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- Before we get to the ongoing playoffs, we got some important news regarding the upcoming free agency period and specifically what the qualifying offers are going to look like. The league announced yesterday 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 playoffs are cooking along at a crisp pace with the Braves annihilating the Marlins to finish off a sweep, the Dodgers overwhelming the Padres and their pitching problems for a sweep of their own, and the Astros, with all of their self-inflicted chips on their shoulders, finishing off the Athletics to move on to the ALCS.
- The only remaining ongoing playoff series is going to a Game Five as the Yankees staved off elimination by the Rays. The Yankees were relentless on offense and the Rays simply couldn’t get much going against Jordan Montgomery and the Yankees bullpen.
- The Reds got some less than ideal news on Wednesday as their president of baseball operations, Dick Williams, resigned. There isn’t really a sordid reason for Williams’ decision, he just wants to spend more time with family and work on ventures outside of baseball. However, for a team that is going into a pivotal offseason, the timing is less than great.
- 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.
- Just hours before beginning their Wild Card Series with the Twins, 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.
- Nolan Arenado recently underwent a battery of tests to get to the bottom of his sore left shoulder and was consequently placed on the injured list, ending his 2020 season. Thomas Harding of MLB.com reports that the third basemen has been dealing with this issue all season, an injury stemming from his A/C joint in his left shoulder. This clear discomfort shone through in Arenado’s slash line this year, an out of the ordinary .253/.303/.434 for the veteran slugger.
- 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,
- Matt Chapman underwent season-ending hip surgery, a significantly different outcome from what was first looked at as mild inflammation that wouldn’t land him on the IL. It should have been a red flag to everyone that something was wrong when the third baseman, who we now know was dealing with a strained hip, put up the worst strikeout rate and batting average of his career. Chad Pinder and the newly-signed Jake Lamb will soak up the vacated playing time at the hot corner.
- 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.