When the White Sox named Chris Getz their new director of player development back in October, it was easy to scratch that self-loathing itch by saying that Getz was qualified for the job simply because he was drafted, developed and played for the White Sox. The fact that he worked as a baseball operations assistant in player development for the Kansas City Royals eased some of that backlash, although he was only on the job for two seasons.
The Indians, who seem to know what they’re doing when it comes to prospects, have hired somebody with an even thinner resume — baseball-wise, at least.
On December 8, the Cleveland Indians’ Web site published a brief, 135-word story announcing James Harris as the club’s new farm director.
While filling such vacancies is typically not headline news, it was a modest announcement for one of the more inspired front-office additions of the offseason.
Why is it interesting?
Harris never played baseball professionally, in college, or high school.
In fact, Harris has never coached the sport at any level.
He has one year of experience in professional baseball, which was last year with the Pirates as a special assistant to baseball operations. He now replaces Carter Hawkins, who was promoted to assistant general manager in Cleveland.
Harris has a sports background, but it’s in football. He played college football at Nebraska, and became the program’s director of sports nutrition afterward. He then held a similar post with Oregon and the Philadelphia Eagles under Chip Kelly. Harris finally jumped to baseball with the Pirates after the Eagles fired Kelly.
The Indians are looking at Harris to lean heavily on this background to get more out of their prospects. Besides the emphasis on nutrition/hydration/energy/fatigue (with help from wearable technology), he says baseball could also stand to do more work with video, which football preparation hinges on.
The former is of more interest to me, because I’ve always been a little baffled by the eating habits some players develop. The minor-league lifestyle and pay scale has plenty to do with it, but the number of empty Red Bull/Monster/etc. cans in the bullpen at the end of MLB games suggests that money alone doesn’t conquer it.
The Indians could see little to no difference from this hiring, but it’s cool that a team is giving it some thought at that level. And either way, it should get Getz off your hook, if he was ever on it.
Speaking of Getz, he’ll undergo a crash course with some of his more prominent bats at Camelback Ranch starting Monday. Scheduled to attend are Yoan Moncada, Zack Collins, Alex Call, Jameson Fisher, Kevan Smith and Charlie Tilson. Jason Coats was also in the mix before he was designated for assignment, so that could be awkward.
MLB Trade Rumors is taking Cabrera at his word, as he’s the source of the story in Nicaragua’s La Prensa. Cabrera, now 30, was an effective shortstop for the Padres over 2012-13. Then he was suspended for 50 games due to his connection with the Biogenesis scandal, and it’s all been downhill from there. A late-season marijuana arrest in 2014 ended his days with the Padres, and he bounced to Baltimore and San Francisco in 2015. He didn’t play in 2016, but he was arrested. Take it away, Google Translate:
Former big leaguer The Everth Cabrera was arrested Thursday in his hometown, Nandaime, for an altercation with a citizen.
Cabrera was in one of the streets of Nandaime market looking for food, reports TN8, when a citizen allegedly insulted him, so they came to struggle.
Cabrera and the person he discussed were transferred to the station in that city, the television channel announced through its website.
The Expellotero of the San Diego Fathers was detained for several hours, until he was released, after coming to terms with the man he was arguing with.
(“Padres” is kind of a weird name for a team.)
The White Sox could use a high-minors middle infielder in the event they trade one of their second basemen. Yoan Moncada will be starting at second in Charlotte, but Eddy Alvarez is atop the pile of “true” shortstops. Carlos Sanchez could play there if that’s how the depth chart shakes out, but the Sox might rather move him to another organization rather than block him for another season.
Zach Putnam enjoyed the focus the middle innings received during the postseason. He hopes to be a part of them in 2017 after undergoing surgery to remove bone spurs from his elbow late last season. Scott Merkin says Putnam is throwing 120 feet in his rehab program with no issues thus far.
Matt Swartz explains how his system sees Todd Frazier getting a $5.25 million raise in his final arbitration year.
A Hall of Fame voting update: Jeff Bagwell (91.7 percent), Tim Raines (91.2 percent), Ivan Rodriguez (81.8 percent) are above the bar, and Vladimir Guerrero (74.6 percent) is right underneath. He wasn’t helped by Murray Chass’ blank ballot.
And speaking of updates, the most recent word on Jose Quintana trade talks is still Jon Morosi’s tweet from Friday: