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MLB News and Notes – Tuesday October 30, 2018

Take a look at the most recent news and notes from around the MLB Diamond.

Red Sox Are Your 2018 World Champions

Congratulations to the 2018 World Series champions, the Boston Red Sox. After dominating through a 108-win season, they really seemed unscathed in the postseason.  They were able to run through the Yankees, Astros, and Dodgers with relative ease, easily looking like the best team of the season and losing only 3 games during the postseason.  After not having won a World Series for 86 years, the Red Sox have now won four since 2004. While a lot can happen during an offseason and a regular season, it is hard to think they won’t be right there competing in the playoffs for another one next year, too.

Bryce Harper Already Has Deal In Place?  Not Likely

During an interview last Friday, super-agent Scott Boras seemed to drop a bombshell.  During the interview with the YES Network, he indicated that Harper already had a deal in place, saying it was “…already completed and done, but Bryce has told me that he wanted to tell you personally.”  As soon as he said it, red flags went up immediately. Teams have five days after the World Series to be able to negotiate with any of their own free agents. Thus, if a team really did have a deal in place, that team would likely suffer significant consequences for tampering.

In the end, though, Boras said that it was all a joke.  It’s since been confirmed that Boras was not really answering the question truthfully; rather, he was just giving some sarcastic banter to add to the frenzy that Harper’s name on the free agent market is already creating. The free agent class is deep this year, but Bryce Harper absolutely tops them all.  It will be interesting to see who he signs with, and possibly even more interesting to see for how much, but one thing is for sure, Harper is going to get paid. Even the second best free agent, Manny Machado, who will bring in a pretty penny himself despite questionable views on his effort and desire were created after the World Series, probably won’t touch Bryce Harper.  It just isn’t very often that a 25-year-old, 6 time All-Star and former MVP hits the open market, so teams should be ready to get out their checkbooks if they really want him.

Couple Aces Have Decisions On Opt-Out Clauses

While Clayton Kershaw and David Price are just coming off of World Series appearances, with Price being one of the heroes for the Red Sox, they don’t have much time to enjoy a break without having to think about next season. Both pitchers have opt-out clauses in their contracts, allowing them to void the rest of their current deals and test the free agent market.

For Kershaw, that would mean forfeiting $65 million over the next two seasons.  While still only 30, Kershaw has struggled to stay health as of late, in particular dealing with back issues on a regular basis.  This has also led to some lost velocity and mixed results in the postseason. One of the best pitchers over the last decade, Kershaw is still a force on the mound when healthy, but it will be interesting to see whether he could actually beat his current contract, particularly in average annual salary.

For Price, he might be in a better spot.  Despite an inconsistent regular season, Price was absolutely lights out in the postseason.  He pitched in both the ALCS and World Series clinching games, going 7 innings in game 5 of the World Series.  Still, he has 4 years and $127 million left on his contract, and it might be hard for him to beat that, particularly since he is 33 years old.  That, coupled with the fact that he enjoys being on the Red Sox, would make it likely that he will stay. Still, until he finalizes that decision, it remains an interesting question to examine.

Decisions On Players’ Futures Already Coming In

With the World Series having just ended, teams are already making many decisions on their player personnel as they prepare for the offseason.  Some of the decisions already made include the Giants having exercised their team options for Madison Bumgarner and Pablo Sandoval, Diamondbacks exercising club option on Paul Goldschmidt, Cardinals resigning Adam Wainwright for another year, the Nationals exercising their club option on Sean Doolittle, and the White Sox exercising option on Nate Jones (and declining one on James Shields).  Many more will surely be coming in over the next several days ahead of free agency.

Athletics Lock Up Management After Successful Season

The Oakland Athletics seemingly came out of nowhere this season to finish with a record of 97-65, finishing second in the AL West and earning a spot in the playoffs via a wild-card game.  While they ultimately lost that game to the New York Yankees, their success did not go unnoticed. That was exemplified perfectly on Monday when three of the key management positions were given extensions.  Executive VP of Baseball Operations Billy Beane, General Manager David Forst, and Manager Bob Melvin all received extensions on their contracts today. The most notable was Bob Melvin’s new deal, which will have him as the A’s skipper through the 2021 season at about $3.5 million per year.

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