The Yankees’ season is over, but the injury news continues to pour in. Longtime general manager Brian Cashman made a series of announcements during a season wrap-up press conference on Thursday, the most significant of which involved center fielder Aaron Hicks.
Hicks, who dealt with an injury to his right (throwing) elbow down the stretch, is set to undergo Tommy John surgery before the end of the month. He’ll require 8-10 months of recovery time, which likely takes him out of the mix for the Yankees until the second half next year.
Hicks, 30, appeared in just 59 games this season while batting .235/.325/.443 with 12 homers and 36 RBI. He missed the final two months of the regular season amid the prospect of Tommy John surgery, but he was able to return during the ALCS against the Astros and even hit a crucial three-run homer against Justin Verlander in a Game 5 victory. However, the decision was made to go ahead with the surgery now rather than have him ramp things up in the spring and potentially lose an entire season if there was a setback.
With Hicks out of the mix, the Yankees will be more inclined to bring back Brett Gardner for another year. The 36-year-old is due to become a free agent this winter after slugging a career-high 28 homers with a .251/.325/.503 batting line over 141 games. Interest appears mutual, as Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reported Thursday that a one-year deal is “likely.”
*In less serious news, Masahiro Tanaka underwent arthroscopic surgery on Wednesday to remove bone spurs from his pitching elbow. He should be good to go for the start of spring training.
Tanaka, who turns 31 next week, posted a 4.45 ERA and 149/40 K/BB ratio over 182 innings during the regular season. He had a 2.25 ERA over three postseason starts before the Yankees’ exit from the ALCS. 2020 is an important year for Tanaka as he finishes out the final season of his seven-year, $155 million contract with the Yankees.
*Luke Voit underwent surgery to address bilateral core muscle injuries. Like Tanaka, he’s expected to be ready for spring training.
Voit suffered the core muscle injury on July 30 and missed a month before struggling down the stretch with a .200/.319/.338 batting line and two homers over 94 plate appearances. He had 19 homers and an .885 OPS in 94 games before going down with the injury, so Yankees fans and fantasy players should expect a return to form with improved health in 2020.
Phillies Ready for a Cup of Joe
Two years ago, the Phillies opted for a manager with little in the way of experience. Now they are headed wildly in the other direction.
After interviewing a trio of candidates, the Phillies have officially hired Joe Girardi as their next manager. He ultimately beat out Dusty Baker and Buck Showalter for the post. As announced by the Phillies on Thursday afternoon, Girardi will receive a three-year contract with a club option for 2023. He’ll replace Gabe Kapler, who compiled a 161-163 record over two seasons on the job.
Kapler was the choice of Phillies general manager Matt Klentak as part of an effort to push the club into a new era of analytics. His firing wasn’t an indictment on analytics as it was a response to a pair of disappointing finishes. The Phillies were actually a first-place team during the first half of 2018 before falling apart with a 27-40 record after the All-Star break. Expectations were sky-high this spring, but the club finished in fourth place in the NL East despite a bunch of high-profile additions, including Bryce Harper, J.T. Realmuto, Jean Segura, Andrew McCutchen, and David Robertson.
Harper and Realmuto largely lived up to expectations this year, but Segura underperformed and McCutchen and Robertson missed the majority of the season due to injuries. The defense was much-improved from 2018, but they were in the middle of the pack in other areas. Of note, Aaron Nola took a step back from a breakout year and Rhys Hoskins completely collapsed over the final two months.
Girardi obviously comes with plenty of gravitas. He managed 10 seasons with the Yankees — including one World Series championship — and one with the Marlins. He has a knack for getting the most out of his teams and figures to have a different approach in the clubhouse and in his application of analytics. Perhaps most importantly, he’s seen and done it all in the most intense baseball market. There’s a steadiness here that Kapler just couldn’t boast. The Phillies should be in a better position in 2020 because of it.
Padres Opt for Tingler
The Phillies weren’t the only team to decide on their next manager on Thursday, as multiple reports indicate that the Padres are set to hire Jayce Tingler. Jeff Passan of ESPN was first with the news of the hire, which hasn’t been confirmed by the team. Tingler has been considered the favorite in recent days over the more experienced Ron Washington. Cubs bench coach Mark Loretta and former Angels and Tigers manager Brad Ausmus were also interviewed for the job.
Tingler comes via the Rangers, which explains the connection with Padres general manager A.J. Preller. The 38-year-old Tingler held the position of major league development coordinator this year, but he’s also served as minor league field coordinator, assistant general manager, and interim bench coach. While he has never been a skipper in the majors, he has managed in the Arizona Rookie League, the Dominican Summer League, and the Dominican Winter League.
Four years ago, Preller went with another first-time MLB manager in Andy Green. The club never won more than 71 games in a season during his tenure, as he compiled a 274-366 record before getting the boot in September. The Padres haven’t had a winning season since winning 90 games back in 2010, but Tingler still finds himself in an appealing situation with the likes of Manny Machado, Fernando Tatis, Jr. and Chris Paddack in the fold and some promising prospects on the way. There’s also the excellent weather and the pending return of the brown uniforms, if you’re into that.
Quick Hits: Per multiple reports, Rays VP of baseball operations Chaim Bloom has emerged as a serious candidate for the general manager job with the Red Sox … With Anibal Sanchez lined up for Game 3 of the World Series on Friday, Patrick Corbin will follow him in Game 4 … According to Jon Heyman of MLB Network, Jake Arrieta will not exercise the opt-out clause in his contract with the Phillies … The Cubs officially announced David Ross as their next manager on Thursday … Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reports that Astros bench coach Joe Espada interviewed for the Giants’ managerial opening during the World Series off-day on Thursday … The Marlins are hiring Twins hitting coach James Rowson as bench coach and “offensive coordinator,” reports Jeff Passan of ESPN … John Hicks has opted for free agency after being outrighted to Triple-A by the Tigers … The Astros fired assistant general manager Brandon Taubman on Thursday after an incident targeting and taunting female reporters following the team’s ALCS win over the Yankees last weekend … Indians third base prospect Nolan Jones underwent surgery Wednesday on his right thumb, but the expectation is that he will be ready for spring training.