While the Athletics plan to give Manny Ramirez more time in the minors to get tuned up for major league pitching, the Rays are going a different route with Hideki Matsui.
According to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, Matsui is expected to be added to the Rays’ roster tomorrow. It’s a bit of a surprise to see him join the big league club so quickly, as he’s hitting just .170 (8-for-47) with two doubles, four RBI and a 10/4 K/BB ratio over 13 games with Triple-A Durham.
Of course, the Rays don’t have much to lose if Matsui turns out to be a bust, as he’s set to make a prorated salary of around $900,000 when he is added to the major league roster. The 38-year-old figures to share at-bats with Luke Scott out of the designated hitter spot.
Matsui batted .251/.321/.375 with 12 home runs, 72 RBI and a .696 OPS in 141 games with the Athletics last season.
Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports that the Nationals will ask to speak with Astros’ bench coach Alex Cora after the American League Championship Series concludes on Saturday. This comes on the heels of the news that club manager Dusty Baker will not be returning to the team in 2018.
Cora, 42, has some experience in the Nationals’ organization. He played for the Nats during his last big league stint in 2011, batting .224/.287/.276 through 91 games before announcing his retirement in the spring of 2012. Per Cafardo, he was also offered a player development gig with the club, but has not appeared in any kind of official role with them since his days as a major league infielder. While he’s been lauded for his leadership skills and strong clubhouse presence, he hasn’t acquired any managerial experience since his retirement, save for a handful of games with the Astros where he filled in for A.J. Hinch.
Despite the appeal of having a familiar face in the dugout, the Nationals aren’t the only ones eyeing Cora. The Astros’ coach has already interviewed with the Tigers, Mets and Red Sox this month. Boston appears to be the current favorite to land him and according to at least one source, may even announce his hiring in advance of the World Series next Tuesday.