Royals designated hitter Kendrys Morales has changed agents, according to Jon Heyman of (via Twitter). He’ll now be represented by the Wasserman Media Group.

Morales has thrived in Kansas City, where he landed this winter on a two-year, $17MM deal. Over 639 plate appearances, Morales has slashed a robust .290/.362/.485 with 22 home runs.

That pre-2015 contract came despite a forgettable 2014 season in which Morales struggled badly after waiting to sign until the middle of the year. He was unable to find a suitable multi-year deal after declining a qualifying offer, precipitating the delay.

Represented at the time by the Boras Corporation, Morales ultimately landed with the Twins on a deal that ended up paying him about $7.5MM (a prorated $12MM annual salary). He was later dealt to the Mariners, but never got into a groove at the plate.

The Royals have made good on their bet, as Morales has returned to his typical level of offensive productivity. While he is all but limited to DH duties, that suits Kansas City just fine given the presence of Eric Hosmer at first.

Because they bought low, the Royals will owe Morales just $9MM next year in the slightly backloaded deal structure. His contract also includes an $11MM mutual option ($1.5MM buyout) for the 2017 campaign.

from MLB Trade Rumors

Top Diamondbacks baseball decision-makers Tony La Russa and Dave Stewart spoke with the press today as the offseason begins. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Arizona has begun at least exploratory discussions with center fielder A.J. Pollock about a contract extension, per Stewart, as Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic tweets. Pollock is entering his first of three seasons of arbitration eligibility. He has shown an openness to considering a deal, it seems, though he’s not going to be cheap given his incredible (and still under-appreciated) level of production over the last two years.
  • While the team has a theoretical opening in the closer role, which Brad Ziegler filled after the demotion of the since-traded Addison Reed, that doesn’t necessarily mean a 9th-inning specialist will be added. Stewart said that it’s possible the club will look to fill out the pen with depth rather than pursuing someone to tag with the closer label, as’s Steve Gilbert reports on Twitter.
  • Backstop Jarrod Saltalamacchia has indicated to the team that he’ll test the open market in search of a starting role, Jack Magruder of FOX Sports Arizona tweets. But Arizona would like to bring him back, presumably to make a continued pairing with Welington Castillo. That tandem was among the most productive in baseball over the season’s second half.
  • The D’Backs will replace pitching coach Mike Harkey with Mel Stottlemyre Jr., Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports on Twitter. La Russa, however, would only confirm that the team decided to part ways with Harkey, calling Stottlemyre a candidate, as Zach Buchanan of the Arizona Republic reports. Otherwise, the coaching staff under skipper Chip Hale will remain the same. That being said, the Padres have asked for and received permission to speak with third base coach Andy Green about San Diego’s open managerial position. Phil Nevin is another Arizona coach that has and could again draw interest from outside the organization.

from MLB Trade Rumors

As was the case with several other eliminated clubs, three key Giants figures addressed the media today, as Alex Pavlovic of was among those to report. CEO Larry Baer, GM Bobby Evans, and manager Bruce Bochy all offered comments as the club looks ahead to the offseason.

  • The one unmistakable theme of the day was pitching, says Pavlovic. Evans explained that the team would “be open-minded” as it approached a market full of rotation options. There is “mutual interest” between the team and deadline acquisition Mike Leake, said Evans, who noted that “the timing may not be as quick as we would both like.” It isn’t clear what other arms may hold appeal, and the brass declined to indicate whether it would be active at the top of the market. Ultimately, the GM indicated that he’ll consider creative options, and left open the possibility that Chris Heston could continue in a starting capacity, which would leave only one spot to fill. Regardless, it’ seem a good bet that the club will look to add at least two starting-capable pitchers.
  • Payroll, of course, is always a huge factor, and Baer indicated that it will continue to move up in moderate fashion, as Andrew Baggarly of the Mercury News tweets. Baer didn’t give much in the way of clues as to how much cash could go to free agent pitching, but did make clear that the team would canvas the market “exhaustively” and would look for the “right fit” above all else, per Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle (Twitter links).
  • Looking further down the line, Evans offered significant praise for 22-year-old righty Clayton Blackburn. He “turned a corner” this year, said Evans, and joins a group of other younger arms as near-future rotation options.
  • Center fielder Angel Pagan will undergo a minor knee surgery with hopes of setting himself up for a fully healthy 2016 season. Evans’ comments suggested that Pagan is viewed as an everyday option. He said that he didn’t see the veteran moving to a corner role and noted that it would be “a lot to ask” of youngster Kelby Tomlinson to slide into platoon duty in center given his relatively recent introduction to outfield play.
  • Nori Aoki‘s $5.5MM does not represent an easy decision for San Francisco, according to Evans. “It will be a close call,” said the GM. “We’re not ready to [make the decision] right now.”
  • The club has also yet to decide what to do with reliever Yusmeiro Petit. Evans called it “a hard choice to make if we decide to do anything different than tender” him in arbitration, but he’ll be building off of a $2.1MM salary. Skipper Bruce Bochy noted that the bullpen could use some reinforcement.
  • It is expected that the signing of outfielder Eddy Julio Martinez will be made official in the near-term, with Evans confirming the sides have an agreement. Evans indicated excitement over the ability to add the young Cuban player, who he suggested could one day man center for the club (via Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle, on Twitter).

from MLB Trade Rumors

Braves president of baseball operations John Hart and general manager John Coppolella addressed the media today in the wake of the regular season’s completion and discussed a number of roster-related topics heading into the winter. Here’s a rundown of some highlights, courtesy of the Twitter feed of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s David O’Brien…

  • Fixing the bullpen will be the team’s top priority this offseason, according to Hart, who adds that his secondary and tertiary priorities will be supplementing the offense and determining if there’s a need to make an addition that would upgrade the team’s starting pitching. The third goal listed will depend specifically on the health of presently injured starters Mike Minor, Manny Banuelos and Mike Foltynewicz, he added.
  • In the team’s initial talks with the Dodgers regarding Hector Olivera, Los Angeles initially asked for Andrelton Simmons to be included in the deal — a notion which the Braves quickly shot down.
  • Right-handed reliever Chris Withrow, who also came to the Braves in that trade, is expected to be ready for Spring Training 2016, per Hart. Another Tommy John victim, Shae Simmons, likely won’t be ready to join the Braves’ bullpen until sometime in May. Speaking generally, Coppolella noted the potential for significant improvement in 2016 simply by way of getting injured players back to full health. While the duo admitted that a 100-win team isn’t going to materialize next season, the expectation is a better record than the 67-95 mark with which they finished the season.
  • Though many reports have linked the Braves to acquiring young catching help this season, the team still “loves” Christian Bethancourt‘s skills behind the dish and consider him a part of the future plans. That said, the Braves still hope to re-sign A.J. Pierzynski, though they fear that an American League club that could offer some additional at-bats at designated hitter might swoop in and sign the veteran backstop.
  • The Braves will head into 2016 planning on Minor being healthy enough to return to the rotation. That seemingly rules out any possibility that the club would look to non-tender Minor following a lost season due to shoulder surgery. Minor won an arbitration hearing against the Braves last offseason and was awarded a $5.6MM salary. His pay can’t be cut any more than 20 percent via the arb process, and the more likely scenario would be that he simply agrees to an identical salary for the 2016 season.

from MLB Trade Rumors

Angels skipper Mike Scioscia has played his intentions surrounding the opt-out clause in his contract close to the vest, but he announced today at the press conference to introduce new GM Billy Eppler that he will not exercise his out clause and will return to the Angels’ dugout in 2016 (Twitter link via the Orange County Register’s Pedro Moura).

Scioscia, the game’s longest-tenured manager, has been at his current post since 2000. The 56-year-old previously signed a 10-year, $50MM extension that covers the 2009-18 seasons, meaning he has three years and $15MM to go on his current deal. As recently as last night, Scioscia publicly refused comment on the possibility of an opt out.

As Angels manager, Scioscia has compiled a 1416-1176 record and captured one American League Championship and one World Series (2002). The Halos also have six American League West Division Championships under his watch, not including that historic 2002 season, when they entered the postseason as a Wild Card club.

Scioscia has seen his name in headlines often this season, as a dispute between him and Jerry Dipoto was ultimately said to be the final straw that pushed Dipoto to resign as the team’s GM. (Dipoto has since been hired as the new general manager of the division-rival Mariners.) Asked about any possible concerns working with Scioscia because of that rift, Eppler said the matter is a “non-issue, probably because of where I worked,” referring to his time with the Yankees (quote via’s Alden Gonzalez, on Twitter).

from MLB Trade Rumors

Though there’s been some reported tension in the Baltimore front office, Orioles owner Peter Angelos was as direct as possible when asked by’s Roch Kubatko whether each would return in 2016. “Absolutely, yes,” Angelos replied. The owner went on to say that he would “probably urge them to sign for additional years” once their current contracts, which run through 2018, expire.

Additionally, Angelos stated that his intention is to re-sign first baseman Chris Davis — the highest profile among the six free agents that the Orioles stand to lose. (The others are Wei-Yin Chen, Matt Wieters, Darren O’Day, Gerardo Parra and Steve Pearce.) With a .262/.361/.562 batting line, 47 homers and solid first base defense (to say nothing of the versatility to fill in at a corner outfield position or third base, if needed), Davis has positioned himself as the free-agent market’s premier power threat and will command a contract well in excess of $100MM.

That type of spending has previously been out of Angelos’ comfort zone, as the Orioles have typically operated with a mid-range payroll and have never spent more than $85.5MM on a single contract (Adam Jones holds their current record). Last night, Duquette voiced a similar hope of retaining Davis, though he cautiously noted that the Orioles would be able to sign a contract that has a “semblance of reason” to it.

Kubatko also notes that Duquette and Showalter hope to retain the entirety of the coaching staff for the 2016 campaign, but that’s far from certain at this juncture. Specifically, he writes that pitching coach Dave Wallace has received some interest from other clubs.

from MLB Trade Rumors

The Athletics announced this afternoon that they have promoted general manager Billy Beane to the role of executive vice president of baseball operations. Additionally, David Forst has been promoted from assistant general manager to the role of general manager, thus filling Beane’s previous title. The moves were not unexpected, as the San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser reported them to be likely back in early August.

from MLB Trade Rumors