In an expected move, Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com confirms that Ryne Sandberg will remain with the Phillies as manager of their Triple-A affiliate in Lehigh Valley. It was made official when the Phillies announced their player development staff earlier today.
Sandberg has been passed over for big-league manager gigs in back-to-back offseasons. While he interviewed earlier this month for the Cardinals’ job which eventually went to Mike Matheny, the Hall of Fame second baseman was not a candidate with either the Red Sox or the Cubs.
Sandberg will undoubtedly be floated as a possibility for managerial openings in the majors again next offseason, but Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer recently hinted that if he remains with the Phillies, he could be the successor to Charlie Manuel, who turns 68 in January and is signed through the 2013 season.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Astros and outfielder Michael Brantley are closing in on an agreement for a two-year contract in the $32 million range.
Brantley, 31, played a mostly full season last year for the first time since 2015. He hit .309/.364/.468 with 17 home runs, 76 RBI, 89 runs scored, and 12 stolen bases in 631 plate appearances. He made the AL All-Star squad for the third time in his career.
Brantley’s health, though, is why he had to settle for a two-year deal as opposed to a longer contract for a player of his caliber. He will take over in left field. In the event Brantley succumbs to injury woes, the Astros have top prospect Kyle Tucker waiting in the wings.
Update: According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, who also reports that the deal is in place, the Astros plan to rotate Brantley between left field, first base, and DH. That opens up some more playing time for Tucker.