With free agency set to begin on Thursday, Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Dodgers and Juan Rivera are closing in on a new contract. The two sides are discussing a one-year deal with a club option for 2013.
Rivera was acquired from Blue Jays in July after being designated for assignment. The 33-year-old batted .258/.319/.382 with 11 home runs, 74 RBI and a .704 OPS over 521 plate appearances this season, including a .740 OPS with Los Angeles. He doesn’t qualify for free agent compensation.
Assuming they get a deal done, Rivera will likely see most of his playing time in left field next season. He could also be an option at first base if the Dodgers non-tender James Loney.
Per Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, the Padres have announced that interim manager Pat Murphy won’t return as the team’s manager in 2016. Haudricourt adds that Brewres manager Craig Counsell tried to get Murphy on his staff, and says to look for Murphy to join the Brewers for the 2016 season.
Murphy led the Padres to a 42-53 record after Bud Black was fired in June. He had previously managed for two years with Single-A Eugene in 2011-12, and at Triple-A Tucson and El Paso in 2013-14.
Former major leaguer Phil Nevin is a candidate for the Padres’ vacant managing position, according to Scott Miller of Bleacher Report.
With a 6-1 win over the Twins in Sunday’s season finale, the Royals clinched the best record in the American League, which nets them home field advantage in the ALDS and ALCS. The Royals stand at 95-67 while the Blue Jays, who lost on Sunday, finish at 93-69.
95-67 is the Royals’ best record since finishing 97-65 in 1980, when they lost the World Series to the Phillies. Their division title is their first since 1985.
In the ALDS, which starts on Thursday, the Royals will host the winner of the AL Wild Card game between the Astros and Yankees. They are looking to avenge last year’s World Series loss, in seven games, to the Giants. The Blue Jays will host the Rangers in the other ALDS series.