Rounding up front-office shakeups (cont.)
Farrell's call to stay in Boston surprises Indians
The Indians were said by one person familiar with their situation to have been "stunned" by Farrell's decision to remain pitching coach with the Red Sox. Farrell is thought to be paid about $750,000 in his current job, and is said to be appreciative of the pay raise given to him when the Mariners showed interest in hiring him to manage last year.
Farrell has a clause in his contract that prohibits him from leaving to be manage elsewhere. But he didn't even try to test it because he likes his situation in Boston so much. Cleveland is now said to have a long list of names that includes Valentine and their own minor league manager Torey Lovullo. Valentine also may be pricey for the Indians, who are cash-strapped and already committed to about $1.3 million for the fired Eric Wedge.
Bagwell, Biggio called by Astros; add Baylor to mix
Astros owner Drayton McLane has contacted Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio to gauge their interest in managing the Astros, but they put off any serious discussion with the Astros until Houston has decided how serious it is about the two Astros icons. Axelrod, who represents both ex-Astros stars, indicated that he believed both men could have interest in such a job at some point, but it's not known whether the timing is right for either. Biggio made a commitment to coach his son's Houston high school team.
Bagwell and Biggio are two names on a rather interesting list the Astros have put together. According to the Houston Chronicle, temporary manager Dave Clark, Astros coach Al Pedrique, Red Sox coach Tim Bogar, former major league manager Jim Fregosi and ex-Nationals manager Manny Acta are believed to be on the list. The Astros were once slapped by MLB for hiring Phil Garner without considering minorities, and that won't happen again.
Around the majors
The Angels have made an offer to try to keep Bobby Abreu, whose well-known batting patience has been infectious. But no progress is reported thus far.
Trevor Hoffman is expected to re-sign with the Brewers for close to $8 million in a deal that should be finalized within a week.
The Mariners should have the money to lock up Felix Hernandez, and they're going to give it a try this winter. Megastars such as Ken Griffey, Alex Rodriguez and Randy Johnson couldn't be kept for their whole careers there, but some expect Seattle to do better with King Felix.
Griffey looked emotional after the Mariners' finale, leading to speculation he may hang it up. But some close to him expect him to try to play.
It surprised a lot of folks when Orioles GM Andy MacPhail announced manager Dave Trembley would be back (including me). MacPhail had said this summer that the Orioles would need to avoid fading again in the second half. But since MacPhail kept Trembley after the team disintegrated in the second half, folks are now theorizing that MacPhail's comments may have been an attempt to allay owner Peter Angelos, and that MacPhail never seriously considering firing Trembley. MacPhail is said from the beginning to have told folks not to expect a great team this year.
The Dodgers were said to be somewhat disappointed in James Loney's power production this year.
There are some in that organization who are quite disappointed in Chad Billingsley, as well. Billingsley may get a start in the division series, but some Dodgers people would rather go with Jon Garland and even Vicente Padilla.
The Twins deserve credit for coming back to tie the Tigers from seven down and without Justin Morneau. Terrific work. "Toughness counts," one scout remarked.
Another reason to love Chase Utley: he was 23 for 23 in steals this year.
Tim Lincecum did not allow a single home run at home this year.
Mets higher-ups have been meeting almost daily, and the sense is that they will keep their payroll in the range of $140-150 million for next year. They implied as much in letters to ticket holders they are trying to retain after their disastrous year.
While congratulating the Padres, A's and Royals for playing hard until the end recently, I neglected to mention the Reds, who did the same.
Some took me to task for not including Zack Greinke's contract extension or Michael Young's move to third base as one the 30 best moves of the year. I should have made clear I was only talking about deals to acquire new players. But those were obviously very wise moves.
The Rangers were shortchanged on the list, as their deals for several cost-efficient players, such as reliever Darren O'Day, would easily qualify. Their hiring of pitching coach Mike Maddux should have been included, as well.
The White Sox's deal for Jake Peavy looks like it may be a winner, as well. Peavy turned in three straight great performances to finish the season.
The Rangers are expected to go for about $500 million, which isn't bad in a football town.
Major League Baseball is going to wind up drawing 73.4 million fans this year, a very modest six-percent decrease considering the poor economy.
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