Despite wrapping up interviews with various managerial candidates two weeks ago the Pirates have yet to name a replacement for John Russell, which has Tracy Ringolsby of FOXSports.com speculating that they’re waiting for the postseason to end so they can talk to Rangers hitting coach Clint Hurdle.
Hurdle was the Rockies’ manager from 2002-2009 and took the team to the World Series in 2007, but that was also his lone playoff appearance and his overall record was just 534-625 for a sub par .461 winning percentage.
Ringolsby covered the Rockies for the Rocky Mountain News while Hurdle was manager and clearly thinks very highly of him, writing that he “would seem to fit the Pirates’ needs well” after “elevating the Rockies credibility among sports fans” in Colorado.
Pittsburgh has suffered through 18 straight losing seasons and avoiding a 19th will be tough in 2011, but the Pirates do have a solid nucleus of young talent and probably aren’t as far away from snapping the streak (and perhaps even contending in the NL Central) as most people would assume.
The Phillies and Red Sox appear intent on pursuing free agent first baseman Carlos Santana, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports. Santana rejected a one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Indians on Thursday and is expected to draw widespread interest on the market this winter. The Mets, Mariners, Angels and Indians could make a play for the infielder, though no serious offers have been made this early in the offseason.
Santana, 31, is coming off of a seven-year track with the Indians. He batted .259/.363/.455 with 23 home runs and 3.0 fWAR last season, making 2017 the fourth-most valuable year of his career to date. Although he was primarily stationed at first base over the last year, he could step back into a hybrid first base/DH role with the Red Sox, who are hurting for infield depth with Hanley Ramirez still working his way back from shoulder surgery.
As for Santana’s other suitors, the Mariners are far less likely to pursue a deal after trading for Ryon Healy last Wednesday. Neither the Mets nor the Phillies have a DH spot to offer the veteran infielder, and the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins appears to be blocking the way at first base. Then again, Santana may not find a more enticing offer outside of Cleveland, where Edwin Encarnacion might otherwise be the club’s best option at first base. During the GM meetings, Indians’ GM Mike Chernoff said he “love to have both [Santana and Jay Bruce] back” in 2018, but hasn’t backed up that love with any contract talks just yet.