An agent recently described the state of the 30-team winter market. About 10 teams are aggressively trying to better, he said. About 10 teams are open to the idea of additions, but not interested in chasing the most expensive players. And the other 10 teams, he estimated, aren’t really trying at all, as they rebuild or tank or whatever you want to call it.
But there’s almost a separate category of teams beyond those three — the clubs that seem to have withdrawn strategically from the early feeding frenzy with the intent to move in after the most aggressive clubs have fattened up. You might refer to the patient teams as The Scavengers if not for the pejorative sound of the word, because that’s pretty much what they’re doing — waiting for the most expensive players to get pulled out of the market, and for the big spenders to have tapped their budgets, before then looking for value in the carcass of what’s left.
This approach generally worked effectively for former Baltimore Orioles general manager Dan Duquette, who executed a lot of late-winter signings, including that of Nelson Cruz, and as the volume of free agents continues to grow, the motivation to scavenge grows, for clubs in very different circumstances, for different reasons.
Yonder Alonso of Cleveland Indians traded to Chicago White Sox
It wasn’t immediately known whom the Indians would receive in the trade.
Alonso, 31, hit .250 with 23 home runs and 83 RBIs last season for the Indians. A nine-year veteran, Alonso was an All-Star in 2017, when he hit 28 home runs and 67 RBIs for the Oakland A’s and Seattle Mariners.
The White Sox have also expressed interest this offseason in slugger Manny Machado. Alonso is the brother-in-law of Machado.
News of Alonso’s trade was first reported by Stadium.
Matt Chapman of Oakland A’s has left shoulder surgery
Dr. William Workman performed a distal clavicle resection procedure on Chapman’s shoulder, the team said Friday. Chapman is expected to begin swinging a bat in six weeks.
The team said Chapman felt discomfort in the shoulder during offseason workouts. Chapman also had surgery on his right thumb Oct. 16 and was expected to recover fully from that operation by spring training.
Chapman batted .278 with 24 home runs in a breakout season. He won his first Gold Glove and finished seventh in American League MVP voting.
Brandon Hyde hired Baltimore Orioles new manager from Chicago Cubs
Hyde takes over for Buck Showalter, who was fired after Baltimore finished 47-115 — the worst record in the majors. This will be Hyde’s first stint as a major league manager.
Hyde, 45, was selected by general manager Mike Elias, who began an extensive search for Showalter’s replacement after being hired last month to replace Dan Duquette.
“I believe that we have found the ideal leader for the next era of Orioles baseball,” Elias said of Hyde.
Hyde worked as Chicago’s bench coach this year under manager Joe Maddon. He was in the second of three seasons as Cubs first-base coach when the team won the World Series in 2016.
Before that, Hyde served as Rick Renteria’s bench coach in Chicago in 2014. He previously served as Chicago’s director of player development from August 2012 through 2013 after joining the Cubs in December 2011 as their minor league field coordinator.
Prior to joining the Cubs, Hyde spent nine seasons in the Miami Marlins organization. He was Miami’s bench coach from June 2010 through the end of the 2011 season.
“Brandon’s deep background in player development and major league coaching — most recently helping to shape the Cubs into a world champion — has thoroughly prepared him for this job and distinguished him throughout our interview process,” Elias said.
Elias and Hyde will seek to develop a team that shifted into rebuild mode last July under Duquette, who traded away many of the team’s stars — most notably Manny Machado, Zach Britton, Jonathan Schoop and Kevin Gausman — for 15 prospects and international bonus pool money in moves that cut payroll from $151 million to $136 million.
On the day he was introduced by Baltimore, Elias spoke about the significance of landing the right manager to shape the Orioles into a team that can be competitive in the AL East.
“This is an important hire,” Elias said on Nov. 19. “… It’s not something you rush. We want to get the right person for this time.”
Hyde will be formally introduced as the 20th manager in Orioles history on Monday.
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