Bring back Terry Francona!

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“For whatever reason, owner John Henry and GM Ben Cherington chose not to fire Valentine on Monday …”

That quote, from the never quick-to-call-for-the-axe Ken Rosenthal, pretty much sums up your early morning long form reading.  Here’s Rosenthal’s take on what the Red Sox should do — re-hire Terry Francona! — and here’s Jeff Passan’s take on why Bobby Valentine was such a dumbass hire to begin with and a look at just how bad it’s gotten in the Red Sox clubhouse.

Rosenthal’s idea is a fun one, even if he himself admits that it’ll never happen. No, for the Red Sox to re-hire Francona John Henry and Larry Lucchino would have to admit that they made a gigantic blunder. And Francona would have to set aside what is likely still considerable anger over just how forcefully he was thrown under the bus last fall. This despite the fact that, yeah, Francona is still the best guy for that job.

You have to figure, though, that Valentine is gone the day after the season ends regardless. And the question Rosenthal asks — who replaces him — is a pretty darn good one, with no good answers available.

Astros acquire Aledmys Díaz from Blue Jays

Aledmys Diaz
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The Astros have acquired shortstop Aledmys Díaz from the Blue Jays in exchange for minor league right-hander Trent Thornton, the teams announced Saturday.

Díaz, 28, was originally acquired by the Blue Jays last winter in a swap for minor leaguer J.B. Woodman. He spent the entirety of his 2018 campaign in Toronto, where he slashed .263/.303/.453 with a .756 OPS and career-best 18 home runs through 452 plate appearances. While Díaz spent the bulk of his year filling in for an injured Troy Tulowitzki at short, he has experience at second and third base and may prove useful to the Astros as an extra outfield option, too.

Per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, Díaz will serve as protection if the Astros lose shortstop/utility player Marwin González to free agency this winter. González did not receive a qualifying offer from the club this month and has reportedly drawn interest from 29 of 30 clubs in the league.

Thornton, 25, was selected by the Astros during the fifth round of the 2015 draft. The right-hander was promoted to Triple-A Fresno in 2017 and has been up-and-down since then, though 2018 saw some modest improvements across the board as he turned in a 9-8 record through 22 starts with a 4.42 ERA, 2.2 BB/9 and 8.8 SO/9 through 124 1/3 innings. He was one of several minor league players the Astros would have needed to protect in advance of the Rule 5 Draft on Tuesday.