In past years–or past decades, more accurately–the Pirates may have lived with an unproductive veteran first baseman, but with the team in contention for the first time in a long time their patience with Lyle Overbay appears to be running out.
Signed to a one-year, $5 million deal as a free agent, Overbay has hit just .229 with seven homers in 99 games, posting a .646 OPS that ranks 24th among the 26 first basemen with at least 250 plate appearances.
Clint Hurdle indicated to Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com that increasing Steve Pearce’s playing time at Overbay’s expense is one option, but Pearce has been even less productive in a part-time role with a .636 OPS.
Pursuing another veteran bat via trade makes sense and Jayson Stark of ESPN.com reports that the Pirates are interested in Jason Kubel of the Twins. Of course, with Minnesota unsure whether to buy or sell Kubel may ultimately not even be available. Whatever the case, with the Pirates just 1.5 games out of first place and Overbay adding nothing at an offense-driven position it shouldn’t be too tough or too costly to find an upgrade.
Astros bench coach Alex Cora has been described as a leading candidate for multiple managerial openings since the end of the regular season. He has been tied most closely to the Red Sox job, however, having already interviewed with Boston and with several people reporting that he is the Sox’ top choice.
Now come two reports that the job will be given to Cora, possibly as early as this weekend.
The first report comes from NBC Boston’s Evan Drellich, who hears from his sources that “no doubt” it’s Cora, and that the Red Sox are just waiting for the ALCS to end in order to offer it to him. If the Astros are eliminated, it’d certainly happen as soon as Sunday or Monday. If the Astros advance it may be tricker, timing wise, to make a formal introduction since he’d be busy preparing for the World Series, but they could theoretically name him and introduce him later.
A second report came from the Twitter feed for LasMayores.com, MLB’s official Spanish language website. It said today (roughly translated) that “according to several sources [Cora] will be formally presented as manager of the Red Sox after the ALCS ends.” The twist on that: the tweet was deleted a few minutes ago, even though it remained up for several hours. I’d guess that’s likely more due to MLB not wanting any of its official organs to jump the gun than it is based on it being misinformation.
Either way, all signs are pointing to Cora, who played for the Red Sox from 2006-2008, being the next manager in Boston.