Add the Blue Jays to the list of teams interested in A.J. Burnett

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A.J. Burnett recently announced that he will pitch for at least one more season before hanging up the spikes. That drew the attention of several teams instantaneously. The Pirates, of course, who had been waiting all off-season for Burnett to make a decision. The Orioles, in need of an upgrade in the rotation. The Phillies, who don’t have much beyond Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee.

According to TSN, you can add the Blue Jays into the mix as well.

Reports surfacing Wednesday in The Globe and Mail and Thursday in the Toronto Star suggest that the Jays could be considering a run at free agent starter A.J. Burnett, now that he’s believed to be available.

If the Jays can’t land Burnett, who has said he would prefer to stay close to his home in Maryland, they could still go after Ervin Santana, Ubaldo Jimenez or Bronson Arroyo, three starters still available on the free agent market. Santana and Jimenez, though, are tied to draft pick compensation which make them less attractive.

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.”