That’s the speculation from Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. While Terry Francona likes his ESPN gig, he’s expected to consider returning to the dugout as some team’s manager next year.
The problem right now is that there don’t project to be many openings. Houston, obviously, but Francona probably isn’t a fit for what will surely be a long-term rebuild. Boston almost surely will have one, but there’s no way that’s happening.
That’s why Heyman links Francona to Detroit and Cleveland. Jim Leyland’s contract will expire at season’s end — he’s only been working on one-year deals of late — and the Tigers might be ready to make a change if they fail to reach the postseason in what, thus far, has been a disappointing campaign.
As for the Indians, they’ve already said Manny Acta is coming back. Also, it’s not all that attractive of a job with ownership having such tight purse strings of late. Even if Francona was open to the possibility, they might not be interested in making Francona one of the game’s highest-paid managers while still on the hook to Acta for another year.
One would think Francona will be pretty picky about his next job. Detroit would be a good situation. But barring a surprise (Dusty Baker moving on? Charlie Manuel retiring? Mike Scioscia getting fired?), there might not be any particularly attractive openings this winter.
The Cardinals announced on Tuesday that outfielder Dexter Fowler has been placed on the 10-day disabled list with a strained left forearm. Outfielder Harrison Bader was recalled from Triple-A Memphis to take Fowler’s spot on the roster.
It’s not clear when Fowler suffered the injury, but he went 0-for-12 since a three-hit performance last Friday. He’s hitting .241/.333/.452 with 14 home runs and 37 RBI in 333 plate appearances this season.
Bader, 23, is the Cardinals’ No. 6 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline. This season, with Memphis, Bader hit .297/.354/.517 with 19 home runs and 48 RBI in 381 PA.
Jon Morosi of MLB Network said yesterday that the Detroit Tigers and Chicago Cubs have been engaged in trade talks involving starting pitcher Justin Verlander and catcher Alex Avila. Morosi also noted that the Los Angeles Dodgers have shown interest in Verlander as well. Whether this is idyl chitchatting of serious dispute is unclear, of course. Everything is unclear in the leadup to the deadline.
The veteran right-hander is carrying a 4.50 with a 120/57 K/BB ratio over 124 innings. Verlander impressed last year, finishing second in AL Cy Young Award balloting, but he has fallen back to Earth in 2017. His velocity remains high, however, and it’s not hard to imagine him going on a solid run in a way that could help a contender. He is owed $56 million over the next two seasons, however, and has a $22 million option that could vest for 2020, so negotiations for him could be tough. If the Tigers want talent back, they’ll have to eat salary.
Verlander got an ovation from a Detroit crowd last night which seemed to sense that, yes, it’s possible he pitched his last game for the Tigers. Given that he has 10/5 rights, allowing him to veto any trade, that decision is ultimately up to him. It’s not hard to imagine him accepting a trade to a contender, however.
We wait see.