didn’t leave in that instance, with the current state of the Atlanta Braves and Freeman’s talent, he could easily be wearing another uniform of a team on the brink by opening day.
TL;DR: Freeman stays a Brave… for now.
–The Pirates are listening to inquiries about Neil Walker
After 3B Jung-Ho Kang’s breakout rookie season, there are questions in Pittsburgh about SS Neil Walker, especially with IF/OF Josh Harrison waiting and ready, and even more questions now, as his free agency looms next winter. Naturally, the Pirates are listening to offers. According to Roch Kubato of MASN Sports, the Baltimore Orioles and the Pirates discussed a deal, but nothing came of it. Walker is an above average hitter (career .272 hitter), and posted a .269/.328/.427 (OPS+) line last season with 16 home runs and 71 RBI over 603 plate appearances. However, Roch notes that the belief is that the Pirates would be much happier to part with 3B/1B Pedro Alvarez (positions the Orioles are weak at), but would like young pitching, which the Orioles aren’t eager to give up. Walker is slated to make around $10 million next season, per Roch.
TL;DR: Mainly speculation and inquiries for now, but the Winter Meetings may send Walker to Baltimore.
–The Dodgers’ managerial search is down to two candidates
It’ll either be Gabe Kapler (already in the Dodgers front office) or Dave Roberts (San Diego Padres coach), according to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com. The second interviews are underway and a decision will be made by Friday or Saturday.
–Bud Black and Ron Roenicke will join the Angels
Black will join the Angels in a front office role, and Roenicke will join as the third base coach. A kind of happy ending to Black’s long odyssey that took him from coast to coast.
–Jake Arrieta and Dallas Keuchel took home the Cy Young awards.
Both won 20+ games, while Keuchel (LHP) posted a 2.48 ERA and led the Houston Astros to the playoffs, and Arrieta (RHP) posted a 1.77 ERA and led the Chicago Cubs to the NLCS. There was more question in the NL as many wondered if Zach Greinke of the Los Angeles Dodgers deserved the award more. Arietta won by an extremely slim margin (four votes).