We’re going to hear all sorts of rampant speculation about potential candidates for the Red Sox manager vacancy over the next few days, so don’t take this too seriously, but Mike Salk of 710 ESPN Seattle hears that current Blue Jays bench coach and former Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu has been “floated” as a possibility for the job in Boston.
Wakamatsu led the Mariners to a 127-147 record before being fired last August. He was highly praised during his first season in 2009, in which the Mariners won 85 games, but the team underperformed during his second year and the clubhouse turned on him, mostly related to the messy Ken Griffey Jr. situation. The Red Sox reportedly had some issues in their clubhouse down the stretch, so Wakamatsu’s history could work against him there.
Keep in mind that this is all speculation, but Buster Olney of ESPN.com named Giants manager Bruce Bochy, Mariners manager Eric Wedge, Phillies bench coach Pete Mackanin and Bobby Valentine as possibilities this morning. In fact, Olney hears that Valentine “has support in at least one important corner of the Boston front office.” It’s still very early in the process and this dynamic could change if Theo Epstein bolts for the Cubs’ GM job, but if I had to peg an early favorite, it would have to be Valentine.
We learned on Monday that Hyun-Jin Ryu won one of the final two spots in the Dodgers’ starting rotation. Brandon McCarthy has won the other, Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register reports. Alex Wood was McCarthy’s competitor for the spot.
McCarthy, 33, posted a 4.85 ERA across four appearances spanning 13 innings this spring, yielding seven earned runs on 14 hits and a walk with seven strikeouts. Wood, a southpaw, gave up five earned runs in six innings against the Reds on Tuesday, which might have factored into the decision.
Last season, McCarthy made nine starts and one relief appearance, posting a 4.95 ERA with a 44/26 K/BB ratio in 40 innings. In the event McCarthy falters, the club has Wood as well as Julio Urias and the injured Scott Kazmir as potential replacements.
The Yankees have re-signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, George A. King III of the New York Post reports. Niese was released on Sunday, but he’ll stick around and provide rotation depth for the Yankees.
Niese had knee surgery last August and got a late start to spring training as a result. In six spring appearances lasting an inning each, the lefty gave up three earned runs on five hits and a walk with five strikeouts.
Niese, a veteran of nine seasons, put up an aggregate 5.50 ERA with an 88/47 K/BB ratio in 121 innings last season between the Pirates and Mets.