Here are the biggest stories in baseball that have developed today and this weekend:
- Cleveland Indians head to Toronto leading the Blue Jays 2 games to 0. Toronto’s vaunted offense looks pedestrian against a Tribe pitching staff that has been headlined by Andrew Miller. Miller has proven to be an X-factor for Cleveland, and his acquisition at the trade deadline may ultimately prove to be the best best move of the 2016 baseball season when all is said and done.
- NLCS heads to Los Angeles tied up 1-1. When picking the Cubs in six, I was essentially conceding any game that Clayton Kershaw started. While the Cubs had exactly who they wanted up in the ninth inning of a close game, for once the bats weren’t able to wake up in crunch time. There is a chance this series could go back to Chicago for Game Six with L.A. leading 3 games to 2.
- D-Backs name former Boston GM Mike Hazen new General Manager. Per MLB.com, the highly-respected executive takes over an Arizona squad that went 69-93 in 2016, their fifth consecutive non-winning season. Hazen had been with Boston since 2006 and was named Assistant General Manager for the team in 2012.
- USA Today reports Frank Wren is a “leading candidate” for Red Sox GM job. Wren was the Orioles’ GM from 1998-99 and Atlanta’s General Manager from 2007-2014. Baltimore was 157-167 with Wren as GM, while Atlanta was 607-527 (.535) under Wren’s tenure with three trips to the postseason, though the Braves never made it past the NLDS. Rob Bradford of WEEI has reported via Twitter that Boston’s pro scouting director Gus Quattlebaum is also a candidate.
- Braves Closer Jim Johnson gets $10 million over the next two years. Per TomahawkTake.com, Johnson received a $1 million signing bonus and will also get $4.5 million per season. Johnson received $1.6 million total in 2015 and $2.6 million in 2016. Johnson saved 20 ballgames for Atlanta in ’16; he saved 51 games for Baltimore during an All-Star 2012 campaign and 50 the following year. In 2014, however, Johnson’s control left him and his WHIP ballooned to 1.950. He has saved just 32 games over the past three seasons since his career apex, but Atlanta’s front office is counting on a continuation of the resurgence they saw from Johnson last year.
- Trevor Bauer will start Game Three for Cleveland. The Indians pitcher was pushed back a start due to cutting his finger while fixing a drone of his. According to MLB.com, Bauer came to today’s ALCS news conference fully prepared for potential questions from the media regarding this issue by bringing a drone along with him. Meanwhile in this series, Indians Manager Terry Francona has not ruled out the possibility of scheduling ace Corey Kluber to start Game Four of the series if the situation demands it.