Yesterday was a pretty big day across the Major League Baseball managerial landscape, with Tigers manager Jim Leyland announcing his retirement, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly publicly pressing for a multi-year contract and the Reds reportedly getting set to hire former pitching coach Bryan Price as their new skipper.
Leyland’s announcement was a bit of a surprise, but now opens up another managerial gig that arguably rivals the Nationals’ in terms of attractiveness. The Tigers have loads of talent, a stable front office and play in a weak division, and at least in the short term, appear to be set up in a pretty good spot.
That opening shouldn’t affect things too much from the Nationals’ perspective, however, as the Nats’ presumable top two managerial candidates - Matt Williams and Randy Knorr - aren’t considered to be options for the Tigers gig. Brad Ausmus, who also interviewed for the Nationals’ managerial opening, could be a candidate in Detroit, however.
Mattingly’s comments - essentially that he doesn’t want to return to the Dodgers unless he gets a new multi-year deal that prevents him from being a lame duck manager again in 2014 - leave his situation as one major wild card in the managerial carousel.
If the Dodgers decide not to give Mattingly an extension, he could end up on the open market. The Nats have expressed interest in the former Yankee great in the past (they attempted to interview him for their managerial opening after the 2009 season, but Mattingly passed on the opportunity), and if he’s available this offseason, they could make a run at Mattingly again.
Meanwhile, Price’s hire by the Reds means that former Nationals skipper Jim Riggleman missed out on his best chance to return to the big league managerial ranks since his surprise resignation during the 2011 season.
Riggleman spent last season managing the Reds’ Triple-A affiliate and has a long history with Cincinnati general manager Walt Jocketty. He was considered to be one of the leading candidates for the Reds opening, but came up short.
No word on whether Riggleman spent any more time “solving the world’s problems” at Caddies last night.
Meanwhile, Tim Dierkes and the folks over at MLBTradeRumors.com have laid out their 2014 salary projections for the Nationals’ eight arbitration-eligible players. Dierkes’ post was pretty timely; it came shortly after I had published a blog discussing how the rising salaries of Tyler Clippard and Drew Storen through arbitration could lead to one of those two getting traded this offseason.
Below are the eight Nats that are eligible for arbitration this offseason. Each player’s estimated service time is in parentheses, followed by MLBTradeRumors.com’s salary projections. I expect all eight players to be tendered contracts for 2014.
Jordan Zimmermann (4.154): $10.5MM
Ian Desmond (4.027): $6.9MM
Tyler Clippard (4.148): $6.2MM
Drew Storen (3.086): $3.6MM
Stephen Strasburg (3.118): $3.9MM
Ross Detwiler (4.002): $2.8MM
Wilson Ramos (3.047): $2.1MM
Ross Ohlendorf (4.170): $1.3MM
Zimmermann made $5.35 million through arbitration in 2013, and he’s set to see another hefty raise this offseason. Leading the National League with 19 wins and posting a 3.25 ERA over 213 1/3 innings will do that for you.
Desmond made $3.8 million this last season in his first year of arbitration, and his salary will continue to rise in a hurry the further he goes in the arbitration process. He’s under team control through the 2015 season, and like Zimmermann, could be a candidate for a contract extension.
As I had written yesterday, Clippard and Storen should command right around $10 million between them through arbitration, while two starters - Strasburg and Detwiler - are set to make somewhere around a collective $7 million.
Strasburg is arbitration-eligible for the first time, and his 2014 salary figure will surely be affected by the fact he only tallied eight wins this season. He’ll remain pretty affordable this upcoming season.
Ramos also will get his first crack at arbitration this offseason. The 31-year-old Ohlendorf has been through the process before, and the Nationals will likely tender the right-hander a contract after a solid 2013 season and bring him back as a candidate for the back-end of the rotation and long-relief option.