Cuban defector Jose Abreu has been been declared a free agent by Major League Baseball and is now able to sign with a team. In the next few days he will take part in two different showcases in the Dominican Republic, one of which will be at the Yankees' complex.
Orioles general manager Dan Duquette met with Scott Boras and some of his clients, namely Chris Davis, Matt Wieters, Wei-Yin Chen, Francisco Rodriguez, and Zach Britton. If the O's are exploring extensions for some of their best talent, it looks like they'll be able to compete over the next couple seasons. With the problems that the Yankees have been facing and could be facing in the future, that's not good for their chances of making the playoffs. They're also tendering Jim Johnson a contract, so maybe it will all even out in the end.
San Francisco Giants
The Giants have reached an extension with Hunter Pence that will pay his $90 million over five years. He had a career year in 2013, accumulating a 5.3 WAR with a 132 wRC+. A September where he had a 196 wRC+ must have pushed the Giants over the edge to convince them to re-sign him.
This deal will likely raise the contracts of Shin-Soo Choo and Jacoby Ellsbury into the $100 million+ range. Choo put up his best WAR (5.4) since 2010 when he accumulated 5.9 with the Indians. Scott Boras has already stated that he is looking for a contract above the $100 million mark, so this will likely make him happy. Ellsbury had a resurgent season, accumulating a 5.7 WAR, though that is mostly from his defense. Since his 150 wRC+ 2011 season, he's been an average hitter. Whoever signs him to a big deal is eventually going to be disappointed.
The Giants are now entering into extension talks with Tim Lincecum. Next year will be his age-30 season and the right-hander has fallen off a cliff since 2011. Over the last two seasons he has a 4.76 ERA and a 3.95 FIP, so any extension is going to be much more team friendly than the former two-time Cy Young winner expected just a few years ago. An extension will take a potential Yankee starter off the board and the team will have to look elsewhere.
General Manager Brian Sabean has described his team as a "longshot" in terms of signing international talent like Jose Abreu and Misahiro Tanaka. One more team out of the race can only help the Yankees in acquiring either of these players for 2014.
Cliff Lee says he is ready to retire in 2016. He's getting to the point where he's ready to shut it down and that could be the perfect time for him to do so. He says he could change his mind by then, but right now he's ready to step away. In his age-37 season the Phillies hold a $27.5 million vesting option with a $12.5 million buyout for the 2016 season. Either way, Lee would be walking away from a lot of money.
Conversely, Eric Wedge has decided not to return to the Mariners in 2014. The Mariners were prepared to extend him for next season, but he instead opted to end his employment with the team.
They have decided to extend their general manager, Jack Zduriencik, for another season. Since 2009, Zduriencik has put some dismal teams on the field and it doesn't look like the organization has improved much in the five seasons he's been in charge.
He's made mistakes when it comes to trades: The Cliff Lee-Justin Smoak trade and the Jesus Montero-Michael Pineda trade were some of the worst. he made and top prospects like Smoak and Dustin Ackley have looked like busts. This season he even refused to trade productive players like Raul Ibanez, Kendrys Morales, and Michael Morse before the trade deadline, likely in order to secure a better team record in an effort to save his job. He even signed Jason Bay as a start this season and he was terrible. I guess that's good for the Yankees because now they still don't have to worry about the Mariners.
Jeffrey Loria has fired his President of Baseball Operations Larry Beinfest after a rift between him and Vice President of Player Personnel Dan Jennings grew to an inexcusable degree. Jennings will now be Loria's top executive while GM Michael Hill and President David Samson are likely to stay in place. Loria has decided to become more involved in the operation of the Miami Marlins this season, so more changes could come. While the front office did a great job of bringing in talent during their offseason fire sale, past successes aren't likely to save your job for very long under Loria.
#Marlins promote Mike Hill to president of baseball operations; Dan Jennings becomes G.M.— clarkspencer (@clarkspencer) September 29, 2013
For those wondering, it seems the Marlins strategy for 2014 will be to build around Giancarlo Stanton, rather than trade him. We'll see.
New York Mets
The Mets have extended Terry Collins to a two year deal. The details will be released on Monday via press conference. Despite the Mets' continued struggles, Collins has essentially escaped blame and has been viewed as a good manager for a team ready to bring up all their young talent. By the end of the deal, he'll have been managing the team for five seasons.