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.
Update #2 (6:21 PM EST): Make that $37.5 million, per Heyman.
Update (6:02 PM EST): The deal is for “around” $37 million with deferrals that lower the present-day value, per Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that free agent 1B/OF Mark Trumbo is close to a deal with the Orioles. He first reported that the two sides were back in touch earlier on Thursday afternoon. According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, the deal is expected to be for three years and under $40 million.
Trumbo’s market hasn’t developed as he expected. The slugger turned down the Orioles’ $17.2 million qualifying offer back in November. Then the Orioles reportedly made a four-year contract offer to him in December but pulled it off the table. Most recently, a report indicated that Trumbo lowered his expectations to a three-year deal in the $40-50 million range.
Trumbo, 31, led the majors with 47 homers for the Orioles this past season. He also hit a solid .256/.316/.433 with 108 RBI in 667 plate appearances. With Trumbo back in the fold and some slight offensive upgrades made, the Orioles figure to have a formidable offense in 2017.
The Astros avoided arbitration with pitcher Mike Fiers, agreeing on a $3.45 million salary for the 2017 season, per Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle. The right-hander was in his first of three years of arbitration eligibility.
Fiers, 31, made 30 starts and one relief appearance for the Astros in 2016. He finished the year with a 4.48 ERA and a 134/42 K/BB ratio in 168 2/3 innings.
Fiers had a much better showing in 2015 as well as in limited action in 2014, so the Astros are hoping he rediscovers that effectiveness going forward. He’ll slot into the back of the starting rotation.