Author: Aaron Gleeman

Kelly Johnson Mets

Mets’ designated hitter in Game 1 will be Kelly Johnson


Playing under AL rules with the designated hitter spot for the first two games of the World Series presented Mets manager Terry Collins with a pair of options.

One is that he could have gone with defense, starting Juan Lagares in center field alongside corner outfielders Yoenis Cespedes and Curtis Granderson while using rookie left fielder Michael Conforto as the DH.

The other is that he could have gone for offense, leaving Lagares on the bench, playing Cespedes in center field flanked by Conforto and Granderson, and using Kelly Johnson or Michael Cuddyer as the DH.

Collins has opted for Johnson, at least in Game 1 against right-handed Edinson Volquez. Johnson has bounced around a ton and isn’t exactly a big bat, but he’s a left-handed hitter with 20-homer power who batted .265 with a .750 OPS in 111 games for the Mets and Braves this season.

Royals designated hitter Kendrys Morales, who’ll likely be on the bench for the three games played in New York, hit .290 with 22 homers and an .847 OPS this year.

Royals starting Edinson Volquez in Game 1 of World Series

Edinson Volquez

When asked Saturday why he was holding off on announcing the World Series rotation Royals manager Ned Yost said: “Because I’m being a little bit of a punk.”

Today he finally revealed his plans, which include Edinson Volquez in Game 1, followed by Johnny Cueto in Game 2, Yordano Ventura in Game 3, and Chris Young in Game 4.

Assuming no changes in plans, that would also mean Volquez in Game 5, Cueto in Game 6, and Ventura in Game 7.

Volquez vs. Mets right-hander Matt Harvey will kick things off tomorrow night in Kansas City.

Former Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington hired by Columbia University

Boston Red Sox Announce Ben Cherington as Executive Vice President/General Manager

Ruben Amaro Jr.’s first job after being fired as Phillies general manager is to join the Red Sox as first base coach, which is unusual to say the least.

So what is Ben Cherington’s first job after being fired as Red Sox general manager? He’s going to work for the Columbia University sports management program as an “executive in residence.”

According to the press release, Cherington “will be instructing a class on the topic of leadership in sports this spring, in the Master of Science in Sports Management degree program.”

Vince Gennaro, the director of the Columbia University sports management program, is also the current Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) president who has done lots of excellent statistical research related to revenue, payrolls, player valuation, and front office work.

I first met Gennaro years ago at a SABR convention and also once randomly sat next to Cherington–then an assistant in the Red Sox front office–at a SABR convention presentation, so the pairing makes sense given that Cherington has said he’d like to take some time off from the MLB grind before potentially taking on another front office job.

Don Mattingly is “leading candidate” to manage Marlins

Don Mattingly

From the moment he “mutually parted ways” with the Dodgers–and even before that, really–Don Mattingly and the Marlins seemed like a natural fit.

Sure enough, Jon Morosi of reports that the team “considers him the leading candidate” for the job. Mattingly is technically under contract to the Dodgers for 2016, but they won’t stand in his way of finding another gig and in fact could stand to save some money on Mattingly’s remaining contract if he signs with the Marlins.

Going from the Dodgers to the Marlins would be quite a shock to the system, but in leaving Los Angeles last week Mattingly made it clear that he viewed it as moving on rather than being fired. He wanted a different opportunity and … well, working with owner Jeffrey Loria in Miami certainly qualifies as “different.”

Mattingly had a 446-363 (.551) record in five seasons as Dodgers manager, including three straight NL West division titles, but the team went just 8-11 in the playoffs.

Red Sox hire longtime Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. as first base coach

Ruben Amaro Jr.,

Making official what was reported over the weekend, longtime Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. has joined the Red Sox as first base coach.

Going from the front office to the field is an uncommon move and doubly so in this case because Amaro has been in the Phillies’ front office–first as assistant GM under Pat Gillick and then as GM–since retiring as a player way back in 1998.

With that said, he’s still just 50 years old and it’s possible that this is the first step toward Amaro some day becoming a manager. He very quickly reached the highest level of the front office and now he’ll try to do the same in an on-field role, which is a fascinating change of direction.

In addition to serving as first base coach the Red Sox announced that Amaro will also be their outfield instructor. He played eight seasons in the majors as a part-time outfielder for the Phillies, Indians, and Angels and also spent parts of 10 seasons in the minors, where Amaro hit .300 with a .400 on-base percentage and more walks than strikeouts and lots of speed.