According to Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune, the Padres are in discussions with former Dodgers hitting coach Mark McGwire about their bench coach job.
McGwire has been the hitting coach for Los Angeles for the past three seasons. His contract expired at the end of 2015. He was recently a candidate for the Diamondbacks’ hitting coach job, but ultimately removed his name from consideration.
Working in San Diego is appealing for all sorts of reasons, but the bonus is that it would be close to his home in Irvine, California. If McGwire takes the job, Lin hears from a source that he would assist both new manager Andy Green and hitting Alan Zinter.
Interestingly, McGwire would be replacing Dave Roberts, who is a finalist along with Gabe Kapler for the Dodgers manager job.
UPDATE: Well, that didn’t take long. Mark Bowman of MLB.com writes that while the Braves might have had initial interest in O’Day, it has “evaporated” as his asking price has risen.
11:04 p.m. ET: The Braves are in rebuild mode and don’t exactly fit the profile of a team who appears likely to invest in their bullpen this offseason, but FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal is hearing otherwise.
The Braves, according to major-league sources, are pursuing at least two free-agent relievers – right-hander Darren O’Day and lefty Matt Thornton.
In fact, rival teams involved in the bidding for O’Day believe that the Braves might wind up making him the highest offer.
That’s a pretty significant statement, as O’Day is said to be asking for a four-year deal in the range of $28-36 million. Braves general manager John Coppolella was adamant that the team isn’t “tanking” in an interview with Bob Nightengale of USA Today earlier this week, so perhaps this pursuit is a response to the recent criticism. It might also change the conversation a little bit from a spending perspective, which can only help with the MLBPA. O’Day could be an option at closer for the Braves, though Arodys Vizcaino was pretty good in the role down the stretch this season.
Thornton won’t be nearly as a pricey. The 39-year-old southpaw posted a 2.09 ERA and 23/11 K/BB ratio over 41 1/3 innings with the Nationals this season. He’s more of a specialist at this point in his career.
We heard earlier this morning that Andy Van Slyke passed along some gossip regarding Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig during an appearance on St. Louis’ CBS Sports Radio 920, but that wasn’t even the juiciest/craziest part of the interview.
Van Slyke, who was recently let go after two seasons on the Mariners coaching staff, ripped into second baseman Robinson Cano and blamed him for the organization’s recent changes. You can listen here, but below are some highlights via Brent Stecker of 710 ESPN Seattle:
“Robinson Cano was the single worst third-place everyday player I’ve ever seen, for the first half of a Major League Baseball season,” Van Slyke said, speaking about Cano’s usual spot hitting third in the batting order. “He couldn’t drive home Miss Daisy if he tried. He couldn’t do it. He couldn’t get a hit when it mattered. He played the worst defense I’ve ever seen at second. I mean the worst defensive second baseman ever, I’ve ever seen, in 20 years in the big leagues.”
“Robinson Cano cost the GM his job, the hitting coach got fired because of Cano and then the manager and coaches got fired because of Cano, because that’s how much impact he has on the organization,” Van Slyke said. “He was the worst player and it cost people their jobs in the process.”
Anything else that Cano should be blamed for? The wave? Jar Jar Binks? There’s no denying that Cano was bad during the first half, but calling him the “worst” anything is hyperbole and he redeemed himself somewhat with a great second half while playing through a sports hernia. It’s only natural to maybe have some sour grapes about how things played out, but to single out one player — even a high-profile one like Cano — is crazy. There’s a bunch of reasons why the Mariners disappointed this season. Jack Zduriencik ultimately paid the price for those failings and the failings of the organization as a whole during his tenure. With new GM Jerry Dipoto coming in, it’s no surprise that he would want to hire a new manager and bring in a new coaching staff along with him. That’s how things typically go.
After bridge-burning comments like this, it’s hard to imagine that many teams will be knocking down Van Slyke’s door for a job opportunity. But hey, at least he said some nice things about Cardinals’ rookie Stephen Piscotty.
FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported Wednesday that Darren O'Day asking for a four-year deal in the range of $28-36 million. At the top of a weak free agent class for relievers, it’s increasingly likely that he’ll get it.
According to ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, the Dodgers are pursuing O’Day “big time.” With their resources, they have the ability outbid anyone for a player they really want. And there’s an obvious need for the Dodgers in front of stud closer Kenley Jansen. The bridge to the ninth inning is pretty shaky right now.
Such a contract for a reliever seems crazy on the surface, but it’s hard to say that O’Day doesn’t deserve it. Aside from an injury-plagued season in 2011, the 33-year-old sidearmer has been one of the game’s best relievers dating back to 2009. He owns a 1.92 ERA with 9.7 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9 over the past four seasons while making at least 68 appearances in all of them. Competition for his services should be fierce.
In race with two deserving candidates, Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson was named as the winner of the American League Most Valuable Player Award by the Baseball Association of America on Thursday.
It wasn’t as close as many expected it would be, as Donaldson ended up taking home 23 out of the 30 first-place votes. The other seven first-place votes went to defending AL MVP Mike Trout. The Royals’ Lorenzo Cain finished third in the balloting.
Donaldson was quietly one of the better players in the American League from 2013-2014, which is why many were caught off guard when the Athletics traded him to the Blue Jays last winter. The 29-year-old thrived in his new hitter-friendly home this season, batting .297/.371/.568 over 158 games while playing excellent defense at third base. He led the American League in RBI (123) and runs scored (122) while his 41 homers tied Trout for third. His contributions helped Toronto reach the playoffs for the first time since 1993, a factor which surely helped his candidacy.
Trout had a compelling case for a repeat, batting .299/.402/.590 with a career-high 41 home runs. His .991 OPS led the American League and was also the best of his career. He also had the edge in bWAR (9.4) to Donaldson’s 8.8, if that’s your thing. However, it’s hard to complain too much about how this played out. Both were great all-around candidates and you could have justified voting for either.
Trout now has four top-two finishes (one in first, three in second place) in each of his first four full seasons in the majors. Barry Bonds, Yogi Berra, and Stan Musial are the only other players with four straight top-two MVP finishes at any point in their careers, per ESPN’s Jayson Stark.
Donaldson is the second player in Blue Jays history to win the American League Most Valuable Award, joining George Bell (1987). According to ESPN Stats & Info, he’s the first player to win the award in his first season with a new team since Vladimir Guerrero did it with the Angels in 2004.
Complete voting results for the 2015 American League Most Valuable Player Award can be found at BBWAA.com.