Astros hire Red Sox bench coach Brad Mills as new manager

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Manny Acta chose Cleveland over Houston when offered both manager jobs, but the Astros announced this afternoon that they’ve found a new skipper in Red Sox bench coach Brad Mills.
Mills and Terry Francona are longtime friends, playing together first at the University of Arizona and then with the Montreal Expos. Francona became the Phillies’ manager in 1997 and hired Mills as first-base coach, and then brought him on board as his bench coach after taking the Red Sox job in 2004. Interestingly, current Houston general manager Ed Wade fired Francona when he held the same job in Philadelphia.
Prior to becoming a fixture of Francona’s coaching staffs Mills managed in the minors for over a decade, so the 52-year-old brings quite a bit of experience to the table. He faces an uphill climb in Houston, because the Astros went 74-88 this season with an aging core of players and don’t have much in the way of high-upside prospects ready to contribute.
Mills previously interviewed for the Mariners job that went to Don Wakamatsu last offseason. He reportedly gets a two-year deal with a third-year option from the Astros.

Report: Teams have inquired with the Angels about Hector Santiago

ANAHEIM, CA - JULY 20:  Hector Santiago #53 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim pitches during the first inning of a baseball game against the Texas Rangers  at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on July 20, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
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ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reported on Monday that the Angels have received inquiries from multiple teams concerning starter Hector Santiago. He adds that the club is willing to listen to offers. Jon Morosi of FOX Sports and MLB Network reports that the Marlins are among the teams that have inquired.

Santiago, 28, has pitched to a 4.32 ERA with 96 strikeouts and 47 walks in 110 1/3 innings. Sabermetric statistics such as FIP, xFIP, and SIERA think the lefty has pitched even worse than his ERA indicates however, pitting 2016 as his worst performance to date.

Santiago is earning $5 million this season and will enter his third and final year of arbitration eligibility going into 2017.

We also learned earlier that, in an effort to bolster their starting rotation, the Marlins have also shown interest in Wade Miley of the Mariners and Jeremy Hellickson of the Phillies.

Prince Fielder will undergo season-ending neck surgery this week

SEATTLE, WA - JUNE 10: Prince Fielder #84 takes a swing during a game against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on June 10, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. The Mariners won the game 7-5. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
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The Rangers placed DH Prince Fielder on the disabled list last week due to more neck discomfort. On Friday, Fielder met with Dr. Drew Dossett, who performed spinal fusion surgery on Fielder in 2014 for a herniated disk in his neck. Dossett has recommended another procedure, so Fielder will undergo season-ending surgery this week, Jeff Wilson of the Fort-Worth Star Telegram reports.

Fielder was having a rough season, batting .212/.292/.334 with eight home runs and 44 RBI in 370 plate appearances. He played in only 42 games in 2014, but returned in 2015 looking more like his old self. Unfortunately, neck and back issues are notoriously difficult to fix. Hopefully, this upcoming procedure does the trick for Fielder.

Fielder is owed $24 million per season through 2020, with the Tigers paying $6 million of it per season.