- The Dodgers recalled southpaw Andrew Vasquez and optioned outfielder Luke Raley, the team announced. Vasquez has made just two appearances for the Dodgers this season, tossing 1 2/3 scoreless innings after being acquired from the Twins at the August 31 deadline to trade players not on the 40-man roster. Raley has a .182/.250/.288 line in 72 plate appearances.
Greene, 32, sat out until May this season before returning to the Braves on a one-year deal. The Atlanta reunion didn’t go well, however, as the former setup man struggled to the tune of 16 runs allowed in 17 innings (8.47 ERA) before being cut loose. Greene quickly latched on with the Dodgers, and while things went a bit better in nine games, there were still some red flags. Greene allowed only three runs in 6 2/3 innings (4.05 ERA), but he also walked five batters and hit three more.
Command hasn’t typically been a major issue for Greene, who entered the season with a career 8.3 percent walk rate. However, it’s clearly been an Achilles heel this year as he’s walked 12.4 percent of his opponents and plunked 3.5 percent of them. Couple that with the fact that a heater which once averaged 95.9 mph (2017) is now clocking in at a career-low average of 93.1 mph, and it’s perhaps not entirely surprising to see Green struggling at previously unforeseen levels.
The Dodgers will now place Greene on outright waivers or release waivers within the next few days. Greene has the service time to reject an outright assignment anyhow, so this seems likely to end his time with the club. Given the limited number of days remaining on the regular-season calendar, it could also spell the end of Greene’s 2021 season. He’ll be a free agent again this offseason and perhaps look for an earlier deal so as to allow himself a full Spring Training this time around. He’ll likely have to settle for a minor league pact, but given Greene’s track record, there should be several clubs willing to take that flier on him.
The Dodgers announced they’ve placed outfielder Cody Bellinger on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to September 18, due to a left rib fracture. Luke Raley has been recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City to take his place on the active roster. In better news, manager Dave Roberts told reporters (including Fabian Ardaya of the Athletic) the club anticipates reinstating fellow outfielder AJ Pollock from the IL before Thursday’s game against the Rockies.
While Bellinger’s rib fracture diagnosis sounds alarming, it doesn’t seem the club expects him to miss too much time. He hasn’t played since last Friday, but he was in tonight’s initial starting lineup before being scratched because of continued soreness. That setback will keep him out of action for at least the next week, but it’s seemingly possible he’ll be back on the field before the regular season is through.
The injury is the latest development in a season that has been an unequivocal disaster for Bellinger. He’d already been on the IL twice this season with leg issues, and he hasn’t produced anywhere near his capabilities even when healthy enough to play. Over 337 plate appearances, Bellinger is hitting .159/.237/.291 with just nine home runs. He’s striking out at an alarming 26.1% rate and has managed just a .188 batting average on balls in play. Of the 242 hitters with 300+ plate appearances, only Jackie Bradley Jr. has a worse park-adjusted hitting line than Bellinger by measure of wRC+.
It’s been a shockingly poor season for the 26-year-old, who’s just two years removed from winning National League MVP honors. Bellinger couldn’t replicate that year’s massive .305/.406/.629 showing in last season’s truncated schedule, but his .239/.333/.455 mark in 2020 was still far better than this year’s performance.
Bellinger’s massive struggles set the stage for some interesting decisions for the Dodgers’ front office. Assuming he’s able to make it back from his injury in time for the postseason, they’ll need to decide whether to carry him on the playoff roster. That still seems likely, given his left-handed pop and continued plus defense in center field. But it could be difficult to find a ton of playing time for Bellinger on a loaded Los Angeles roster this postseason.
The front office’s confidence in a Bellinger bounceback will also be gauged this winter. Last offseason, he and the Dodgers agreed to a $16.1MM deal to avoid arbitration. He’s slated to go through that process twice more and will likely be due a small raise next winter. (Arbitration salaries are designed to escalate year-over-year, so Bellinger’s salary wouldn’t decline even in spite of his poor performance). At his best, Bellinger’s obviously worth far more than even that significant tally. But he’s a .192/.278/.359 hitter over 580 trips to the plate in the past two seasons, and the Dodgers certainly wouldn’t want to commit that level of outlay if they believe that to be more reflective of his current talent level than his 2017-19 peak is.
A Bellinger non-tender or trade still seems unlikely, given the Dodgers’ immense spending levels and his not too distant MVP season. But the Dodgers should still have plenty of outfield options in coming years, even if Chris Taylor departs in free agency. Mookie Betts is obviously set to play everyday, and Pollock now looks likely to be back next season because of the injury from which he’s now returning.
Pollock’s free agent deal with the Dodgers contained a vesting option that could’ve allowed him to opt out at the end of this season. To do so, he’d have needed to tally 1000 plate appearances between 2020 and 2021. For vesting option purposes, last season’s tallies were multiplied by 2.7 to prorate them over the course of a full season. Pollock picked up 210 plate appearances last year, translating to 567 after prorating. That left him in need of 433 trips to the plate this season to pick up the right to test free agency.
A few weeks ago, Pollock looked well on his way to reaching that threshold. The 33-year-old suffered a hamstring strain on September 4, though, keeping him out for almost three full weeks. He’s been stuck on 386 plate appearances since suffering that injury, meaning he needs 47 more over the course of the season to trigger the potential opt out. By Thursday, the Dodgers will have just ten games remaining in the regular season. Pollock would need to play in all ten and average 4.7 plate appearances per game to reach the option threshold (assuming he and the team haven’t modified the clause in the wake of his recent injury). While not completely impossible, it seems unlikely he’d get that much playing time over the season’s final week and a half.
That’d guarantee Pollock returns next season on a $10MM salary, an eminently affordable price for the Dodgers given his quality production. While the former Diamondback’s tenure in L.A. started slow, he’s been very effective over the past couple seasons. Going back to the beginning of 2020, Pollock is hitting .289/.339/.529 with 32 homers and 34 doubles in essentially the equivalent of one full season’s worth of playing time. He’d come out of this year’s All-Star Break scorching hot, with a .329/.379/.497 showing in the second half before his injury.
Pollock’s forthcoming return will be a welcome addition to a Dodger team hoping to avoid the Wild Card game. They’ve continued to hover just behind the league-best Giants in the NL West, entering play tonight one game back. Los Angeles closes out their season with series against the Rockies, Diamondbacks, Padres and Brewers, while the Giants will take on San Diego, Colorado and Arizona before facing the Padres again to close out the season.
Scott Alexander won’t be returning this season, per Jorge Castillo of the LA Times (via Twitter). Alexander has been out since July 20 because of shoulder inflammation. The southpaw has been a reliable presence out of the Dodgers pen for the past four seasons, tossing 111 innings with a 3.49 ERA/4.24 FIP over that span.
Tommy Kahnle is also done for the year, per Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register. Kahnle has been recovering from Tommy John surgery, and there was some thought that he might be well enough to return this season, but that’s no longer the case. Of course, the Dodgers signed him to a two-year deal with this possibility fully in mind. The plan remains to get him healthy and ready for the start of 2022.
Cody Bellinger’s season soldiers on, though it’s hardly gone as planned. Beyond the almost comically disastrous .159/.237/.291 triple slash line, Bellinger has struggled to stay healthy going all the way back to last year’s World Series. He’s now dealing with a non-displaced rib fracture, suffered in an outfield collision with converted infielder Gavin Lux, per The Athletic’s Fabian Ardaya. He missed 53 days earlier this season with a fractured fibula and a little more than a week with a hamstring strain.
Bellinger appears likely to play through this injury and avoid another stint on the injured list, though given that he’s hitting just .073/.174/.122 in September, a bit of rest might be preferable for the Dodgers. Chris Taylor is certainly capable of handling centerfield in the short term, though Taylor himself has been banged up of late.
Besides, the fact that Lux was playing left field at all speaks to where the Dodgers are at right now in terms in their available outfielders. And for all his struggles at the plate, Bellinger is a viable defensive centerfielder, putting up 3.0 OAA, -2 DRS, and 1.2 UZR.
Much ink has already been spilled, or pixels illuminated, about the upcoming offseason and the superclass of shortstops. Even though the Mets extended Francisco Lindor and took one of the most intriguing names out of the pool, it’s still going to feature such marquee names as Carlos Correa, Corey Seager, Trevor Story, Javier Baez and Marcus Semien. But there’s one name that’s also on the list that is sometimes overlooked. If you’ve read the headline to this piece, then you already know I’m talking about Chris Taylor.
Perhaps the reason Taylor doesn’t quite fit in with the rest of that group is that he’s not exactly an everyday shortstop like the rest of them. (Semien has been playing mostly second base this year, but only because of the presence of Bo Bichette next to him. He could very easily return to shortstop duty with a new club next season.) Taylor is more of a utility guy who is capable of playing some shortstop, if needed. He’s appeared at the position in each of the past eight seasons, but never more than 81 games. Also, he reached that number back in 2018. In 2019, that number dropped to 39. In the shortened 2020 season, it was 20 games, exactly one third of the 60-game reduced schedule. This year, it’s only been 22 games so far. The fact that he’s not considered an everyday option is at least somewhat borne out by statistics. To give one example, of the 46 players to log at least 1000 innings at shortstop over the past five years, Taylor’s UZR/150 of -7.5 ranks 43rd, in the vicinity of guys who don’t play at short much anymore, such as Aledmys Diaz and Manny Machado.
Still, even though he’s not an everyday option, he has versatility, which is something teams love. Taylor has also played second base, third base and all three outfield positions this year, meaning that he could conceivably be plugged into the lineup of any team in the league and move around to their area of greatest need. That could potentially give him tremendous leverage in free agency this winter, just as it did for Ben Zobrist six years ago. Zobrist was able to use that vast market to net himself a four-year, $56MM contract with the Cubs in December of 2015. Could Chris Taylor get something like that? Well, let’s compare.
For starters, Taylor will have a distinct advantage over Zobrist in one category: age. Zobrist was set to turn 35 in May of 2016, shortly after making his Cubs debut. Taylor just turned 31 two weeks ago. Taylor will be 3 1/2 years younger while on the market this winter than Zobrist was back in 2015, meaning a team could potentially be willing to put an even longer contract in front of Taylor.
Secondly, in terms of defense, although Zobrist had shortstop experience, he didn’t play there in 2015. Then he only logged 15 innings at shortstop over the course of his time with the Cubs. Clearly, the club wasn’t expecting him to provide significant time there. Nor was he an option in center field. His last action there was seven games for the Rays in 2014. Taylor, on the other hand, has played 56 games in center this season and 181 over the past five years. Although much was made of Zobrist’s versatility, he was primarily a second baseman and corner outfielder by the time he signed with the Cubs. Due to Taylor’s ability to play almost everywhere, including premium positions like shortstop and center field, he brings more versatility to the table than Zobrist did at that time.
That’s age and defense, but what about the bat? Since becoming an everyday player in 2017, Taylor has played in 610 games and logged 2,349 plate appearances over those five seasons. His line in that time is .266/.344/.464, which amounts to a wRC+ of 118. In the five years leading up to Zobrist’s contract, he played 742 games and logged 3,229 plate appearances, with a line of .272/.359/.437, wRC+ of 124. Zobrist has the higher batting average but Taylor has more power and ends up with fairly similar production overall.
That’s being a bit unfair to Zobrist because it leaves out his monster 2009 season wherein he hit .297/.405/.543 for a wRC+ of 152 and produced 8.7 fWAR. However, that was a distant memory by the time the Cubs signed Zobrist heading into the 2016 season. You don’t sign a player who’s about to turn 35 based on what he did when he was 28. However, by the same token, one could argue that we shouldn’t be including Taylor’s excellent 2017 season because he was 26 then but is 31 now. If we shrink the sample down to the three years before free agency, Zobrist’s line is .274/.356/413, wRC+ of 117, whereas Taylor’s line is .262/.345/.459, wRC+ of 117.
Okay, so, Taylor is like a younger and more versatile version of 2015-2016 Zobrist, and very similar with the bat. One major unknown at the moment, though, is what kind of momentum he will bring into the offseason. One thing I’ve failed to mention thus far is that Zobrist entered free agency on the heels of an excellent playoff performance, having just helped the Royals win the 2015 World Series. In that postseason, Zobrist played in 16 games, garnering 75 plate appearances, producing a line of .303/.365/.515, wRC+ of 133.
Taylor is in the opposite position right now, slumping terribly over the past month. Since August 13th, he’s hitting .136/.217/.272, wRC+ of 34. It seems this slide could at least be somewhat chalked up to a neck injury that has kept Taylor out of action for almost a week now. But the Dodgers haven’t placed him on the injured list, which suggests they don’t think it’s terribly serious. Teams are surely able to overlook a small, injury-caused slump amidst a solid five-year run of success. Though it would certainly help Taylor’s earning power if he could prove that’s all it is by getting back to being healthy and productive. The window for him to do that is getting narrow, however, since there’s just over two weeks remaining in the regular season. The Dodgers have already clinched a playoff berth of some kind, but they’re 1 1/2 games behind the Giants in the race for the NL West crown, meaning they’re guaranteed only one postseason game.
Another wrinkle is the qualifying offer. Zobrist was traded mid-season in 2015, making him ineligible for it. Taylor, on the other hand, will most likely receive one, assuming his long-term health outlook is okay. That means that any team signing him would have to forfeit their second-highest draft pick, or third-highest, if they are a revenue-sharing recipient. That would certainly dampen his market somewhat.
Taking all of that into account, where does that leave us? Zobrist got four years, $56MM, which is an average annual value of $14MM. Taylor will be more versatile and almost as good at the plate. Bake in a few years of inflation and Taylor could aim for a few extra million per year. Because of his age, and assuming no lingering questions about his health, maybe he gets five years instead of four. So, does some team go to five years, $80MM? That certainly feels high, especially given that DJ LeMahieu just got $90MM from the Yankees before this season. (LeMahieu is also older and less versatile than Taylor but was coming off a tremendous two-year stretch at the plate.)
Perhaps the qualifying offer knocks that down some and Taylor actually can’t quite get to Zobrist levels. Maybe this is a bit too optimistic in Taylor’s favor. Still, despite his recent slump, Taylor’s wRC+ is currently sitting at 118 for the season. Baez is at 121. Trevor Story is at 99. Taylor might not be as much of a household name as those two, but his earning power might be closer to them than you think.
The Dodgers announced they’ve activated Clayton Kershaw from the 60-day injured list to start this evening’s game against the Diamondbacks. To open active and 40-man roster space, outfielder Steven Souza Jr. has been designated for assignment.
Kershaw has been on the IL since July 7 due to inflammation in his throwing elbow. The three-time Cy Young award winner now returns after a couple months away in hopes of helping the team erase a two and a half game deficit in the NL West. With eighteen games remaining on the schedule, Los Angeles can probably expect three or four starts from Kershaw down the stretch.
The 33-year-old only made one minor league rehab appearance, tossing 49 pitches over three innings with Triple-A Oklahoma City last Tuesday. He’s probably not quite ready to work a traditional starter’s workload, although it wouldn’t be a surprise if manager Dave Roberts lets Kershaw get into the middle innings tonight against Arizona.
Kershaw’s no longer the undisputed best pitcher in baseball, as he was at his peak, but he’s still among the game’s most effective hurlers. Over 106 1/3 innings, the veteran southpaw has a 3.39 ERA with continued elite strikeout and walk rates (30.1% and 4.5%, respectively). Incredibly, that 3.39 mark is Kershaw’s highest single-season ERA since his 4.26 figure as a rookie way back in 2008.
Trade deadline acquisition Max Scherzer has been even more spectacular than usual since joining L.A. He’d pair with Cy Young candidate Walker Buehler, Kershaw and Julio Urías in what would be an extremely daunting postseason rotation. Of course, that firepower is only relevant if the Dodgers make it to an NL Division Series — either by catching the Giants for the division crown or winning a Wild Card game.
Souza is bumped from the roster just six days after being called up. It was the second promotion of the season for Souza, whose previous stay was also brief. Altogether, the veteran outfielder has tallied just 36 plate appearances at the big league level this season. He’s performed well with Oklahoma City, hitting .247/.387/.507 with nine homers in 186 trips to the plate.
It has been a tumultuous few seasons for Souza, who hasn’t been able to recapture the peak form he showed with the 2017 Rays. He scuffled in 2018 upon being traded to the Diamondbacks, then missed all of 2019 after suffering a severe knee injury in Spring Training. The 32-year-old has made it back to the bigs in each of the last two seasons but hasn’t gotten much playing time.
The Dodgers will place Souza on outright or release waivers in the coming days. If he passes through unclaimed, he’d have the right to elect free agency. Souza cleared waivers in July and decided to test the open market, although he rejoined the Dodgers on a minor league deal relatively shortly thereafter.
Left-hander Danny Duffy suffered a setback while throwing a bullpen session on Friday, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts told The Los Angeles Times’ Mike DiGiovanna (Twitter links) and other reporters. The setback is related to Duffy’s left elbow, which is a particularly ominous sign considering that a flexor strain has kept Duffy from pitching since July 16.
As a result, the Dodgers have shut Duffy down from throwing. According to Roberts, “it doesn’t look great” that Duffy will pitch again in 2021: “Outside of any type of miracle, for him to impact us this year, it’s going to be tough.”
Despite Duffy’s injury, the Dodgers still acquired the southpaw from the Royals in a trade on July 29. The thought at the time was that Duffy would be able to pitch by mid-to-late August, though Duffy’s move to the 60-day injured list on August 9 pushed that timetable back to September 18 (based on Duffy’s initial IL placement when he was still a Royal).
This is Duffy’s second IL trip due to a flexor strain this season, with his first absence lasting close to five weeks. It was already looking like Duffy might be used as a multi-inning reliever rather than as a starter for Los Angeles, given the lack of time remaining to get Duffy’s arm strength fully ramped up for starting work. Even if Duffy get healthy enough to resume throwing and the Dodgers did extend their season with a lengthy run into the postseason, it would seem far-fetched that L.A. would devote a postseason roster spot to a pitcher coming off such a long absence.
Since Duffy’s contract is up after the season, it is quite possible his Los Angeles tenure will end without an official pitch thrown in Dodger Blue. Duffy had control over his trade deadline destiny due to his 10-and-5 rights, and the Southern California native chose to accept a deal to return close to home and chase another World Series ring. The Dodgers only gave up a player to be named later in exchange for Duffy (the Royals kicked in money to cover the approximate $5.4MM remaining in the lefty’s 2021 salary), so the trade ultimately goes down as something of a missed opportunity, rather than a true misfire on the Dodgers’ part.
These elbow injuries will also very likely have an impact on Duffy’s free agent market, particularly if he has to eventually undergo some kind of procedure to correct his elbow issues. Between the injuries, Duffy had a 2.51 ERA over 61 innings with the Royals this season, though his advanced metrics weren’t impressive.
TODAY: Feliz cleared waivers and has been outrighted to Triple-A, according to Oklahoma City Dodgers communications director Alex Freeman (Twitter link).
SEPT. 9: The Dodgers have designated right-hander Neftali Feliz for assignment and reinstated fellow righty Tony Gonsolin from the 10-day injured list, per a team announcement. They’ve also optioned Mitch White to Triple-A and recalled right-hander Andre Jackson.
Feliz, 33, appeared in three games with the Dodgers and tossed three shutout innings, yielding just one hit without a walk and with one strikeout. His initial stay with the Dodgers will prove to be short, however, as is often the case with depth options the Dodgers summon from Triple-A. He’ll be placed on outright waivers or released in the next couple of days, though it stands to reason that the Dodgers would hope to retain him and at least attempt the outright route.
It’s been a dominant season for Feliz in the minors, as the 2010 American League Rookie of the Year has turned in a combined 2.13 ERA with a 40.1 percent strikeout rate and a 9.2 percent walk rate in 38 innings between the top affiliates for the Dodgers and the Phillies. Feliz was hit hard in a pair of appearances with the Phillies and quickly cut loose, at which point he latched on with the Dodgers. It’s possible that another club could claim Feliz, based on those dominant minor league numbers, but he’s a free agent at season’s end and would be ineligible for a new club’s postseason roster. Both of those factors should help the Dodgers’ chances of passing him through waivers.
Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association have agreed to extend the administrative leave of Dodgers right-hander Trevor Bauer through the end of the World Series, reports ESPN’s Jeff Passan (Twitter thread). MLB Network’s Jon Heyman suggested earlier this morning that Bauer’s leave was likely to be extended through season’s end.
The agreement between the league and the players’ union does not come in the wake of new information and is largely a procedural move. Bauer hasn’t pitched in a game since late June and would’ve been unlikely to have sufficient time to ramp up again even if a resolution in his case appeared near. There’s no indication, however, that a resolution is on the horizon.
A Los Angeles judge recently denied a permanent restraining order to the woman who has accused Bauer of sexually assaulting her, although that was a civic hearing that is separate from the still-ongoing criminal investigation. The judge ruled that Bauer did not pose a future threat to the alleged victim, but that ruling was not a determination of criminal culpability (or lack thereof).
Criminal charges have not yet been filed against Bauer, nor has he been declared guilty or not guilty. The Pasadena Police recently turned over its findings to the Los Angeles County District Attorney, whose office is still reviewing all of the evidence. Notably, Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times tweets that the DA’s office has not yet determined whether criminal charges will formally be filed.
Major League Baseball is in the midst of its own investigation into these allegations as well as a separate set of accusations from an Ohio woman, stemming from an alleged incident last summer. Commissioner Rob Manfred has the ability to suspend Bauer even if criminal charges are not brought forth. Presumably, the league is waiting on the criminal investigation into Bauer to play out before announcing its own decision.
Bauer was originally placed on paid administrative leave back on July 2. It’s not a punitive measure but is instead implemented to allow Major League Baseball to look into incidents that fall under the purview of the Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse policy agreed upon by MLB and the MLBPA. Administrative leave is typically only extended in seven-day increments and must be jointly agreed upon by the league and the union. The two parties have agreed to extend Bauer’s leave each Friday since his original leave was announced, but given the proximity to the end of the regular season and the ongoing nature of investigations, an agreement has now been reached to formally close the book on his 2021 season.
The Mets again find themselves in the midst of an effort to reshape their front office, less than a year after already making sweeping changes under new owner Steve Cohen. Team president Sandy Alderson temporarily assumed oversight of baseball operations last week as the team put acting GM Zack Scott on administrative leave following a DWI arrest, but there’s little expectation Alderson will return to the top of the baseball ops hierarchy on a full-time basis.
MLB Network’s Jon Heyman tweets today that Alderson signed a two-year deal to help Cohen’s ownership transition and front office changes, but he had no desire to return to a full-time baseball operations role. The team’s plan for the 2022 season is to have Alderson return to a broader-reaching team president role without directly running the baseball operations department. A new hire will need to be made, as has already been widely suggested in the wake of Scott’s DWI charge.
Cohen’s Mets were connected to numerous high-profile candidates last year in looking to fill their baseball operations void after parting ways with Brodie Van Wagenen, but several either declined to interview or were denied permission to do so. Teams generally only permit their executives to interview with other clubs if the position is a promotion over their current post. It’s probably not a coincidence that the Rays not only extended general manager Erik Neander but promoted him to president of baseball operations just yesterday; Neander was known to be of interest to the Mets last year.
There’s been quite a bit of recent speculation on Theo Epstein as a candidate. The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale and the New York Post’s Joel Sherman all wrote on the topic within the same 24-hour period. Of course, as Rosenthal pointed out, it was Epstein who originally hired both Scott and Jared Porter — the former Mets GM who was fired a month into his tenure last offseason following revelations of past harassment of a reporter. Both joined the Red Sox under Epstein’s watch, and Epstein brought Porter to Chicago not long after being named Cubs president of baseball operations.
The optics of that aren’t necessarily damning, but a cleaner break from that tree might also be welcome. Furthermore, SNY’s Andy Martino wrote this week that nearly everyone he’s spoken to has strongly downplayed the Epstein rumors. All three Epstein columns also mention the possibility that he’d look to secure a minority stake with any team he joins, and Martino suggests the same: that Epstein is seeking a partial ownership opportunity.
Looking around the league, there aren’t many high-profile executives who’d seem like candidates to depart their current post and take on the spotlight of the Mets’ presidency. Twins GM Thad Levine and Indians GM Mike Chernoff both declined the opportunity to interview last offseason. A’s GM David Forst was reported to be of interest to the Mets (and the Angels), but there’s no indication he ever actually interviewed (or even spoke with) either club.
Heyman somewhat speculatively suggests two other executives whose names have been or could be of interest to the Mets: Dodgers senior vice president of baseball operations Josh Byrnes and Rangers president of baseball operations Jon Daniels. Martino, in similar fashion, listed off three more high-profile execs who’d be making lateral moves and require ownership permission to even interview: Cleveland’s Chris Antonetti, Minnesota’s Derek Falvey and Oakland’s Billy Beane.
Byrnes would make a fairly logical candidate for the Mets to pursue. He’s a high-ranking member of a large-payroll, consistently successful organization, but the Mets’ top baseball ops job would still represent a promotion for him. He’s also served as general manager of both the Padres and the Diamondbacks in the past, so he’s no stranger to running a baseball operations outfit himself. Somewhat coincidentally, Byrnes was the other finalist for the Mets’ GM post back in 2010 when the team ultimately hired Alderson to take over baseball operations.
As for Daniels, he would be making a lateral move, from one president of baseball ops role to another. However, the Rangers also just recently hired Chris Young as their new general manager, and that could be viewed as a means of grooming an eventual heir-apparent for Daniels, who was extended on a contract of still-unreported length back in 2018. Daniels — a Queens native, for what it’s worth — has been running the Rangers’ baseball operations department since being appointed general manager at just 28 years of age in the 2005-06 offseason.
Daniels’ situation bears some similarity to that of Brewers president of baseball operations David Stearns, whose name was recently raised in connection with the Mets by ESPN’s Buster Olney. However, there are also some key differences. As is the case with the Rangers, the Brewers just named a new general manager, Matt Arnold, to serve under Stearns (who is, like Daniels, a New York native). The key difference is that Arnold was promoted to GM from within at a time when the Mets were known to be looking to hire a GM; Young was hired by the Rangers from outside the organization. (Although he also interviewed for the Mets’ job last offseason before joining the Rangers.)
Stearns is also newer to the Brewers’ top job than Daniels is to his own post. His contract extension and promotion are both more recent as well. There’s little reason to think Brewers owner Mark Attanasio would be open to allowing Stearns to depart when he’s still under contract another year and when the Brewers have emerged as one of the best teams in all of baseball. The Brewers denied him permission to interview last offseason, Martino notes.
Suffice it to say, speculation already abounds with regard to the Mets’ front office, and that’s before the team has even truly begun its search for a new baseball operations leader in earnest. These names and a dozen or more others will likely be tied to the Mets in the weeks and months to come, before a hire is ultimately made.