Ron Johnson takes Triple-A job with Orioles after being fired by Red Sox

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Fired last month as the Red Sox’s first base coach, Ron Johnson has taken a job with the Orioles as their Triple-A manager.

He’ll manage at Triple-A Norfolk, with Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reporting that the Orioles will reassign the man he’s replacing, Gary Allenson, to another role in the organization.

Prior to his two seasons as manager Terry Francona’s first base coach Johnson spent a decade managing and coaching for the Red Sox in the minors, including lots of success at Triple-A Pawtucket.

Connolly also notes that Johnson first joined the Red Sox in 2000, when their general manager was current Orioles general manager Dan Duquette.

Yankees, Mariners expressing interest in J.A. Happ

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Jon Morosi of MLB Network reports that the Yankees and Mariners are both expressing interest in Blue Jays starter J.A. Happ.

Happ is posting a 3.48 ERA and a 94/25 K/BB ratio in 82.2 innings across 14 starts and has been stingy with the hits as well. Between that, the Blue Jays’ lack of contention and the fact that Happ is in the walk year of his three-year, $36 million deal, all signs point to the Jays trading them.

In normal circumstances you might not expect the Jays to make a trade with the Yankees, but at this point it sort of doesn’t matter, does it? It’s not like Happ in New York on a couple month rental will impact the 2018 Jays too much. And, given his pending free agency, it’s not extraordinarily likely that he’d haunt the Jays from the Bronx long term either.

There’s not a ton of elite pitching currently available, but as the trade deadline approaches — a little over a month to go on that score — the talk about Happ, Cole Hamels, Francisco Liriano and others will heat up. Figure the Yankees will be linked with any and all available starters.