When the Marlins included John Buck in their blockbuster deal with the Blue Jays in December, they were mostly happy to get rid of his salary. He was later considered a throw-in as part of the deal that brought top prospects Travis d’Arnaud and Noah Syndergaard to the Mets for R.A. Dickey. However, the 32-year-old backstop has been one of the hottest hitters in the majors so far this season.
Buck launched a grand slam in last night’s 16-5 win over the Twins and is now hitting .351 (13-for-37) with six home runs through 10 games. This includes home runs in each of his last four games. He’s already halfway to his total of 12 homers from all of last season.
Buck is currently tied with the Orioles’ Chris Davis for the major league lead with 19 RBI. Meanwhile, the Marlins have only scored 17 runs through their first 10 games. And things aren’t going to get any easier if Giancarlo Stanton needs to miss an extended period of time with a shoulder injury.
Buck is a .237/.303/.410 hitter over 10 seasons in the major leagues, so he’s bound to cool off pretty soon, but the hot start will make it a little easier to justify keeping d’Arnaud with Triple-A Las Vegas until June.
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.