According to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, the Blue Jays, Indians and Twins have reportedly emerged as frontrunners to sign free agent left-hander Craig Breslow. No offers are on the table yet, however, and Rosenthal speculates that fellow free agent left-handers Boone Logan and Jerry Blevins will likely be signed before that happens. The Mets and Dodgers are also presumed to have interest in the lefty after attending his pitching showcase last week.
Breslow, 36, last pitched for the Marlins in 2016. He recorded a 4.50 ERA, 2.6 BB/9 and 4.5 SO/9 over just 14 innings in Miami and was released midseason after tanking even further in Triple-A New Orleans. The veteran southpaw hasn’t pitched a full season since 2015, when he ended a four-year stint with the Red Sox after delivering a 4.15 ERA, 3.2 BB/9 and 6.4 SO/9 in 65 innings — a far cry from the 1.81 ERA he put up during his second season in Boston.
Despite some key adjustments Breslow made to his mechanics and delivery over the winter, much of his value appears to be tied to his affordability. That should help him net a contract with the Dodgers if Logan and Blevins don’t pan out, as Rosenthal points out that both relievers are supposedly set on two-year, $12 million contracts for the upcoming season. The Blue Jays, meanwhile, are rumored to be in the market for two relievers, which could give Breslow an advantage if they can’t find the money to commit to more expensive names.
After 18 years, 12 winning seasons, seven postseason runs and three World Championships, Dave Righetti is no longer a pitching coach for the Giants. He was removed from his post on Saturday, when the team announced a few reassignments as they shake up their coaching staff. Heading into the 2018 season, Righetti will serve as special assistant to general manager Bobby Evans, former bullpen coach Mark Gardner will step into a similar special assistant role to “assist in pitching evaluations,” and former assistant hitting coach Steve Decker will take a special assistant role in baseball operations.
According to MLB.com’s Chris Haft, Righetti was the longest-tenured pitching coach in the big leagues. He helped shape the careers of notable Giants’ aces like Madison Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain — all Cy Young contenders (and, in Lincecum’s case, a two-time winner) at various points in their careers. He was there to assist Ryan Vogelsong during his stunning mid-career comeback in San Francisco. He helped newcomers like Chris Stratton and Ty Blach flourish even as the team stumbled to the bottom of the division. He was there to take the credit when a sterling rotation clinched the Giants’ 56-year, drought-snapping championship title in 2010 — and, when things went so horribly south in 2017, he took the blame as well.
Hardly anything went right for the Giants’ pitching staff in 2017. Madison Bumgarner was shelved after sustaining a serious shoulder injury in a dirt bike accident, Johnny Cueto couldn’t shake a cluster of blisters on his right hand and Mark Melancon found it difficult to justify a $62 million paycheck after pitching through an arm injury to four blown losses/saves and a 4.50 ERA. It would be a lot for any pitching coach to stay on top of, and given the team’s rapid descent from 2016 postseason contenders to last-place finishers in 2017, it’s not surprising that Evans felt the need to switch things up.
Successors have yet to be named for Righetti, Gardner or Decker, though Murray hears that the Giants could have interest in former major league pitching coach Jim Hickey. NBC Bay Area’s Alex Pavlovic adds that Evans is searching for someone to “put a new voice” on the pitching staff and will likely target someone who, like Righetti, brings considerable experience to the role.