According to Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times, the Angels have hired Mike Hampton and Tim Bogar to join their minor league staff. Bogar will be the manager with Double-A Arkansas while Hampton will serve as his pitching coach. The pair were teammates with the Astros from 1997-1999.
Bogar joins the Angels after serving as a coach with the Red Sox for the past four seasons. This included a drama-filled stint as Bobby Valentine’s bench coach this season. Bogar turned down a bench coach gig with the Astros last month in hopes that he would still be in Boston’s plans, but it was announced a couple of weeks ago that he wouldn’t be back. He’s only 46 years old, so while it has to be disappointing that he didn’t find an opportunity with a major league staff, there’s still plenty of time for him to build his resume as a potential managerial candidate.
As for Hampton, this will be his first coaching job. Now 40 years old, he retired prior to the 2011 season. The two-time All-Star compiled a 148-115 record and a 4.06 ERA over parts of 16 major league seasons with the Astros, Braves, Rockies, Diamondbacks, Mets and Mariners.
Free agent left-hander Rich Hill is rumored to be entertaining a three-year, $40+ million offer from the Dodgers, reports Peter Gammons. The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo corroborated the report, adding that Hill could receive somewhere between $46 and $48 million from his former team.
Hill, 36, pitched to a 2.12 ERA and 3.91 FIP in back-to-back stints with the Athletics and Dodgers in 2016. While a chronic case of blisters on his pitching hand limited the frequency of his starts, he still figures to be one of the most productive and noteworthy starting pitchers on the market this winter.
The Orioles, Yankees, Red Sox, Rangers and Astros have all been mentioned as potential suitors for the left-hander’s services, though Orioles’ GM Dan Duquette said the club has yet to make a play for Hill and ESPN’s Jim Bowden pointed out that the Red Sox are less involved in trade talks than other interested parties.
In light of the Astros’ deal for veteran designated hitter Carlos Beltran on Saturday, the Yankees are thought to be intensifying their pursuit of free agent Edwin Encarnacion, reports Jon Morosi of FOX Sports. The Yankees never made an official offer to Beltran, but remain in need of a DH/first baseman to give them a little more power outside of a Tyler Austin–Greg Bird combo in 2017.
The Red Sox, on the other hand, are reportedly withdrawing their interest when it comes to the Encarnacion sweepstakes. According to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, they will look for a hitter to beef up their lineup without taking a “big plunge” on the 34-year-old.
Encarnacion enjoyed another All-Star run with the Blue Jays in 2016, hitting at a .263/.357/.529 clip with 42 homers and a league-leading 127 RBI in 702 PA. He’s expected to command a significant contract in free agency, and agent Paul Kinzer said that a potential deal is unlikely to be finalized before the Winter Meetings as Encarnacion is not close to agreeing to any offer. Interested teams include the Blue Jays and the Astros, though Beltran’s signing appears to have effectively taken Houston out of the running for the slugger.