Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News has an update on the Yankees’ odds of re-signing Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui:
Multiple sources have indicated that the Yankees would like to bring Johnny Damon back on a two-year deal, but Hideki Matsui’s time in pinstripes is likely over as they would prefer to keep the DH slot open for Damon, Alex Rodriguez and Jorge Posada.
Should Damon bolt for a new team, however, Matsui could be brought back on a short-term deal to remain the Bombers’ DH, since Cashman has made it clear he no longer considers the World Series MVP to be an outfielder, even on a part-time basis.
Last week Scott Boras suggested that Damon is looking for a four-year deal, but like many things said by the hyperbole-fueled agent that has zero chance of happening. Damon hasn’t lost anything offensively and has played at least 140 games in 14 straight seasons, but he turned 36 years old earlier this month and has seen his range in the outfield diminish significantly to go along with his always horrendous throwing arm.
With that said, Feinsand speculates that the Yankees are unlikely to jump heavily into the mix for Matt Holliday or Jason Bay, and Damon is one of the best options among the second-tier outfielders in a weak crop of free agents. If not him and not Matsui, then the Yankees would be left to choose from other aging veterans like Vladimir Guerrero and Jermaine Dye. A two-year deal seems like a worthwhile fit for both sides.
Earlier, Craig asked if Cubs slugger Kyle Schwarber would play the outfield now that the World Series has come to Chicago, where there will be no DH. The answer to that is no, it appears. Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said that Schwarber has not been medically cleared to play the outfield, CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney reports.
Schwarber returned to the Cubs sooner than expected after suffering a fully-torn ACL and LCL in his left leg during an early April collision with teammate Dexter Fowler in Arizona. In preparation to join the Cubs for the World Series, Schwarber went to the Arizona Fall League and reportedly saw over 1,000 pitches from machines as well as Single-A pitchers. He doesn’t look like he’s missed a beat as he went 1-for-3 with a walk and a double (that was very nearly a home run) in Game 1, then drew a walk and hit two RBI singles in five plate appearances in Game 2.
At least right now, however, it appears Schwarber will serve as a bat off the bench for Games 3, 4, and 5 until he gets medical clearance.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported on Thursday that Astros bench coach Trey Hillman is leaving the team to manage the SK Wyverns in South Korea. According to Jeeho Yoo of Yonhap News, Hillman will earn $600,000 in each of two years plus a $400,000 signing bonus.
Hillman, 53, managed the Royals from 2008-10 but the team wasn’t very successful, putting up a 152-207 record before he was fired early in the 2010 season. Hillman was the bench coach for the Dodgers from 2011-13, served as a special assistant for the Yankees in 2014, and had been the Astros’ bench coach for the past two seasons.
Per MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart, the Astros released a statement which read:
Trey Hillman has accepted the managerial position of the SK Wyverns baseball club of the South Korean Professional Baseball League (KBO). We thank Trey for his contributions to the Astros success over the past two seasons and wish him the very best.
This won’t be Hillman’s first time working in baseball overseas. He managed the Nippon Ham Fighters in the Japan Pacific League from 2003-07.