Again, Harrison Bader is showing why the Yankees need to try to bring him back as a free agent after 2023. The sides delayed discussions for now, but the Yankees entered Thursday having gone 15-6 since Bader’s return after they started 2023 with a 15-15 record.
Bader is one of the best defensive center fielders in MLB and an extremely clutch (.833 slugging percentage in the 2022 playoffs) and improving hitter.
He told me “it’s not up to me,” or words to that effect when I remarked the Yankees should extend him. But here’s my guess: as a native New Yorker, Upper East Side resident and lifelong Yankees fan who loves the spotlight, he’d be happy to stay.
Brandon Nimmo ($162 million, eight years) is more consistent offensively, but there just aren’t great center fielders who do damage at bat.
Word is that the Rockies could be interested in hiring former Royals president Dayton Moore in a high-ranking role, but probably not as general manager because ownership is believed supportive of Bill Schmidt. (For the record, Moore said he hadn’t heard that. He has now though.)
Moore, a rare small-market GM to win a World Series, was shockingly let go by new Royals owner John Sherman. (It’s believed Moore’s scouting background wasn’t what Sherman wanted. Like a lot of owners, he seeks even more analytics.)
Former Brewers GM David Stearns, who’s sitting the year out following the misguided Josh Hader trade, though generally he did excellent work, is a rumored potential candidate for a top Boston job if the Red Sox falter. Stearns, a New York native, of course also has been linked to the Mets, but most likely as an add. GM Billy Eppler is held in high regard and is close with Stearns.
The Phillies are a potential fit for first baseman Eric Hosmer, though Darick Hall is pretty close. It doesn’t seem worth risking Bryce Harper at first seven months after Tommy John surgery.
For all the criticism of the Padres’ Juan Soto, he has a 154 OPS plus, only two points lower than his 156 career mark (which is one point higher than those of Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Joe DiMaggio).
St. Louis has hitters galore and rivals believe Tyler O’Neill could be available.
Julio Urias has begun to play catch, but may still be three to four weeks away from returning to the Dodgers. The left-hander is such a gamer, he pitched against the Cardinals last week at less than 100 percent, a mistake.
Walker Buehler hopes to return to the Dodgers in September, but it wouldn’t necessarily be as a starter.
The White Sox’s Liam Hendriks, cancer free after battling Stage 4 lymphoma, is scheduled to throw again Friday, and could be activated soon. Great story!