UPDATE: Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com reports that Hale has accepted the bench coach job in Toronto.
Friday, 9:44 PM: Well, would you look at that? Some actual news on this slow Friday evening.
The Orioles were hoping to retain DeMarlo Hale as their third base coach, but Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com hears that he’s likely going to accept the bench coach job with the Blue Jays. Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com goes a step further by saying Hale will be hired and adds that he could get a three-year deal to join John Gibbons’ staff.
Hale has a long history as a coach and a minor league manager. He was on Terry Francona’s staff in Boston for six years, both as a third base coach and bench coach, before joining the Orioles last season. The Blue Jays actually interviewed him for manager two offseasons ago before they hired John Farrell.
Infielder Brett Lawrie successfully avoided arbitration and signed a one-year contract with the White Sox on Friday, per a team announcement. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman added that the deal was for $3.5 million, significantly lower than the $4.125 million Lawrie was paid by the White Sox in 2016.
The White Sox acquired Lawrie last December in a swap for minor league arms Zack Erwin and J.B. Wendelken. After splitting time at second and third base for the Athletics in 2015, Lawrie slotted in at second base and DH for the White Sox and batted .248/.310/.413 with 12 home runs in 384 PA. While it’s strange to see a healthy, fairly productive player receive a salary reduction in arbitration, Lawrie missed nearly half of the season with a strain in his left hamstring, though he’s projected to return at full health by the start of the 2017 season.
Left-hander Brian Duensing signed a one-year, $2 million contract with the Cubs on Friday, per a report from FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman.
The free agent spent the bulk of his 2016 season with the Orioles after receiving a call-up from Triple-A Norfolk in early June. He underwent elbow surgery several weeks later when a freak bullpen injury revealed cartilage chips and inflammation in his pitching elbow, but recovered to finish the season with a 4.05 ERA and 10 strikeouts in 13 1/3 innings for the club. The Orioles utilized him for a final out during the AL Wild Card game, during which Duensing recorded a five-pitch strikeout in the ninth inning of their 5-2 loss to the Blue Jays.
The 33-year-old is currently expected to bulk up the Cubs’ left-handed relief corps, with fellow left-hander Mike Montgomery slated for the rotation in 2017.