Tim Bogar to interview for the Astros managerial job

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ESPN Boston.com reports that Red Sox bench coach Tim Bogar will interview with the Astros some time this week. The fact that the Astros last manager — Brad Mills — used to be a Red Sox bench coach to is a coincidence, I’d imagine.

Bogar played for the Astros from 1997-2000. He played in his only postseason series in 1999 with Houston, going 3 for 4 in two games against Atlanta.  He has managed in the minor leagues, where he was named manager of the year for three straight years — 2004, 2005 and 2006 — across three different leagues.

Mike Napoli and Rays have “mutual interest” in a deal

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Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times unloaded a lot of interesting news items about the Rays last night, including a report that the Rays might have “mutual interest” in a deal with free agent first baseman/DH Mike Napoli. The Rangers declined Napoli’s $11 million option earlier this month and owe the veteran infielder a $2.5 million buyout.

Napoli, 36, had a strange year in Texas. He turned in 29 home runs, good for 11th-most among AL hitters, but finished the year batting just .193/.285/.428 over 485 plate appearances. According to FanGraphs, his -0.5 fWAR was the worst mark of his career to date, but on the bright side, he should come cheap for a team looking to swap out their veterans come spring.

Of course, the specifics of the Rays’ offseason plan have yet to be divulged — or, by all accounts from Topkin, even decided on. The club could go the refurbishment route, changing out some of their higher-paid veterans for a mix of prospects and cheaper aging players; or they could opt for a full rebuild, which Topkin cautions against as it could have a negative effect on the financing of a new ballpark. Either way, the Rays figure to offload some of their bigger contracts this winter, and will need to decide if they want to retain Alex Colome, Chris Archer, Wilson Ramos, Evan Longoria and others before pursuing any other major free agents.