Released LHP Steve Cooke. [9/30]
Claimed LHP Eddie Priest off waivers from the Indians. [10/1]
Four months after Jim Bowden sends Priest off to Cleveland for
Rick Krivda, he grabs him back. Priest still isn’t a great
prospect, and Krivda had a painful year in Cincinnati, but this
was a nice little move by the Reds to get something for
Fired manager Don Baylor. [9/28]
Named Jim Leyland manager. [10/5]
Baylor was the first manager to be axed in the postseason, and
it wasn’t a particularly bad move on the part of the Rockies.
Baylor was inordinately fond of one-run tactics for a manager
of a team playing on Planet Coors, and he worked his bullpens
really, really hard. That said, the Rockies have a rapidly-
emerging organizational problem, and it isn’t the manager. The
team’s committment to known quantities like Fonzie Bichette is
potentially devestating; at least back when they were truly
noxious, they didn’t break the bank to keep the likes of
Hopefully the Rockies had enough left over from the big Leyland
signing to take out some insurance on Darryl Kile’s arm.
Announced the resignation of manager Jim Leyland. [10/1]
Named John Boles manager. [10/2]
Surprise, surprise–Livan Hernandez and his pitching mates made it
to the end of the Leyland era with no apparent ill effects (yet…).
Boles was reasonably successful in his short stint as interim
manager after Florida fired Rene Lachemann in 1996, going 40-35
with the team. He’s got the unusual talent of looking simultaneously
dazed and wide-eyed at the same time in the dugout, but Leyland has
always been an overrated manager, and Boles will probably tread
more lightly on the Marlins’ fragile young arms.
Kudos to Dave Dombrowski for moving decisively and replacing
Leyland before his office chair was cold. There’s rarely any sense
in dragging a decision like this out, especially when handing the
job to someone already in the organization, and the unsettled period
until things smooth out is minimized.
LOS ANGELES DODGERS
Fired manager Glenn Hoffman. [9/30]
Hoffman will be offered a job with the big club, which could create
a sticky situation with the new manager. In large part, Hoffman was
a sacrificial lamb at the altar of the Pastaman’s dubious moves during
his tenure as interim general manager. He put up a reasonable
record (47-41) during his brief stay, but the Dodgers are reportedly
considering bigger fish for manager in their quest to restore some
of the team’s vaunted managerial stability. Kevin Kennedy, Felipe
Alou and the great Davey Johnson have been frequently mentioned.
Extended the contract of GM Sal Bando through the 2001. [10/5]
Ugh. The co-chief architect (along with Scrap Iron Garner) of
Midwestern Little Ball gets some additional job security.
Milwaukee is the definition of a mediocre organization, with no
recent glory to look back on and no bright future to look forward
to. Garner kept his job by agreeing to the dismissal of half his
coaching staff, but it isn’t his fault that the fans in Milwaukee
get to look forward to watching a shell of Marquis Grissom’s former
self traipsing around in CF, collecting $150K per catch, for the
Players like Grissom are a good way to measure the health of a small
market franchise like the Brewers; if you’ve got a guy like this
when he’s overrated, but cheap and young (like the Expos), you’re
doing something right. If you’ve got him when he’s old, pulling
five million per annum, and generally useless, you need to re-
evaluate your development strategy.
NEW YORK YANKEES
Extended the contract of manager Joe Torre through 2001. [9/30]
Everybody’s manager of the year after the Yanquis’ magical 1998,
Torre is riding a wave of good feeling in Steinbrennerland. He
seemed primed to retire after this season, and his agreeing to
the extension is somewhat of a surprise. To his credit, he lets
his players play and isn’t grabbing for air time so he can polish
his image; he’s probably best suited for a team like the Yankees.
Anounced the resignation of president Sandy Alderson. [9/28]
Alderson, the longtime A’s general manager, is resigning to assume
the title of “executive vice president for baseball operations” (which
presumably comes with a company car) in the commissioner’s office,
and by now this is Billy Beane’s team anyway.
Exercised their 1999 option on designated hitter
Edgar Martinez. [9/30]
Acquired LHP John Halama from Houston as the PTBNL in the
Randy Johnson deal. [9/31]
Houston thought Halama was so hot, they let Bobby Abreu go in the
expansion draft to protect him. He’s got a good curve and a great
changeup to go with his wicked pickoff move, which he’s been
shredding baserunners with for years. Seattle is making noises
about Halama competing for a spot in the rotation next year, and
if they know what they’re doing that’s exactly what will happen.
Of course, who knows what’ll happen with Piniella driving the
bus? On the down side, he doesn’t have a great fastball, he’s
pretty old for a prospect, and he’s not Scott Elarton.
It wasn’t Martinez’ fault that Seattle had such a poor season. He
did his usual professional job at the plate (.429/.567) despite a
slow start and knee problems which will require offseason surgery.
Martinez is the most consistent and best DH in the league, and at
$3.5M will be a bargain for the Mariners next year.