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.
Buster Olney of ESPN reports that the White Sox and Diamondbacks have emerged as two of the strongest contenders for Orioles third baseman Manny Machado. It seems like a foregone conclusion that Baltimore will deal their superstar infielder this winter, but nothing appears imminent just yet. While both the White Sox and D-backs have reportedly made serious offers, Orioles owner Peter Angelos is wary of any non-contending team that might be incentivized to flip Machado to the rival Yankees next season.
The White Sox, for their part, have assured the Orioles that they view Machado more as a solid one-year rental than the new face of their franchise, with no immediate plans to deal him elsewhere. Given their current rebuilding status and the unlikelihood that they would contend in 2018, it makes their offer a bit of a head-scratcher — and, as USA Today Sports’ Bob Nightengale points out, they’ve been reluctant to put any top-5 prospects on the table in preliminary negotiations.
The Diamondbacks, on the other hand, are far better positioned to enter the postseason in 2018, though that doesn’t automatically make them the perfect landing spot for Machado. They already have Jake Lamb stationed at third base, and while it’s not inconceivable that they could jettison the Ketel Marte/Chris Owings/Nick Ahmed shortstop platoon for someone of Machado’s talent, his $17 million salary appears to be more than the D-backs are currently capable of absorbing.
The White Sox and D-backs may have exhibited the most interest in Machado so far, but they’re hardly the only contenders here. MASN Sports’ Roch Kubatko maintains that the Cardinals and Yankees remain in discussions for the 25-year-old, with Cardinals’ RHP Jordan Hicks and catcher Carson Kelly drawing interest, as well as Yankees’ top prospect Gleyber Torres. Any deal involving the Yankees still feels like a long shot, however; as Craig mentioned on Wednesday, it makes sense that the club wouldn’t want to see their star player hanging around their division rivals in 2018, and the Yankees should be well prepared to make a run at him in free agency next winter.