Dodgers part ways with manager Don Mattingly

(Al Bello/Getty)
(Al Bello/Getty)

As expected, the Dodgers and manager Don Mattingly have parted ways, according to multiple reports. It’s being called a mutual decision, though Mattingly had a year left on his contract, so the front office kinda nudged him out the door.

Mattingly’s job security has been in question for probably two years now. It seemed like only a matter of time until he was let go so the new front office could bring in their own manager. By all accounts Mattingly and the Andrew Friedman-led regime were on good terms though.

The Yankees do have several openings on the coach staff — they fired hitting coach Jeff Pentland over the weekend — and I’m certain we’ll hear Mattingly mentioned as a candidate. Joel Sherman says Mattingly wants to manage though, and that won’t happen here. Joe Girardi‘s entrenched as manager.

The Yankees also have a front office opening with assistant GM Billy Eppler leaving for the Angels. I’m not sure if that would interest Mattingly or vice versa. Anyway, expect to hear some stuff about the Yankees and Mattingly in the coming days and weeks. It’s inevitable.

Tuesday Open Thread

We’ve got ourselves some more afternoon baseball today, so I’m going to post the open thread a little earlier than usual again. That’s the new Star Wars trailer above in case you’ve somehow missed it. I saw the original three movies but not the last three, though I might try to catch up after the postseason is over. I dunno. We’ll see.

Here is today’s playoff schedule:

  • Royals at Blue Jays (Young vs. Dickey): 4pm ET on FOX Sports 1 (Royals lead 2-1)
  • Mets at Cubs (deGrom vs. Hendricks): 8pm ET on TBS (Mets lead 2-0)

Both series have been really entertaining so far. Hopefully the Cubs can eke out a few wins in the coming days to extend the series. Sweeps are lame. The Devils and Islanders are both playing tonight as well, so talk about those games or the postseason games. Or the Star Wars trailer. Have at it.

Phillies trade Chase Utley to Dodgers

(Brian Garfinkel/Getty)
(Brian Garfinkel/Getty)

The Phillies traded franchise icon Chase Utley to the Dodgers for two prospects on Wednesday night, both teams announced. Utley had ten-and-five no-trade protection and agreed to a deal to his hometown team. Reports indicate his preference was to go to a contender in Southern California, which limited his market to the Dodgers and Angels, basically.

The Yankees reportedly had some interest in Utley — or at least they had been scouting him in recent weeks — which makes sense because they haven’t gotten a whole lot from the second base position this year. Utley is hitting a weak .217/.284/.333 (66 wRC+) on the season, but he’s been much better since coming off the DL, going 15-for-31 (.484) with five doubles and one homer in eight games. He missed about seven weeks with an ankle problem.

For all intents and purposes, Utley was the final second baseman on the trade market. (The Marlins don’t seem too inclined to move Martin Prado, at least not at a reasonable price.) If Utley truly only wanted to go to Southern California, then the Yankees had no shot at him. It seemed like a long shot the whole time anyway. Like it not, Stephen Drew‘s the second baseman going forward.

Reports: David Price heading to Blue Jays

(Leon Halip/Getty)
(Leon Halip/Getty)

According to multiple reports, the Blue Jays are set to acquire David Price from the Tigers. Top pitching prospect Daniel Norris and top outfield prospect Anthony Alford are part of the package heading back to Detroit. It’s unclear what other players are involved at this point.

The Blue Jays acquired Troy Tulowitzki a few days ago and they haven’t been to the postseason since 1993, so they have every reason to go all-in. GM Alex Anthopoulos is surely feeling the heat. Toronto is seven games back of the Yankees in the AL East — they still have 13 head-to-head games remaining — but only two games back of the second wildcard spot. Their +100 run differential is the best in the AL and second best in MLB.

The Yankees reportedly pursued Price while remaining unwilling to part with their top prospects, Aaron Judge and Luis Severino specifically, meaning they had little chance to acquire the ace left-hander. I think they should have made their top prospects available, particularly Severino, but the Yankees disagreed. I’m just a guy with a blog. What do I know. Price sure would have looked nice in pinstripes though.

With Price, Scott Kazmir, and Johnny Cueto off the board, the best available pitchers are Mike Leake, Yovani Gallardo, and Ian Kennedy. Jeff Samardzija and Hisashi Iwakuma may or may not be available as well. The Yankees need pitching, it’s becoming more obvious with each passing game, so hopefully they reel someone in before the deadline tomorrow. Whoever it is, they won’t be as good as Price.

Update: Alford is not in the trade. The Tigers are getting three lefties: Norris, Matt Boyd, and Jairo Labourt. An equivalent Yankees package would be something like Severino, Bryan Mitchell, and healthy Ian Clarkin. Ballpark estimate, not exact.

Second base option off the board: Zobrist goes to Royals

(Thearon W. Henderson/Getty)
(Thearon W. Henderson/Getty)

The best second base option is officially off the board. The Athletics have traded Ben Zobrist to the Royals for pitching prospects Sean Manaea and Aaron Brooks, the club announced. Oakland is in full blown sell mode, having now traded Zobrist, Tyler Clippard, and Scott Kazmir. The Royals, meanwhile, are all-in with Zobrist and Johnny Cueto.

The Yankees were said to have interest in Zobrist for the last several weeks and it made perfect sense. Stephen Drew hasn’t hit all year and Zobrist, a switch-hitter with contact skills and defensive versatility, has put up a .268/.354/.447 (125 wRC+) batting line with more walks (12.2%) than strikeouts (9.6%) this year. His batting average is higher than Drew’s on-base percentage (.263).

The Royals paid a fair price for two months plus one October of Zobrist. Brooks is an up-an-down depth arm, a David Phelps type but not quite that good, while Manaea is a high-end pitching prospect with a history of injury issues (hip and abdomen, mostly). Baseball America ranked him as the 81st best prospect in the game before season.

Going from Drew to Zobrist was the biggest possible position player upgrade the Yankees could have realistically made at the trade deadline this year. (#RealTalk: Going from Drew to Zobrist is a bigger upgrade than going from Jose Reyes to Troy Tulowitzki.) The best available second base option now is, uh, Martin Prado? Egads.

Holy Moly! Blue Jays reportedly acquire Troy Tulowitzki

(Harry How/Getty)
(Harry How/Getty)

Well this is a blockbuster. According to both Ken Rosenthal and Jon Heyman, the Blue Jays have acquired Troy Tulowitzki from the Rockies. No word on what Toronto is sending to Colorado, but I’m sure the package involves many top prospects. Wowza.

The Blue Jays already have a pretty good middle infield with Jose Reyes and Devon Travis, but Tulo is way better than both, so yeah. I wonder if Travis is in the package going to the Rockies with Reyes sliding over to second. He played second earlier in his career in deference to Kaz Matsui, remember.

Either way, the Blue Jays have emerged as the Yankees’ biggest threat in the AL East since the All-Star break, and they just got a whole lot better. The best offense in baseball got better, I should say. Toronto still needs pitching, but Tulowitzki is a major addition and will help a ton this year and in the future.

Update: Rosenthal says Reyes, not Travis, is in the package going to the Rockies. Unexpected! It’s Reyes and a bunch of minor league guys for Tulo. I wonder if the Rockies will flip Reyes somewhere else now, sorta like when the Marlins had Mike Piazza.

Rosenthal: Royals acquiring Johnny Cueto from Reds

(Joe Robbins/Getty)
(Joe Robbins/Getty)

According to Ken Rosenthal, the Royals are set to acquire ace right-hander Johnny Cueto from the Reds. The two sides were close to a deal yesterday before things fell apart when Cincinnati got scared by something they found in the medicals of another player involved in the deal. Apparently the two sides were able to work out a trade anyway.

The Yankees had reportedly been scouting Cueto for weeks, which makes total sense. He’s both a great pitcher and also a rental, making him a perfect fit for a team in need of rotation help and wary of taking on long-term deals. It’s unclear if the Yankees ever had serious talks with the Reds about Cueto. We also don’t know who the Royals are sending to Cincy, so I can’t offer up a comparable Yankees package.

Even with Cueto and Scott Kazmir (traded to the Astros) off the board, there are still plenty of pitchers on the trade market. Cole Hamels is the big name, but he comes with a hefty contract. Jeff Samardzija, Mike Leake, Ian Kennedy, and Mat Latos are other rental options. The Tigers remain undecided about whether to trade David Price. The package for Cueto will give us an idea of what it would take to acquire Price, who would look might fine in pinstripes.

Update: Cueto was traded for left-handers Brandon Finnegan, John Lamb, and Cody Reed, both clubs announced. I’m not sure there’s a good Yankees equivalent. Jacob Lindgren, Manny Banuelos if they still had him, and Brady Lail? That doesn’t really work. Eh, whatever.