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Don Mattingly will return to manage the Marlins in 2018


If there was any doubt, the Marlins put them to rest on Thursday: Don Mattingly will manage the team in 2018, Tim Healey of the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports. Michael Hill, Marlins president of baseball operations, said, “I didn’t know a decision had to be made. He’s under contract. Just spoke to him today, he’s doing great.”

Derek Jeter and Bruce Sherman bought the Marlins from Jeffrey Loria a couple months ago. That change in ownership saw some change in staff, so it was reasonable to think that Jeter might want to bring in a different manager. Mattingly is under contract through 2019, but that is not a guarantee of anything, as former Phillies manager Pete Mackanin can attest. Mackanin signed an extension with the Phillies in May and was fired at the end of the season.

Mattingly, 56, has managed the Marlins for two seasons, amassing a 156-167 (.483) record. He may manage the 2018 season without National League MVP candidate Giancarlo Stanton, as the Marlins are reportedly trying to trade him.

Report: Padres interested in Maikel Franco

Philadelphia Phillies v Washington Nationals
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The Padres may have some interest in acquiring Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco, according to a recent report from Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. It seems unlikely that the team would deal their starting third baseman with J.P. Crawford (fractured left hand) sidelined through July; to that end, however, they signed infielder Danny Espinosa as minor league depth on Friday and have reportedly been eying the Rangers’ Adrian Beltre, among other veteran options.

Franco, 25, entered Sunday batting .255/.297/.425 with nine home runs and a .721 OPS in 229 plate appearances this season. While he has yet to live up to the .280+ average, 1.9+ fWAR he posted during his rookie campaign, he’s been a solid 20+ home run producer over the last few years and shown some stability at the hot corner. He’s also under team control for the next three years and could provide some much-needed insurance behind the Padres’ current third base option, 27-year-old Christian Villanueva.

Rosenthal notes that the Phillies could strike a deal for one of San Diego’s relievers, though no one specific has been connected to the team yet — and the club probably wouldn’t be able to finesse a one-for-one deal given the quality of the Padres’ pitchers. The Phillies’ bullpen has looked downright abysmal over the last month, placing 11th-worst in the league with a collective 5.34 ERA and 0.3 fWAR. Their failure to procure a viable reliever beyond Seranthony Dominguez, Victor Arano and Edubray Ramos lends a certain urgency to any potential deal they make over the next few weeks, though the official trade deadline is still over a month away.