Twins hire former Padres manager Tingler as bench coach

John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports
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MINNEAPOLIS- Former San Diego Padres manager Jayce Tingler was hired Monday as bench coach of the Minnesota Twins, who also picked David Popkins as their new hitting coach.

Tingler went 116-106 over two seasons with the Padres, who made the playoffs in 2020 but collapsed down the stretch this year, resulting in his dismissal.

Prior to his time in San Diego, Tingler spent 13 seasons in a variety of roles with the Texas Rangers. The 40-year-old Tingler was drafted as an outfielder by the Toronto Blue Jays in 2003 and played parts of four seasons in the minor leagues before turning to coaching.

The 31-year-old Popkins was the hitting coach for the Class A Great Lakes Loons in 2021, a Los Angeles Dodgers affiliate. Popkins played three minor league seasons as an outfielder in the St. Louis Cardinals system and three years of independent league ball, before going into coaching.

Tingler fills the void left when Mike Bell died of cancer in March.

Popkins replaces Edgar Varela, who was reassigned to a minor league role.

AP source: Nimmo staying with Mets on $162M, 8-year deal

David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports
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NEW YORK – Center fielder Brandon Nimmo is staying with the free-spending New York Mets, agreeing to a $162 million, eight-year contract, according to a person familiar with the deal.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Thursday night because the agreement is subject to a successful physical and no announcement had been made.

A quality leadoff hitter with an excellent eye and a .385 career on-base percentage, Nimmo became a free agent last month for the first time. He was a key performer as the Mets returned to the playoffs this year for the first time since 2016.

The left-handed hitter batted .274 with 16 homers and a team-high 102 runs, a career high. He also set career bests with 64 RBIs and 151 games played. His seven triples tied for most in the National League.

Bringing back Nimmo means New York is poised to return its entire everyday lineup intact from a team that tied for fifth in the majors in runs and won 101 regular-season games – second-most in franchise history.

But the Mets remain busy replenishing a pitching staff gutted by free agency, including Jacob deGrom‘s departure for Texas and Taijuan Walker‘s deal with Philadelphia that was pending a physical.

On the final day of baseball’s winter meetings Wednesday, the Mets completed an $86.7 million, two-year contract with former Houston ace Justin Verlander that includes a conditional $35 million player option for 2025. New York also retained All-Star closer Edwin Diaz last month with a $102 million, five-year contract, and the team has a $26 million, two-year agreement in place with veteran starter Jose Quintana, pending a physical.

Those moves add to a payroll that was the largest in the majors last season. Under owner Steve Cohen, who bought the Mets in November 2020, New York became baseball’s biggest spender this year for the first time since 1989. The Mets’ payroll was $273.9 million as of Aug. 31, with final figures that include bonuses yet to be compiled.

Nimmo was selected by New York with the No. 13 pick in the 2011 amateur draft. He declined a $19.65 million qualifying offer from the Mets last month.

The 29-year-old Wyoming native made his big league debut in 2016. He is a .269 career hitter with 63 homers, 213 RBIs and 23 triples in 608 games. He has an .827 career OPS and has improved his play in center, becoming a solid defender.

Nimmo’s new deal with the Mets was first reported by the New York Post.