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Marty’s musings: front office moves, qualifying offers, and robo-umps

Winter doldrums lead to questions about the future CBA contract while teams reshuffle their coaching staffs and front offices.

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MLB: Spring Training-Boston Red Sox at Minnesota Twins Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to ‘Marty’s Musings’, my weekly column of numbers summarizing the happenings in the baseball world. I am your guide for taking an analytic look at the news and notes throughout the game, and highlighting this week’s key pitching matchups.

This week we dive headlong into the offseason, discussing some front office and coaching changes.

News & Notes

8 - Players were awarded their first-ever Silver Slugger Awards last Thursday night. Twins’ catcher Mitch Garver, Indians’ first basemen Carlos Santana, Yankees’ second baseman DJ LeMahieu, and the AstrosAlex Bregman all earned their first Silver Sluggers. Rounding out the AL winners are Red Sox’ shortstop Xander Bogaerts and outfielder Mookie Betts, along with the Angels’ Mike Trout, Astros’ George Springer, and Twins’ veteran Nelson Cruz.

In the National League, the BravesFreddie Freeman, Ozzie Albies, and Ronald Acuna Jr. all earned their first Silver Sluggers, along with the Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger. JT Realmuto, Anthony Rendon, and Zack Greinke all won the award for the second time, while Christian Yelich took home his third set of Silver Slugger hardware.

10 - Players received qualifying offers, each worth $17.8 million. Josh Donaldson, Stephen Strasburg, Anthony Rendon, Gerrit Cole, José Abreu, Jake Odorizzi, Madison Bumgarner, Zack Wheeler, Will Smith, and Marcell Ozuna all have until Thursday to decide whether or not they wish to accept the QO, or if they wish to reach free agency with a draft pick compensation tied to them.

62.5 - Million dollars remaining on Red Sox outfielder JD Martinez’ contract. Martinez had another excellent season at the dish, and chose not to opt out of the deal (he also has the option to opt-out after 2020). It’s a breath of fresh air for Red Sox fans who have been reading and hearing swirling rumors of Boston considering trading MVP candidate Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts.

27 - Teams and front offices that Braves executive Alex Anthopoulos said Atlanta had talked to about the free agent market. Anthopoulos shortly thereafter said he ‘misspoke’ but the questionable nature of the conversations and the high-probability that the discussions could potentially be considered collusion did collusion rumors no favors last week. While his commentary isn’t evidence of collusion, it’s further evidence of something going on to mess with free agents market-value.

8 - Years executive Scott Harris has served as the Cubs Assistant General Manager under Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer. The Giants announced they hired Harris as their next GM. His first decision will be to figure out who will be the Giants next manager.

3 - Year extensions for Cardinals manager Mike Shildt and President John Mozeliak. Since backfilling the role after Mike Matheny was fired in 2018, Shildt has led the Cardinals to a 132-99 record and improbably led them to an NL Central pennant last season. Mozeliak has spent a quarter-century with the organization, the last 12 being in a senior baseball operations role.

2020 - The trial year for MiLB automated strike zones. Evan Drellich of The Athletic reported last week Rob Manfred told MLB Netowrk that robot-umps could be used in the Florida State League next season. This news is coming off an Arizona Fall League automated strike zone that did not get rave reviews.

136 - Days until Opening Day.


Steven Martano is an Editor at Beyond the Box Score, a Contributing Prospect Writer for the Colorado Rockies at Purple Row, and a contributing writer for The Hardball Times. You can follow him on Twitter at @SMartano