Plus, extensions and managerial decisions.
Hey, a new type of post! Sort of! For the entire summer (save for a missed day here or there) we’ve been putting up Minor Lines every day at 8:00 AM ET. The minor-league season is over, which means that this timeslot switches over to MLB Roundups. For those new to the site or who don’t remember, this is basically exactly what it sounds like. We’ll run through the big stories in the league the day before and, when applicable tell you why you should especially care as it relates to the Red Sox. And for this offseason particularly, I’m sure this will wind up being the space for updates on CBA negotiations. I know we’re all looking forward to that! (Sarcasm, in case it wasn’t clear.)
Chris Taylor walks it off in L.A.
While the Red Sox were able to handle the Yankees in the AL Wildcard Game, the NL side was a fascinating matchup. On one side you have the Dodgers, probably the most talented team in the league on paper and one that won 106 games this year. On the other side, a Cardinals team with a much less impressive record, but one who was playing better than anyone in that final month of the regular season. It seemed set up for L.A. heartbreak and some of that old fashioned Cardinals Devil Magic.
The result was a much better game than the one on the AL side, a fact about which I will certainly not complain. This NL affair was low-scoring, though Dodgers ace Max Scherzer didn’t quite look like himself. He managed to only go 4 1⁄3 innings, but he allowed just one run. The Dodgers would have a hard time on the other side getting to Adam Wainwright, save for a game-tying solo homer from Justin Turner in the fourth. That 1-1 tie would remain all the way until the bottom of the ninth, when Chris Taylor came up with two outs and a man on and absolutely punished a hanging slider. There was no doubt off the bat, and it moved L.A. on to face the Giants in what should be a spectacular NLDS matchup.
Rockies hand out extensions
The Rockies have been one of the more confusing teams in baseball for the last decade, and they started off this offseason by promoting interim GM Bill Schmidt to the job full-time, and he quickly got to work with extensions for a couple of players. Pitcher Antonio Senzatela was signed to a five-year extension worth a base salary of $50.5 million. Senzatela had been set to hit free agency after the 2023 season, and is coming off a year in which he pitched to a 4.42 ERA over 28 starts, though his 3.61 FIP suggests some bad luck. He doesn’t really miss bats, but his control is outstanding and this year he did a great job at keeping the ball in the yard.
In addition to that extension, Colorado also made sure to retain one of their best offensive players who was about to hit free agency. That wasn’t Trevor Story, who is the big name potentially leaving the Rockies, but instead C.J. Cron. He signed a two-year deal worth $14.5 million. The first baseman somewhat quietly had a really good year, hitting .281/.375/.530 for a 127 wRC+, and that’s after finishing the shortened 2020 season with a 140 wRC+.
Red Sox Spin: I think this matters for the Red Sox on a couple of fronts. One is that Senzatela is presumably not a trade target anymore. I don’t think I would have been too enamored with that possibility anyway given the lack of swing and miss, but the Red Sox will likely be thinking about starting pitching options if Eduardo Rodriguez walks. And that brings me to my broader point, which is that the Rockies might be starting to gear up instead of tearing down. These signings don’t set that in stone by any means, but at the very least they’re not totally gutting things to the studs.
Two managers ousted
The end of the season means the manager carousel starts to go, and we saw a couple of managers lose their job already. The first was in New York with Luis Rojas not getting his option with the Mets picked up. This was Rojas’ first managerial gig, coming in after the team parted ways with Carlos Beltrán before he even managed a single game. In his two years, Rojas’ teams finished with a 103-119 record.
Also being let go was Jayce Tingler, whose Padres had a brutal second half and missed the playoffs entirely as entering the season with the expectation they’d be one of the two best teams in the league. Tingler, like Rojas, was managing for the first time and spent two years on the job. He had a combined 116-106 record. I suspect both will get second chances at some point, and it wouldn’t be the first time a manager does better in their second landing spot.
Red Sox Spin: Clearly Boston isn’t going to be looking for a new manager, but bench coach Will Venable might be a name we hear pop up in some managerial searches. These two clubs might not be examples as they both seem as though they might be looking for managerial experience, but Venable’s name has been mentioned the last few years as an up-and-comer, and he just spent the year as a bench coach on an overachieving team. I haven’t actually heard his name in concrete rumors so this is just speculation, but it’s something to keep in mind.