According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, the Mariners have signed right-hander Jeremy Bonderman to a minor league contract. The deal includes an invite to spring training.
Bonderman hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2010 and required Tommy John surgery this April, but he’s gearing up for a comeback at the age of 30. The 2001 first-round pick owns a 4.89 ERA over eight seasons in the majors, all with the Tigers. His former club also expressed an interest in him this winter, but he ultimately opted to sign with his home state Mariners.
Bonderman hasn’t really been healthy and effective in the same season since he posted a 4.08 ERA over 34 starts in his age-23 season back in 2006, so the odds are against him after two full seasons out of the game and an elbow reconstruction. But there’s no harm in taking a flier.
Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports that the Nationals will ask to speak with Astros’ bench coach Alex Cora after the American League Championship Series concludes on Saturday. This comes on the heels of the news that club manager Dusty Baker will not be returning to the team in 2018.
Cora, 42, has some experience in the Nationals’ organization. He played for the Nats during his last big league stint in 2011, batting .224/.287/.276 through 91 games before announcing his retirement in the spring of 2012. Per Cafardo, he was also offered a player development gig with the club, but has not appeared in any kind of official role with them since his days as a major league infielder. While he’s been lauded for his leadership skills and strong clubhouse presence, he hasn’t acquired any managerial experience since his retirement, save for a handful of games with the Astros where he filled in for A.J. Hinch.
Despite the appeal of having a familiar face in the dugout, the Nationals aren’t the only ones eyeing Cora. The Astros’ coach has already interviewed with the Tigers, Mets and Red Sox this month. Boston appears to be the current favorite to land him and according to at least one source, may even announce his hiring in advance of the World Series next Tuesday.