Quick Hits: Tigers, Pederson, Bieber, McKenzie, Rockies

The Tigers could potentially have a new general manager in place before the end of the season, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports via X.  It was almost exactly a year ago that Scott Harris was hired as the club’s new president of baseball operations, though the GM role (effectively Harris’ top lieutenant) has remained vacant, despite an ongoing search and the fact that Detroit has three assistant GMs in Sam Menzin, Rob Metzler, and Jay Sartori.  It remains to be seen if the Tigers might promote from within or look to someone from outside the organization to act as Harris’ official second-in-command.

There hasn’t been much news on the GM search or Harris’ hiring preferences, as he said back in June that the process had taken a back seat to more pressing matters, such as preparation for the amateur draft and presumably the trade deadline in short order afterwards.  It could also be that Harris has someone in particular in mind who is currently under contract with another organization, and had to wait until closer to the end of the 2023 season to engage in negotiations.  Or, since Harris was viewing his first season with the Tigers as an evaluation process on and off the field, he might have a better sense of what he wants in a GM after a year of gauging the club’s pluses and minuses.

More from around the baseball world…

  • After two seasons with the Giants, Joc Pederson is eager for a third, telling the San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser that “I really like it here.  It’s a great group of guys.  I love the way they run the organization.”  Pederson’s big 2022 campaign led the Giants to issue him a qualifying offer after the season, and Pederson opted to take the one-year, $19.65MM rather than test the market in search of a longer or more lucrative deal.  Pederson is again eligible for free agency this winter, and will face a more limited market since his 2023 numbers (.245/.355/.421 with 13 homers over 383 plate appearances) have been more good than great, and Pederson brings little batting value against left-handed pitching or defensive value as a corner outfielder.  That said, Pederson also has some of the best hard-contact metrics of any hitter in the league, and since his .373 xwOBA outpaces his .340 wOBA by such a significant margin, there could be multiple teams interested in seeing if he can have better luck in 2024.  San Francisco might be such a team, since the Giants’ love of platoons might be create a natural part-time for Pederson.
  • Guardians starters Shane Bieber and Triston McKenzie each started rehab assignments with Double-A Akron this week, with Bieber’s next outing tentatively slated for tomorrow and McKenzie on Tuesday, as Guards manager Terry Francona told reporters (including Ryan Lewis of the Akron Beacon Journal).  Both pitchers are on the 60-day injured list, as McKenzie has been out since June due to a right elbow sprain and Bieber since July because of right elbow inflammation.  With only two weeks left in the regular season, the timing will be tight for either pitcher to make it back, and Cleveland’s dimming hopes at the AL Central title also make it possible that the team could just shut down Bieber or McKenzie out of caution.  However, the two right-handers are still aiming to return, since as McKenzie put it, returning after the long IL stint would allow him to “go into the offseason with a calm mind.”
  • The Rockies’ seemingly nonstop flood of pitching injuries has continued today, with Kyle Freeland leaving today’s start after three innings due to what the club later announced as a mild right oblique strain.  This came after Colorado already placed right-hander Peter Lambert on the 15-day IL prior to their doubleheader with the Giants, as Lambert is suffering from right biceps tendinitis.  Lambert has a 5.36 ERA over 87 1/3 innings this year, after missing most of the previous three seasons due to injuries.  Freeland has a 5.07 ERA and he leads the Rox with 155 2/3 innings pitched, though he also previously missed a bit of time on the IL with a minor shoulder issue in July.  It is safe to assume that Lambert’s 2023 campaign is over, and Freeland is also probably done for the year unless his oblique strain ends up being very minor.

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