The Red Sox have several coaches still on staff from Terry Francona’s tenure: hitting coach Dave Magadan, bench coach DeMarlo Hale, third base coach Tim Bogar and bullpen coach Gary Tuck. Bobby Valentine could get rid of some of them. And there are a couple of other openings. And one of the potential candidates to fill that opening is someone with some Red Sox experience:
One name that surfaced as a potential candidate was that of former Red Sox first baseman Bill Buckner, who managed the Brockton Rox of the independent Can-Am League last season. “He’s been a friend for years,” Valentine said. “We played together with the Dodgers. We played together in the Dominican Republic. I’ve watched his kids grow up and I respect his every opinion in baseball and in worldly matters.”
Worth noting that friendship and “opinions in baseball and in worldly matters” is pretty much the job description for a bench coach.
I’m guessing if Buckner gets hired it will set off all kinds of “Buckner returns!” headlines and talk about Game 6 of the 1986 World Series. But if it does, it’s phony and ignorant. There have been no less than two and possibly many more instances of Buckner “returning to Boston” since then. He actually came back to play his final 22 games in Boston in 1990. He’s been a guest since then, throwing out first pitches and stuff. Every time it happens, someone pumps it up as Buckner’s “redemption” or a fan “reproachment” or something. I suppose after 50 times it may stop being news.
Mariners’ right-hander Arquimedes Caminero is nearing a deal with the Yomiuri Giants of Nippon Professional Baseball, according to Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune. The club has reportedly agreed to sell the 29-year-old’s contract, Dutton writes, though no official move has been announced by either team yet. Caminero is under club control through 2020 and currently ineligible for arbitration.
The right-hander began the 2016 season with the Pirates but was sent to the Mariners in a trade for Seattle minor leaguers Jake Brentz and Pedro Vasquez in order to clear space in the Bucs’ bullpen. With the Mariners, Caminero produced a 3.66 ERA and 8.2 K/9 through 19 2/3 innings in the second half of the year. Although he boasts an electric fastball, one which consistently averaged 98.7 m.p.h. in 2016, his success rate has been tempered by poor control throughout his major league career. According to Dutton, the Mariners’ willingness to sell Caminero’s contract was a strong indication that they did not see him as a viable contender for their 2017 bullpen or as a potential trade chip further down the line.
Should the deal go through, the right-hander will be the second former Mariner to sign with a Japanese club for the 2017 season. Per Dutton’s report, outfielder Stefen Romero also picked up a contract with the Orix Buffaloes of NPB in late November.
During the Pirates’ FanFest on Saturday, right-hander Gerrit Cole announced that he is back up to full health after being shut down with elbow inflammation in September. Per Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Cole said he’ll start a throwing program on Monday as he works on regaining his form for the 2017 season.
The 26-year-old pitched through 116 innings for the Pirates in 2016, delivering a 3.88 ERA and 2.5 WARP before landing on the disabled list in June with a triceps strain and again in August with elbow inflammation. It was a steep drop for the right-hander, who saw a considerable spike in his ERA and BB/9 rate and struggled to strike out batters at the 8.7 mark he managed in 2015.
The upside? Inflammation was the worst of Cole’s issues in 2016, and while the newfound health issues didn’t help his case for an extension, a more serious injury doesn’t appear to be on the horizon.