• AL East Notes: Anthopoulos, Samardzija, Farrell, Lovullo, Red Sox

    Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos’ contract expires on October 31, but he doesn’t want his status to be a story, writes John Lott of the National Post. Both Anthopoulos and Rogers Communications have expressed a desire to continue working together. Given Toronto’s success this season, an extension seems like a formality. While Anthopoulos could potentially earn more via free agency, he says “money has never motivated me in the slightest bit.

    Here’s more from the AL East:

    • Jeff Samardzija could be on the Yankees radar, writes Brendan Kuty of Kuty is referencing a previous report via CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman. Kuty adds that GM Brian Cashman nearly acquired Samardzija from the Cubs in 2014, but he was outbid by the A’s. New York’s rotation will include Masahiro Tanaka, CC Sabathia, Luis Severino, and Michael Pineda. Three of those names have battled various ailments while Severino has just 10 major league starts under his belt. Conservatively, the club should probably look to add two starters over the offseason.
    • The Red Sox are in a difficult position regarding manager John Farrell and interim manager Torey Lovullo, writes Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe. Lovullo deserves to manage in the majors, but the club has committed to allowing Farrell to return once treatment for his lymphoma is complete. However, there is a chance Farrell may not be healthy enough to take over next year. Ideally, the Red Sox would love to have Lovullo available to step in. The club could opt to deny Lovullo the ability to interview with other clubs, but that’s an uncommon step in today’s game. Usually, off-field personnel are allowed to interview elsewhere if  it involves a promotion.
    • From Lovullo’s perspective, he hopes to manage again in 2016, writes Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald. He’s happy in Boston, but intends to pursue managerial opportunities elsewhere if necessary. The Red Sox have responded well under Lovullo’s stewardship which should make him a popular target with other clubs.
    • The Red Sox have been one of the best teams in the second half of the season, but was it for real, wonders Joel Sherman of the New York Post. The club has a few excellent, young assets like Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts. Sherman highlights three big storylines to watch in Boston. Hanley Ramirez is being converted to first base, but he may be traded too. The situation with Farrell shouldn’t be left to linger too long. Lastly, the Red Sox are expected to finally acquire an ace – probably via free agency.
  • NL East Notes: Scherzer, Harang, Pierzynski, Matz, Ichiro

    Nationals ace Max Scherzer has completed his second no-hitter of the season. The Mets fell victim to an utterly dominating outing. Scherzer fanned 17 hitters. The only base runner reached via error. The win actually has some postseason implications too. The Dodgers are now just one win away from securing home field advantage against New York. Scherzer no-hit the Pirates earlier this year. He struck out 10 in that contest. This was also the second time the Mets were no-hit (Chris Heston).

    • Phillies starter Aaron Harang has yet to decide if he’ll play in 2016, tweets Jake Kaplan of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Harang, 37, posted a 4.86 ERA with 5.72 K/9 and 2.70 BB/9 over 166 and 2/3 innings. Through his first 11 starts, he had a 2.02 ERA and 3.10 FIP, but injuries soon sapped his production. Harang will consult with his family in San Diego before making a decision.
    • Newly minted Phillies president Andy MacPhail is part of a long baseball tradition, writes Frank Fitzpatrick of the Philadelphia Inquirer. His father, former baseball executive Lee MacPhail once described his son as decisive, adding “he never second-guesses himself.” The Phillies will hope that decisiveness results in a rapid turnaround after a miserable season. If you’re looking to learn more about the MacPhail dynasty, Fitzpatrick provides a thorough background.
    • Against all odds, Nationals infielder Dan Uggla won a roster spot in Spring Training and never gave it up, writes Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post. Uggla didn’t earn much playing time with the Nationals. Including two plate appearances today, he’s hit .183/.298/.300 in 141 plate appearances. Uggla believes his vision and health are back to where they were in his Marlins days. While it’s unclear if Uggla will find a guaranteed contract this offseason, multiple sources with Washington praised his clubhouse presence.
    • The Braves hope to re-sign catcher A.J. Pierzynski, reports David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The soon-to-be 39-year-old had a remarkably productive season after signing a one-year, $2MM contract over the offseason. He’s hit .300/.339/.430 with nine home runs. Pierzynski figures to receive some attention in free agency, but teams may be wary of his age and reputation.
    • Mets starter Steven Matz is starting to build a reputation as injury prone, writes Andy Martino of the New York Daily News. Personally, it seems too soon to worry over seemingly minor injuries – even if they are poorly timed. However, one rival executive wondered “is he one of those guys where there is always going to be an issue?” For now, the Mets have to decide if and how they want to use him in the postseason. However, it’s possible the club could use him as trade bait over the offseason given their rotation strength. His trade value will be at a low point if rival clubs view him as an injury risk.
    • Marlins outfielder Ichiro Suzuki aims to play 10 more years, writes David Waldstein of the New York Times. The former Mariners star has played in 150 games for Miami due to a serious of injuries in the outfield. He’s posted a .233/.286/.284 line over 431 plate appearances. Advanced defensive measures look favorably upon his performance in the outfield. While another 10 years feels like a stretch, Ichiro should receive ample opportunity to reach 3,000 hits. He’s currently 65 shy.
  • West Notes: Nevin, Puig, Iwakuma, Dipoto

    The Padres are considering Phil Nevin for their managerial job, tweet Scott Miller of Bleacher Report. Nevin, currently managing for the Diamondbacks Triple-A affiliate, also played for the Padres from 1999 through 2005. Per Miller, he is “among those under consideration.” Miller also says that current interim manager Pat Murphy isn’t expected to return.

    • The Dodgers have reinstated outfielder Yasiel Puig from the disabled list, the team announced via press release. Puig will man right field and bat sixth tonight. The 24-year-old slugger has battled injury this season. The most recent malady was a right hamstring strain. He’s managed just 306 plate appearances this year. His .256/.324/.440 batting line is solid (112 wRC+) but falls well short of expectations. With the playoffs right around the corner, Puig will have two games to tune up. Manager Don Mattingly doesn’t plan to start him tomorrow, but he’ll be available off the bench, per Bill Plunkett of the Orange Country Register (via Twitter).
    • Hisashi Iwakuma looked at yesterday’s start as a normal appearance, writes Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune. Iwakuma, a free agent after the season, says he prefers to remain in Seattle, but he is seeking a multi-year deal. Mariners officials would also like to re-sign him, calling it a priority. Iwakuma had another solid season despite making just 20 starts. He posted a 3.54 ERA with 7.70 K/9 and 1.46 BB/9.
    • Newly installed Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto has a busy offseason ahead of him, writes Dutton. The club’s farm system has failed to produce a top talent in recent seasons. For that reason (and others), industry insiders expect Dipoto to lure Angels assistant GM Scott Servais away L.A. Dipoto also has to make a quick decision about manager Lloyd McClendon and build depth. Lengthening the rotation is a stated goal so an extension for Iwakuma appears likely.
  • Santiago Casilla's 2016 Option Vests

    Santiago Casilla closed out the Giants win today for his 37th save. More importantly, he triggered his $6.5MM vesting option for 2016. As we learned earlier this season, Casilla needed to finish 55 games for the option to vest. He was already guaranteed a $1MM buyout if it did not vest, so he secured an additional $5.5MM today.

    Casilla, 35,  had a strong season as the Giants closer with a 2.83 ERA, 9.58 K/9, and 3.61 BB/9. The strikeout rate was the best of his career. Over 496 career innings, Casilla has a 3.16 ERA, 7.94 K/9, 3.92 BB/9, and 95 saves.

    Following the game, manager Bruce Bochy indicated that Casilla’s option would have been picked up even if it hadn’t vested, tweets Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News. Indeed, the decision was a no-brainer so long as Casilla finished the season healthy. The additional $5.5MM payment is well below market value for an established closer.

  • Twins Notes: Hunter, Pitching, Cotts

    The Twins were eliminated from the playoffs earlier today, notes Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (video). Heyman looked at possible offseason plans for the club. The lineup is youthful and includes top prospects Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano, and former top prospect Aaron Hicks. Eddie Rosario also had a strong season, and Max Kepler is waiting in the wings for an opportunity. The future may be bright, but experience is an issue. Minnesota may benefit from to re-signing Torii Hunter (more on that in a moment), but may need to look at him as a fourth outfielder.

    Here’s more from Minnesota:

    • Heyman also highlights the pitching staff as an area that needs improvement. The club will lose Mike Pelfrey to free agency, and he had a deceptively decent season. They’ll hope to get full, healthy seasons out of Ricky Nolasco and Ervin Santana next year. Another veteran in the Pelfrey mold could make sense. Personally, I wouldn’t be shocked to see them compete for a second tier starter like Mike Leake. The club could look at themselves as the 2016 version of the Cubs. The bullpen also needs work. Glen Perkins is a fine anchor, but he’s missed time at the end of the last two seasons with a neck issue.
    • Hunter remains undecided about retiring, he tells reporters including Rhett Bollinger of (via Twitter). “This possibly could be my last game. And there’s a really good chance.Betsy Halfand of has more detail. Hunter says he would have announced his retirement months ago if the Twins had suffered through another futile. However, the possibility that they could return to the postseason next year has delayed his decision. He’ll likely wait until after the college football season (both of his sons play) before making an announcement.
    • Hunter does say he’s not interested in a part time role, “Eighty one games? I’m not coming back for that.” If the Twins want to re-sign him, they may need to get creative with some of their younger players. The 40-year-old is coming off his first below average offensive campaign since 2003. He did manage to hit 22 home runs over 563 plate appearances. An unusually low .257 BABIP looks like the culprit behind his poor average and on base percentage.
    • Reliever Neal Cottswould love” to return to the Twins next season, writes Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press. Cotts, 35, signed a one-year, $3MM contract with the Brewers last offseason. The Twins acquired him in mid-August. With Minnesota, he posted a decent 3.95 ERA with 5.93 K/9, and 2.63 BB/9 in 13 and 2/3 innings. Presumably, he would require a similar commitment to re-sign for 2016.