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- The Dodgers snapped the 10th-longest championship drought in baseball — one that was often infuriating for fans of a team that is consistently near the top of the league in payroll and has won the NL West for eight straight seasons — by defeating the Rays in Game 6 of the World Series on Tuesday night. Los Angeles took advantage of an extremely puzzling decision by Rays manager Kevin Cash to pull starter Blake Snell after he threw just 73 pitches and allowed just one hit over 5.1 innings. With the potential tying run on first base, Cash inserted reliever Nick Anderson, who had allowed runs in six straight appearances, and sure enough, he extended the streak to seven games, as he first allowed Austin Barnes to score from third on a wild pitch, then gave up the go-ahead run as Corey Seager grounded into an RBI fielder’s choice. Mookie Betts hit a solo homer in the eighth to finish off the Dodgers’ scoring in a 3-1 victory.
- Unfortunately, the good vibes surrounding the Dodgers’ World Series victory were quickly sullied as it was revealed that Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner had tested positive for COVID-19, explaining manager Dave Roberts’ decision to pull him prior to the eighth inning of Game 6. As if MLB’s decision to proceed with a game involving an infected player wasn’t controversial enough, Turner then returned to the field to celebrate with the trophy, participate in a non-socially distant team photo (he pulled his mask down for the occasion), and kiss his wife on the field. When asked how Turner managed to participate in the celebration, president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman was quoted as saying, “I don’t think there was anyone that was going to stop him from going out,” per the New York Daily News’ Bradford William Davis.
- In non-World Series news, the Marlins picked up outfielder Starling Marte’s $12.5 million option for 2021.
The Rays-Dodgers Game 4 walkoff is one of the most ridiculous wins you’ll ever see.
- Astros reliever Josh James underwent surgery to repair a labral tear in his left hip, Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle reports. He’ll be out of commission for 6-8 months, meaning he’ll miss the beginning of the 2021 season...that is, granted, if it starts on time next year. The 27-year old threw for a 7.27 ERA this season.
- How Mookie Betts won America free tacos twice, in case anyone is doubting that he’s a national treasure.
- Mike Tauchman’s future with the Yankees is suddenly very murky.
- Yankees bench coach Carlos Mendoza has kept busy this offseason by interviewing for many of the managerial vacancies across the league, George A. King III of the New York Post reports. He has emerged as a top candidate with the Red Sox and the Tigers. The 40-year old was once a player within the Yankees farm system and was promoted to the Major League coaching staff as a quality control coach and infield instructor just before the 2018 season. He was promoted to bench coach last season. Whether either team is serious about Mendoza or are just waiting out Alex Cora’s and A.J. Hinch’s suspensions to be up once the World Series is over is still up in the air, but I guess we’ll find out in the next few days if it was all just smoke and mirrors.
- The Marlins have split with president of baseball operations Mike Hill. Odd considering this was the first season in 17 years that the Marlins have made it to the playoffs.
- Speaking of a front office shuffle, after firing Billy Eppler last month, the Angels are already forming a shortlist of who they want to replace him. Jon Morosi of MLB Network reports that they’re assembling a growing list of candidates.
- The Tigers have interviewed Royals bench coach Pedro Grifol for their managerial vacancy, reports Jon Morosi of MLB Network. He’s reportedly one of their top candidates. The 50-year old was a strong candidate to replace Ned Yost when the Royals had such a spot to fill, but after they turned to Mike Matheny for the position, Grifol was promoted from the catching/quality control coach to bench coach.
- The White Sox might just get zany with their next managerial hire, as they’ve received permission to interview Hall of Fame manager and current Angels advisor Tony La Russa. The 76-year-old La Russa hasn’t managed since leading the Cardinals to a World Seriesvictory back in 2011.
- The baseball world at large lost another legend as Hall of Famer Joe Morgan passed away. Morgan is the latest on a growing list of baseball legends who have passed away in 2020. In related news, 2020 is the absolute worst.
- The Chicago White Sox were one of the league’s more fun stories in the regular season with a bunch of young talent on their roster and a surprising run to the playoffs. However, after an early exit from the playoffs, the organization felt the need to make a move and parted ways with manager Rick Renteria.
- The Red Sox owners group might be taking the company public, in case you want to get a little piece of the action. Fenway Sports LLC is in special negations with a special acquisitions company that would bring them public, reports Cara Lombardo and Miriam Gottfried of the Wall Street Journal. After going public, Fenway Sports would be valued at $8B, giving the acquisition company, RedBall Acquisitions, a $1.575B minority share. Don’t worry Red Sox fans, John Henry will still maintain majority control of the group.
- Hall of Famer Whitey Ford has passed away at age 91.
- We’ve got some important news regarding the upcoming free agency period and specifically what the qualifying offers are going to look like. The league announced last week that the amount for qualifying offers went up from $17.8 million to $18.9 million for the upcoming offseason. It will be very interesting to see how the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is going to impact both how many qualifying offers we see given out and, of those, how many players sign them with all of the uncertainty of free agency swirling.
- The Reds got some less than ideal news recently as their president of baseball operations, Dick Williams, resigned. There isn’t really a sordid reason for Williams’ decision, as he just wants to spend more time with family and work on ventures outside of baseball. His former right-hand man, Nick Krall, will now oversee the team’s baseball operations department.
- After five disappointing and cringeworthy seasons, Matt Klentak has stepped down as Phillies’ GM. The 40-year old with be reassigned a new role within the club, one that the Phillies have yet to announce and frankly we’re scared to hear. While Klentak was great when it came to blockbuster and exciting deals like Brycer Harper and J.T. Realmuto, he could never quite seem to get lasting depth in the bullpen.
- Francisco Cervelli has announced his retirement on Instagram, reports Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Signed by the Yankees out of Venezuela in 2003, the veteran backstop didn’t make his name in the league until 2008. After bouncing to Pittsburg and a brief stint in Atlanta, he signed a one-year deal with the Marlins last season. Cervelli slashed a career average .268/.358/.382, earning what FanGraphs has has doled out to him: a career 18 WAR.
- The Astros announced that they’ve signed first baseman Yuli Gurriel to a one-year extension with a club option for 2022. They’ll be hoping he bounces back during a more normal season next year after struggling during the pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign.
- The Angels have fired general manager Billy Eppler, as The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal first reported. Eppler had one year left on his contract after being given an extension last year. He joined the team during the 2015 offseason and was a part of many of the team’s major moves, such as signing Shohei Ohtani and Anthony Rendon and locking down Mike Trout for an extension. While replacement talks may not start in earnest until this weird postseason is done, it will be interesting to see who owner Arte Moreno has on his mind to replace him.
- Alex Gordon has been a critical part of the Royals over the last 14 seasons. While Father Time has really caught up with him in recent seasons, Gordon was one of main reasons that the Royals reached back to back World Series in 2014 and 2015. Now, after a long and successful career, he has decided to retire.
- News that comes as a shock to no one and was pretty much just a matter of time: Astros’ Justin Verlander will undergo Tommy John surgery. This officially ends his 2020 season after making just one start, and the poor timing will almost certainly put a kibosh on his 2021 season as well, which, oh you guessed it, is the end of his contract with the Astros.
- In an announcement that had been expected for several weeks, MLB announced that the final three rounds of this year’s postseason will be held at neutral sites in Texas and California, with the World Series being held at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas. The biggest twist in the plan? There will be no off days for the first three rounds, meaning that teams’ pitching depth will be tested in the playoffs like never before.
- The Mets, for several years, have been a bundle of drama and disappointment and the faces of those struggles has been, without question, their owners Fred and Jeff Wilpon who have have been widely panned for their mismanagement of the team on both financial and personnel levels. Now, after a lengthy and drama-filed period of time where they sought a buyer for the team, it appears to be set that billionaire and minority owner Steve Cohen will purchase the Mets,
- Despite the fact that he was elected to a new four-year term last year, Minor League Baseball president Pat O’Conner announced that he’ll be retiring after the season. This seems like bad news for the future of MiLB as we know it, as there’s a strong possibility that his position will be eliminated upon his departure as part of Rob Manfred’s “One Baseball” plan — one that would give the commissioner’s office much more authority over MiLB and calls for massive contraction in the minors. While O’Conner played a major role in the growth and development of Minor League Baseball, his legacy is tainted by the fact that he very publicly advocated against minor leaguers having a right to a living wage.