Joe Torre is going to announce his career intentions around Labor Day. My guess is that he’s going to retire. Everyone’s assumption is that Don Mattingly is the heir apparent. Bob Nightengale says think again:
The assumption is that Don Mattingly is heir apparent to replace Joe Torre,but AAA manager Tim Wallach is looming as favorite.
He doesn’t give us any additional context, but knowing how Nightengale rolls (i.e. pretty responsibly and reliably), I’m going to assume this is based on conversations with Dodgers front office people.
The advantage of Wallach over Mattingly? Managerial experience, I’d presume. I don’t want to overstate Mattingly’s recent gaffes as fill-in skipper — they were kind of freaky things — but you can’t ignore them either. More importantly you can’t ignore the growing sense around baseball that front offices prefer guys with some experience running a team. First-time manager stock is at an ebb these days.
Wallach has been the skipper of the Dodgers’ AAA team for a couple of years now. He was the PCL manager of the year last year. Maybe more importantly, he was more directly hired by the Dodgers front office than Mattingly — who sort of came as a package deal with Torre — really was. If Torre goes, so goes Mattingly’s biggest backer, one presumes.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Royals and first baseman Eric Hosmer have discussed a long-term contract extension. However, Hosmer also indicated that he will head into free agency if a deal is not consummated by Opening Day.
Hosmer, 27, avoided arbitration with the Royals last month, agreeing to a $12.25 million salary for the 2017 season. He is one of four key Royals players who can become a free agent after the season along with Mike Moustakas, Alcides Escobar, and Lorenzo Cain. If Hosmer does reach free agency, he would arguably be the top free agent first baseman.
Hosmer finished the past season hitting .266/.328/.433 with 25 home runs and 104 RBI while making his first All-Star team.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Yankees have signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, pending a physical. Assuming the deal is finalized, Sherman notes that the Yankees will have Niese work as both a starter and a reliever in big league camp this spring.
According to Sherman, the Yankees were interested in lefty relievers Jerry Blevins and Boone Logan, but didn’t want to commit at their asking prices. They are looking for a lefty set-up man along with Tommy Lane.
Niese, 30, pitched for the Pirates and Mets last season, finishing with a 5.50 ERA and an 88/47 K/BB ratio over 121 innings.