Brad Ausmus

Might the Red Sox make Brad Ausmus their next manager?

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The Red Sox have a few options as they embark on the hunt for a new manager for the second straight offseason.

– They can talk to the Blue Jays about a trade for John Farrell, their former pitching coach who left two years ago to manage in Toronto (I’m not a fan of this one).

– They can go take another look at several of the candidates they passed over in favor of Bobby Valentine last year. That list includes such names as Gene Lamont, Pete Mackanin, Sandy Alomar Jr., plus a couple of guys they chose not to interview in Dave Martinez and Ryne Sandberg.

– They can dip further into their past and interview former players Mike Lowell, Bill Mueller and Jason Varitek, if any of them want the job. Lowell’s name came up with the Marlins last month. Varitek, just hired as a special assistant, probably isn’t ready for the commitment of managing just yet.

– They can make a clean break from the past and try someone entirely new. Someone like Brad Ausmus.

Now, this is just my speculation, but Ausmus interviewed for the Astros managerial opening last month, only to remove himself from consideration afterwards. Could it be that the Red Sox let the native New Englander that they were going to have an opening? Ausmus has history with the Astros, but he was raised in Connecticut and he went to school at Dartmouth in New Hampshire. If he’s going to move his family from San Diego, Boston might be the more attractive option.

Ausmus was widely viewed as a future manager while playing. He’s respected by pretty much everybody everywhere. Given that he was primarily a National Leaguer during his 18-year career, it’s possible his preferences might run a little more towards small ball than the Red Sox would like, but I don’t really know that to be the case.

The Red Sox must start over after a year and a month of disastrous baseball. Bringing in a manager who has never been connected with the team might be a good start. If not Ausmus, then perhaps Martinez, the Rays’ bench coach, or Sandberg, whose new job with the Phillies won’t prevent him from auditioning elsewhere. It’s time to chart a new course rather than attempt to recapture the magic of 2007.

Orioles re-sign Michael Bourn to a minor league deal

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 04:  Michael Bourn #1 of the Baltimore Orioles hits a single in the fifth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays during the American League Wild Card game at Rogers Centre on October 4, 2016 in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
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The Orioles have re-signed outfielder Michael Bourn to a minor league contract with an invitation to major league camp, MASN’s Roch Kubatko reports.

Bourn, 34, joined the Orioles last year in a trade from the Diamondbacks on August 31. Though he compiled a meager .669 OPS with the Diamondbacks, Bourn hit a solid .283/.358/.435 in 55 plate appearances with the O’s through the end of the season.

Bourn, a non-roster invitee to camp, will try to play his way onto the Orioles’ 25-man roster. If he does make the roster, Bourn will receive a $2 million salary, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports points out.

Shelby Miller is in the best mental shape of his life

PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 24:  Shelby Miller #26 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches in the first inning during the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on May 24, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
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Diamondbacks starter Shelby Miller had about as bad a season as one can have. He was the headliner in the trade that sent 2015 No. 1 overall pick Dansby Swanson, All-Star outfielder Ender Inciarte, and highly-regarded pitching prospect Aaron Blair to the Braves. It was a trade that was pilloried at the time and continues to be pilloried to this day.

Miller didn’t do then-GM Dave Stewart any favors with his 2016 performance. He went 3-12 with a 6.15 ERA and a 70/42 K/BB ratio over 101 innings. That included a bout with mechanical failure, as he kept hitting the mound with his follow-through. He went on the disabled list. And after that, he was demoted to Triple-A. After getting fired, Stewart expressed remorse over acquiring Miller — or, more accurately, giving up Swanson to do so.

So, the 26-year-old Miller heads into 2017 without any momentum. To his credit, though, he’s going into the new season with a very positive perspective. Via Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports:

I’m just in a really happy place, away from the field, on the field. […]

Maybe it’s just the way I go about everything, trying to be positive in every single aspect of life. Baseball’s not perfect. I’m not perfect. I know bumps in the road are going to happen. Last year was obviously not just a bump, but a huge mountain. Right now, that’s completely behind me. I’m not worried about any of that.

I’m really ready for this year, ready to redeem myself so much.

Even pitching coach Mike Butcher sees the change in Miller’s mentality. “He’s not a different guy. But you can see there’s a presence in him. That’s what we need. Just be Shelby Miller. You don’t have to live up to anything. Just be yourself.”

Manager Torey Lovullo, too, praised Miller. “I saw a guy who had spent a lot of time taking care of his business in the weight room — he looks fantastic, in fantastic shape,” he said.

It sounds like Miller is not only in great mental shape, but great physical shape, too. Is it the “best shape of his life”? Only time can tell.