According to Jon Heyman of SI.com, the Yankees have started talks with free agent Andruw Jones, though a deal is not believed to be close. Heyman wrote earlier this week that the Bombers were considering Jones.
The Yankees are pursuing Jones in part because they need a right-handed hitting outfielder, but also because they are concerned about Marcus Thames’ defense. The 33-year-old Thames was a nice surprise last season, batting .288/.350/.491 with 12 home runs, 33 RBI and an 841 OPS, but he can’t touch the versatility or defensive reputation of Jones.
Jones, who will turn 34 in April, batted .230/.341/.486 with 19 home runs and 49 RBI for the White Sox last season, including a .256/.373/.558 batting line in 102 plate appearances against southpaws.
We have become accustomed to players switching teams pretty frequently these days, and Jones has done his fair share of that over the past few seasons, but there would be something weird about seeing him in a Yankees uniform. It feels like it was just yesterday that he hit home runs off Andy Pettitte and Brian Boehringer in Game 1 of the 1996 World Series.
Earlier, Craig asked if Cubs slugger Kyle Schwarber would play the outfield now that the World Series has come to Chicago, where there will be no DH. The answer to that is no, it appears. Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said that Schwarber has not been medically cleared to play the outfield, CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney reports.
Schwarber returned to the Cubs sooner than expected after suffering a fully-torn ACL and LCL in his left leg during an early April collision with teammate Dexter Fowler in Arizona. In preparation to join the Cubs for the World Series, Schwarber went to the Arizona Fall League and reportedly saw over 1,000 pitches from machines as well as Single-A pitchers. He doesn’t look like he’s missed a beat as he went 1-for-3 with a walk and a double (that was very nearly a home run) in Game 1, then drew a walk and hit two RBI singles in five plate appearances in Game 2.
At least right now, however, it appears Schwarber will serve as a bat off the bench for Games 3, 4, and 5 until he gets medical clearance.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported on Thursday that Astros bench coach Trey Hillman is leaving the team to manage the SK Wyverns in South Korea. According to Jeeho Yoo of Yonhap News, Hillman will earn $600,000 in each of two years plus a $400,000 signing bonus.
Hillman, 53, managed the Royals from 2008-10 but the team wasn’t very successful, putting up a 152-207 record before he was fired early in the 2010 season. Hillman was the bench coach for the Dodgers from 2011-13, served as a special assistant for the Yankees in 2014, and had been the Astros’ bench coach for the past two seasons.
Per MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart, the Astros released a statement which read:
Trey Hillman has accepted the managerial position of the SK Wyverns baseball club of the South Korean Professional Baseball League (KBO). We thank Trey for his contributions to the Astros success over the past two seasons and wish him the very best.
This won’t be Hillman’s first time working in baseball overseas. He managed the Nippon Ham Fighters in the Japan Pacific League from 2003-07.