The Pirates’ search for a new manager is picking up all sorts of steam.
According to Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com, the Bucs interviewed Rangers hitting coach Clint Hurdle on Thursday in what could be the club’s final managerial interview.
Hurdle enjoyed great success as the Rangers’ hitting coach this season, helping to lead that franchise to its first-ever World Series appearance. He also had a nice run as manager of the Rockies earlier this decade — a run that included a World Series loss in 2007 to the Red Sox.
The Pirates interviewed eight total candidates for their opening this fall and SI.com’s Jon Heyman reported earlier this week that only two finalists remain: Hurdle and Bucs bench coach Jeff Bannister, who is hoping for a promotion.
For what it’s worth, Tracy Ringolsby of FOXSports.com says that Hurdle appears to be the “leading candidate.”
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Rangers have signed outfielder Carlos Gomez to a one-year deal. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that Gomez will earn $11.5 million next season.
Gomez, 31, struggled with the Astros to a .594 OPS before the club released him in mid-August. The Rangers signed him shortly thereafter and were immediately rewarded. Gomez hit .284/.362/.543 with eight home runs and 24 RBI in 130 plate appearances through the end of the regular season.
As presently constructed, Gomez would likely take over in center field with Nomar Mazara handling left and Shin-Soo Choo in right.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Diamondbacks are close to signing free agent reliever Fernando Rodney.
Rodney, 39, has been inconsistent over the past two seasons. This past season, he was lights-out with the Padres, posting a 0.31 ERA in 28 appearances. After the Marlins acquired him at the end of June, he struggled to a 5.89 ERA in 39 appearances.
Brad Ziegler, who closed for the Diamondbacks in the first half last season, went to the Red Sox in a midseason trade and is now a free agent. The Diamondbacks had six other relievers register a save, but only Daniel Hudson and Jake Barrett recorded more than one. Adding Rodney will give the club some stability in the ninth inning.