Tony La Russa denies that Kirk Gibson’s job is safe

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USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reported Tuesday morning that the Diamondbacks “currently plan to bring back” manager Kirk Gibson next season.

But the club’s new chief baseball officer — Hall of Fame manager Tony La Russa — is now denying that anything has been decided on the Gibson front.

“I just think that at this point, we’re at August 18,” La Russa relayed through a spokesman to Steve Gilbert of MLB.com. “I’ve been around three months, I’ve observed a lot, talked to and met with a lot of people in the organization. I have a much better idea. I just think the official comment is, we’re at August 18, the season is a month and 10 days from being over. So it won’t be long until you have to trot out your plan.”

There was speculation when La Russa was hired in mid-May that he would want to clear house, and that may still be the case. Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers is also thought to be on the hot seat.

Arizona entered play Tuesday with a 43-72 record — 16 1/2 games back in the National League West.

The Tigers decline Anibal Sanchez’s 2018 option

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From the “this does not surprise us in the very least” department, Tigers GM Al Avila announced today that the club is declining its $16 million option on right-hander Anibal Sanchez.

Sanchez had a terrible year in 2017, going 3-7 with a 6.41 ERA in 2017. That’s a long slide down from his 2013 season, in which he won the AL ERA title, going 14-8 and posting an ERA of 2.57 in the first year of his five-year, $80 million deal. Since then he’s gone 28-35 with a 5.15 ERA. He never started 30 games or more over the course of the contract.

The declination of the option does come with a nice parting gift for Sanchez: a $5 million buyout. Which is pretty dang high for a buyout, but that’s how the Tigers rolled three or four years ago.