The Philadelphia Phillies won the offseason with a number of free agent acquisitions, which included superstar Bryce Harper, but it did not lead to a playoff berth in 2019.
As a result, the Phillies have fired manager Gabe Kapler after two seasons at the helm that included no trips to the playoffs.
“Several years ago, I promised our loyal fans that I would do everything in my power to bring a world championship team to our city,” team owner John Middleton said in a statement (h/t ESPN). “I will never waver from that commitment. … I have decided that some changes are necessary to achieve our ultimate objective. Consequently, we will replace our manager.
“I am indebted to Gabe for the steadfast effort, energy and enthusiasm that he brought to our club, and we are unquestionably a better team and organization as a result of his contributions.”
Kapler is the third consecutive Phillies manager to be fired after no more than two full seasons, alongside the likes of Pete Mackanin and Ryne Sandberg.
“I have tremendous respect for this organization, this franchise and this city,” Kapler said in a statement. “We came into 2019 with very high hopes. We fell short of those, and that responsibility lies with me. The next Phillies manager will inherit a team of talented, dedicated and committed players. There has been nothing more fulfilling in my professional career than the opportunity to work with the players on this team.
“… As I move on, I know that this organization is in a great spot and will see a lot of success going forward. My hope is that I helped contribute to a developing culture in the organization that flourishes in the years to come.”
Now, the Phillies will embark on a search for a new manager, which will be conducted by general manager Matt Klentak.
“I want to thank Kap for his tireless commitment to the Phillies over the last two years,” Klentak said in a statement. “When we hired Kap, it was our goal to develop a positive, forward-thinking and collaborative culture throughout the organization that would allow us to compete with the best teams in the league year in and year out.
Thus far, names such as Buck Showalter and Joe Girardi, among others, have been internally discussed.
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Yankees Get their Ace, Sign Gerrit Cole to 9-Year, $324 Million Deal
The New York Yankees said that they would flex their financial muscle to land ace starting pitcher Gerrit Cole during free agency this winter, and they did exactly that in inking Cole to the largest deal ever for a pitcher.
According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, the Yankees signed Cole to a monumental 9-year, $324 million contract, adding an ace to the front of their already impressive rotation and arguably the best pitcher in baseball.
Cole’s new deal with the Yankees includes an opt-out option after five years and it also includes a full no trade clause, per the report. Cole’s new deal crushes the record-setting contract the Washington Nationals re-signed ace Stephen Strasburg to earlier this week, for most total money and annual average salary for a pitcher, at $36 million.
Cole, 29, was the runner up to his Houston Astros’ teammate Justin Verlander for the AL Cy Young award, posting a 20-5 record with a 2.50 ERA to go along with a career-high 326 strikeouts which were the most in the majors and also broke an Astros franchise record that had been intact since 1979.
Additionally, Cole was superb in the playoffs, where the Astros lost in the World Series to the Washington Nationals. Cole went 4-1 with a 1.72 ERA in 36⅔ innings of postseason baseball.
Cole grew up a Yankees fan and attended several games at the old Yankee Stadium, saying that his favorite players were Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera. Cole was drafted by the Yankees in the 1st round of the 2008 draft, out of high school, but he instead chose to go to UCLA.
The Yankees will now put out an imposing starting rotation, perhaps their best in years, with Cole, Luis Severino, James Paxton, Masahiro Tanaka, Jordan Montgomery, and Domingo German. The Yankees also have promising youngsters such as Deivi Garcia coming up as well.
The Yankees went with a full court press to land Cole, with team owner Hal Steinbrenner directly involved in the talks with Scott Boras, the agent for Cole, and was the one who made the decision to push the deal to 9 years, adding one year to their 8 year offer, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney.
Yankees’ Preparing Record-Setting Contract Offer for Gerrit Cole
The New York Yankees are looking to make free agent front-line starter Gerrit Cole an offer he simply cannot refuse.
According to the New York Times’ Bob Klapisch, the Yankees are working on a making a record-setting seven-year, $245 million contract offer to Cole, which would set anew mark for pitchers in terms of overall value as well as average annual value.
According to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman and Mark Feinsand, while the Yankees have not officially made the offer to Cole, they are not far from doing so. Cole and his agent Scott Boras have requested interested teams to submit their initial offers.
Cole is expected to draw interest from the Los Angeles Dodges and and the Los Angeles Angels, who could throw their hat in the ring of what could be a fevered bidding war to land Cole, who is widely considered to be the cream of the free agent crop this year.
The Yankees have made it their priority to sign Cole this offseason, and appear to be taking a clear, and aggressive approach, to get that deal done as soon as possible.
Rays’ Blake Snell Rips Tommy Pham Trade During Twitch Stream
Tampa Bay Rays’ ace pitcher Blake Snell wasn’t a big fan of the Rays recent trading of Tommy Pham to the San Diego Padres for veteran outfielder Hunter Renfroe and infield prospect Xavier Edwards, and aired his thoughts during a recent stream on Twitch.
Snell, who is one of many MLB players trying to battle it out as one of the best Twitch channels, was streaming Call of Duty: Modern Warfare on one of his Twitch streams when the news initially broke regarding the trade, and offered his raw, unfiltered reaction.
Blake Snell lol pic.twitter.com/sjwTZNU5f6
— Red Sox Stats (@redsoxstats) December 6, 2019
Snell gripes that “We gave Pham up for Renfroe and a damn slapd–k prospect?”. While Snell went on to talk more on the trade, and even later apologized on the stream and told the the Tampa Bay Times he was just frustrated over losing Pham.
Pham was a big part of the Rays postseason run last season.
“I apologized on [Twitch] just saying I’m sorry I’m just upset we’re losing a guy like Tommy who helped our team in so many ways!” Snell said in a text to the Tampa Bay Times. “Didn’t mean any disrespect to Edwards who I didn’t know who he was until after I said that. I was just sad to lose Tommy. … Pretty much we could’ve got [Nationals rookie Juan] Soto, I was just sad to lose Tommy. It’s tough losing someone you respect so much and enjoy being around.”
“He actually reached out to me earlier today and explained that he was a good friend of Pham’s and he kind of just reacted in that moment and said what he said, but that he didn’t mean any disrespect or any hard feelings,” Edwards said. “I’ve got to take him at his word, and just looking forward to getting after it.”
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