The World Series is underway, but it’s not the only thing going on with the baseball world. In addition to the latest between the Dodgers and the Red Sox, here are some important stories that you may have missed over the past week.
The Red Sox got off to an early 1-0 World Series lead on Tuesday night. The pitcher’s duel between Chris Sale and Clayton Kershaw didn’t exactly pan out, as both teams had offensive success early in the game. Ultimately, the Red Sox were able to tack on runs late and get five good innings from their bullpen. Of course, the Dodgers took Game 1 of the World Series last year and ended up losing the series to the Astros, so Los Angeles has plenty of time to get things turned around.
Under the Knife
Soon after the Astros were eliminated in the ALCS, second baseman Jose Altuve had surgery on his right knee. Altuve had become Houston’s DH late in the playoffs, with manager A.J. Hinch noting before Game 5 of the ALCS that Altuve would not be playing if it were the regular season. Altuve gutted it out for the Astros but in a losing effort. The good news is that he’s expected to be fully healthy for spring training.
Ringing the Bell
The Cincinnati Reds became the first team to fill their managerial vacancy this offseason, doing so by hiring former big league infielder David Bell. The 46-year was most recently the vice president of player development for the San Francisco Giants. Prior to that, he managed in Cincinnati’s farm system and was a coach for both the Cardinals and Cubs. While he never played for the Reds, Bell grew up in Cincinnati, as both his father and grandfather are Reds legends.
One Catcher to Another
The Los Angeles Angels also filled their managerial vacancy over the weekend, hiring Brad Ausmus to replace Mike Scioscia, who stepped down after 19 seasons managing the Halos. Ausmus, of course, spent four seasons managing the Tigers, leading them to the AL Central division title in 2014. He was let go following the 2017 season and spent last season with the Angels as a special assistant to the GM.
Waiting It Out
One person who won’t be hired as a manager this offseason is former Yankees skipper Joe Girardi. He was reportedly in the running for the managerial openings with both Cincinnati and Texas. However, there is heavy speculation that Girardi will sit out one more year in hopes of landing the manager’s job with either the Cubs or White Sox next winter.
Joe Maddon will be back with the Cubs in 2019, but he’s not under contract beyond next season. Rick Renteria has spent the last two seasons managing the White Sox and could be on the hot seat if they don’t take a step forward in 2019 given all of their young talent. Girardi is an Illinois native who had two separate stints with the Cubs as a player, so he’s clearly looking to go home. It also doesn’t hurt that both the Cubs and White Sox appear to have promising futures.
The Diamondbacks have wasted little time making their first move of the offseason, agreeing to a three-year, $21 million deal with Eduardo Escobar. Arizona traded for Escobar in July, using him primarily at third base in place of the injured Jake Lamb. Escobar can also play second base, shortstop, and the outfield, so he gives the Diamondbacks some flexibility heading into the offseason. He also accumulated 23 home runs, 84 RBIs and an OPS of .823 this season, so he’s a reliable offensive presence for a team that figures to lose outfielder A.J. Pollock in free agency.
Following the Trend
After the success of Shohei Ohtani as both a hitter and pitcher in 2018, White Sox DH Matt Davidson says he’d like to do the same thing. Davidson actually made three appearances on the mound for the lowly White Sox this past season, allowing just one hit against 11 batters. The club hasn’t made any promises, but they have given Davidson permission to work out as a pitcher this offseason, so he should at least get a chance to audition as a bullpen arm during spring training. As a hitter, Davidson has contributed 46 home runs over the past two seasons, although his batting average leaves a little to be desired. However, his value could increase if he proves to be a viable relief arm.