Blue Jays expected to explore trade for White Sox second baseman Gordon Beckham

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From beat writers Scott Merkin and Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com:

The Blue Jays are in the market for a new second baseman, and one of their early targets appears to be Chicago’s Gordon Beckham.

MLB.com has learned that the Blue Jays have interest in acquiring the White Sox second baseman, which dates back to last offseason, when the possibility of a trade was first explored. The interest has since been renewed with general manager Alex Anthopoulos intent on upgrading the position.

Merkin and Chisholm suspect that the trade talks may grow to include pitchers like John Danks and Hector Santiago. Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos and White Sox general manager Rick Hahn both declined comment.

Beckham, the eighth overall pick in the 2008 MLB Amateur Draft, batted .270/.347/.460 with 14 home runs and 63 RBI during his breakout rookie campaign back in 2009. He has failed to return to that level of production in the seasons since and is the current owner of a weak .249/.314/.380 career slash line, but the 27-year-old is under contractual control through 2015 and has the talent to eventually take a step forward.

Yankees to hire Josh Bard as their new bench coach

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Aaron Boone has no experience as a coach or a manager at any level. As such, some have speculated that he’d hire a more seasoned hand as his bench coach as he begins his first season as Yankees manager. Someone like, say, Eric Wedge, who was a candidate for the job Boone got and who once managed Boone in Cleveland.

Nope. According to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand, he’s going with Josh Bard.

Bard, 39, was a teammate of Boone’s with the Indians in 2005. He’s not without coaching experience, having spent the last two seasons as the Dodgers’ bullpen coach, but he’s not that Gene Lamont/Don Zimmer-type we often see in the bench coach role.

Which is fine because different managers want different things from their bench coach. Some are strategy guys, helping with in-game decision making. Others are relationship guys who help managers understand all of the dynamics of the clubhouse while they’re worrying more about lineups and stuff. Others are trust guys, who can serve as the manager’s sounding board, among other things. Some are combinations of all of these things. As Feinsand notes in his story, Boone said at his introductory press conference that he’s looking for this:

“I want smart sitting next to me. I want confidence sitting next to me. I want a guy who can walk out into that room and as I talk about relationships I expect to have with my players, I expect that even to be more so with my coaching staff. Whether that is a guy with all kinds of experience or little experience. I am not concerned about that.”