ESPN announced that John Kruk will replace Terry Francona as a “Sunday Night Baseball” analyst after Francona left the network to become the Indians’ manager.
Francona joined the broadcast this year after Bobby Valentine left ESPN to become the Red Sox’s manager, basically swapping jobs with Francona.
Kruk will join holdovers Dan Shulman and Orel Hershiser in the three-man booth. He’s been part of ESPN’s studio team since 2004, appearing on “Baseball Tonight” and other shows.
And if Kruk gets hired as a manager next year you know something weird is happening in that booth.
Jon Heyman has been hot on the free agent trail today, reporting that the Padres have made offers both Manny Machado and Bryce Harper. The offer to Machado is believed to be for eight years and about $250 million, while the offer to Harper is believed to be for more than that.
Heyman was reporting on Harper earlier, tweeting that the Phillies are the favorite to sign him. He added this evening that Harper has multiple long-term offers at more than $30 million annually. Regarding Machado, Heyman noted that while Machado was believed to have had a preference for the East coast, he will go for the best deal now, which puts the Padres firmly in the picture.
The Padres reportedly met with Machado last week. A late entrant into the sweepstakes, the club has shown the willingness to spend, signing Eric Hosmer to an eight-year, $144 million contract last year. If he goes to San Diego, Machado would be the full-time third baseman with Luis Urias handling shortstop.
Nothing appears close, but we’ll take anything resembling a spark to light the hot stove.