John Farrell likely to be named Blue Jays’ next manager

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Peter Gammons, now working for the MLB Network, MLB.com and NESN, heard from three MLB general managers Thursday that Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell is going to be named the Blue Jays’ next skipper.

Legendary Toronto manager Cito Gaston stepped down at the end of the 2010 season and the Jays went on an extensive search for his replacement.

A variety of candidates were interviewed, including Red Sox bench coach DeMarlo Hale, Indians first base coach Sandy Alomar Jr., Yankees third base coach Rob Thomson, Rays bench coach Dave Martinez and the Blue Jays’ own third base coach Brian Butterfield.  ESPN analyst Bobby Valentine was even linked to the opening for a time.

So why Farrell?

Well, he’s been a member of Boston’s coaching staff since 2006 and was the Indians’ Director of Player Development when Cleveland was named “Organization of the Year” by Baseball America in 2003 and 2004.  The experience is there, especially in the ever-tough American League East, and Farrell has been a part of winning clubs for most of his non-playing career.  The Blue Jays will never have the kind of payroll that Farrell worked with in Boston, but Toronto does have several young aces-in-the-making.

An official announcement should come sometime before or after the World Series.

Rougned Odor received two horses as part of his contract extension with Rangers

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Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor reached an agreement with the Rangers on a six-year, $49.5 million contract extension. It was announced on Saturday and finalized on Thursday. The contract is pretty typical — a signing bonus, escalating salaries each year — except for one thing: Odor received two elite horses as well, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports.

Here are those horses, per Jared Sandler of 1053 The Fan:

Players do sometimes get perks as part of their contracts. Usually it’s mundane stuff like extra game tickets for family and friends, use of a suite, limo rides, or plane tickets. Sometimes they can get rather specific. For example, in 2005, Troy Glaus got $250,000 per year in “personal business expenses” from the Diamondbacks, which was for his wife’s equestrian training. Hall of Famer George Brett got a 10 percent stake in an apartment complex in Memphis when he signed an extension with the Royals in the mid-1980’s. But as far as my research was able to go, no one received any horses, so that’s new.

Of course, the Rangers certainly think Odor is worth the perks. Last season, Odor hit .271/.296/.502 with 33 home runs, 88 RBI, 89 runs scored, and 14 stolen bases in 632 plate appearances. And at just 23 years old, he has plenty of room to improve.

Mariners sign Mark Lowe

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The Mariners have signed reliever Mark Lowe, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports. The Tigers released him on Sunday.

Lowe, 33, is entering the last of a two-year, $11 million deal signed with the Tigers in December 2015. The right-hander struggled to a 7.11 ERA with a 49/21 K/BB ratio in 49 1/3 innings last season. His performance this spring didn’t do much to inspire confidence.

Lowe began his major league career with the Mariners, breaking out in 2009 with a 3.26 ERA across 80 innings. He has been inconsistent throughout most of his 11-year big league career, however.