It seemed like a no-brainer out of loyalty, if nothing else.
Ken Oberkfell, who has managed the Mets’ Triple-A team for most of the last six years, will get a chance to interview for the opening with the big-league team.
Oberkfell has certainly paid all of his dues. He was Baseball America’s Minor League Manager of the Year in 2005. He’s managed the Mets’ Triple-A franchise through stops in Norfolk, New Orleans and Buffalo, with the only interruption coming when he became the team’s major league first-base coach for a spell in 2008 after Willie Randolph was fired as manager.
He’s even managing at this very moment. The interview will take place in the Dominican Republic because he’s trying to lead the Leones del Escogido to a second straight DWL championship.
A 16-year major leaguer, Oberkfell hit .278/.351/.362 with six clubs between 1977 and 1992. He had little power, but he amassed a 356/546 K/BB ratio in 4,874 career at-bats.
Oberkfell will be the seventh candidate interviewed by the Mets, joining fellow team employees Wally Backman, Terry Collins, Chip Hale, Dave Jauss and Bob Melvin and Red Sox bench coach DeMarlo Hale. Still on tap are Clint Hurdle and Don Wakamatsu.
According to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, free agent reliever Joba Chamberlain has a deal with the Brewers. No confirmation or terms of the contract have been confirmed by the team yet.
Chamberlain, 31, had a promising resurgence in the Indians’ bullpen during 2016. He shaved his ERA down to a modest 2.25 mark over 20 innings with Cleveland, paired with an 8.1 SO/9 and less-than-stellar 5.0 BB/9 rate. Over a decade in the major leagues, the right-hander holds a career 3.81 ERA, 8.8 SO/9 and 3.7 BB/9 rate.
The veteran righty was released by the Indians in July after refusing re-assignment. He’s expected to compete for a major league role this spring.
After letting rumors of the deal percolate for the last week, the Athletics officially announced their two-year, $11 million contract with right-hander Santiago Casilla on Friday (and threw a little bit of shade at the Giants, too). As previously reported, the contract includes an extra $3 million in performance bonuses.
Casilla, 36, got his major league start with Oakland back in 2004, racking up a 5.11 ERA and four saves over six seasons in the A’s bullpen. After picking up a minor league deal with the Giants in 2010, the righty flitted in and out of the closing role with varying degrees of success. Notwithstanding a slight downturn in his production rate during the 2016 season, he earned 123 saves and a 2.42 ERA during the past seven years in San Francisco. Securing another closing role might be a little tougher across the Bay, however, with a bullpen that includes fellow closers Ryan Madson, Ryan Dull and Sean Doolittle.