Justin Thomas Rumors
- Darek Braunecker, the agent for Cliff Lee, told the AP (on CBS Sports) that his client is “clearly the best player on the free-agent market.” Hard to argue with that one.
- If the A's reach a deal with Japanese righty Hisashi Iwakuma, they'll have a surplus of arms and a number of suitors for them, so Mychael Urban of CSNBayArea wouldn't be surprised if Oakland flips a starter for some offense this offseason.
- Mets GM Sandy Alderson will interview DeMarlo Hale, Clint Hurdle and Don Wakamatsu for the team's managerial opening according to Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com (on Twitter).
- Andy Martino of the New York Daily News hears that the Mets will also consider internal candidates Tim Teufel and Ken Oberkfell.
- The Blue Jays announced that Wakamatsu will serve as the team's bench coach assuming the Mets don't hire him to be their next manager. Joining Wakamatsu on John Farrell's staff: former AL Cy Young Award winner Pat Hentgen.
- Derrek Lee, who had surgery on a ligament in his right thumb, told Yahoo's Tim Brown that he'd like to sign with a team that has a good chance of reaching the playoffs.
- The Pirates agreed to a minor league deal with left-handed reliever Justin Thomas, according to MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch.
- Mike Hampton, who pitched 4 1/3 scoreless innings with Arizona last year, wants to pitch again and is drawing interest, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter).
Here are some news items from the National League's middle division...
- Ryne Sandberg has turned down an offer to return as the Cubs' Triple-A manager, tweets MLB.com's Carrie Muskat, and Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com reports that Sandberg won't be with the organization at all in 2011. Sandberg was heavily rumored to take over managing the Cubs after Lou Piniella's retirement, but Chicago instead gave the job to interim manager Mike Quade.
- A roundtable of Cardinals writers collected by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch discussed the Colby Rasmus trade rumors and the majority don't like the idea. Comments range from "there would be no logic behind a trade" to "trading Rasmus would be incredibly stupid unless it’s an offer that’s so ridiculously good that it cannot be rejected."
- Pirates president Frank Coonelly discussed the team's manager search and other topics in a chat with fans on MLB.com.
- Steven Jackson, Brandon Moss and Justin Thomas can all become minor league free agents after being outrighted to Pittsburgh's Triple-A affiliate, reports MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch. Sean Gallagher, who was also outrighted, can declare free agency on Saturday but Langosch says the Pirates will try to sign the pitcher to a contract before then.
- Walt Jocketty tells MLB.com's Mark Sheldon that the Reds want to work out a contract extension with Bronson Arroyo before Opening Day. "I don't want to go into the season negotiating," Sheldon said. "We'll try to [get it done] before the start of the season."
- Steve Dilbeck of the L.A. Times praises Milwaukee's hire of Ron Roenicke as manager.
- Former Phillies hitting coach Milt Thompson has interviewed for the hitting coach job in Houston, reports MLB.com's Brian McTaggart.
Friday was the deadline for teams to set their 40-man roster for next month's Rule 5 Draft, and MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch reports that the Pirates cleared up two spots for prospects by designating Robinzon Diaz and Justin Thomas for assignment. They also designated Jeff Karstens for assignment yesterday.
Diaz, a 26-year-old catcher, hit .279/.307/.357 in 138 plate appearances for Pittsburgh in 2009. Thomas, a 25-year-old lefty reliever, had a 4.48 ERA in 60.1 innings with Seattle's Triple-A affiliate.
Among the players the Pirates added to the 40-man roster were righthanders Brad Lincoln and Bryan Morris, as well as outfielder Gorkys Hernandez. Lincoln was the 4th overall pick in the 2006 draft, while Morris was acquired in the Manny Ramirez/Jason Bay trade, and Hernandez in last summer's Nate McLouth deal.
As we look forward to the inevitable battle of the bullpens in Game Two, here are a few newsbits from everywhere but Yankee Stadium in the MLB universe...
- R.J. Anderson of Fangraphs believes that the Red Sox will be making a mistake if they sign Jason Bay to the four-year/$60MM contract that Jon Heyman reported (via Twitter) the club is willing to offer.
- Rangers officials met Thursday with Dennis Gilbert, the lead man of an investment group interested in buying the club, reports MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan.
- The Mariners outrighted Bryan LaHair, Randy Messenger, Marwin Vega and Cesar Jimenez to Triple-A Tacoma, with Jimenez's assignment coming after the southpaw was activated from the 60-day disabled list. Left-hander Justin Thomas was claimed off waivers by Pittsburgh.
- MLB.com's Jen Langosch breaks down the Thomas signing for the Pirates, and notes that the Bucs still have one more 40-man roster spot to decide on before November 20.
With about an hour to go before the start of Game Two, here are some items from around the majors....
- During an appearance on The Dan Patrick Show today, Dodgers GM Ned Colletti said his club will be focused on finding second base help and starting pitching in the offseason, though Colletti played dumb when asked about the possibility of the Dodgers making a play for free agent starter John Lackey.
- With the number of open managerial jobs quickly dwindling, some of the rumored candidates for the filled positions are looking at other options. Former Rockies manager Clint Hurdle (who was up for the Cleveland manager's job that went to Manny Acta) is one of four finalists to be the Rangers' next hitting coach, reports Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News.
- Along those same lines, Bob Melvin may go from being a candidate to be the next Astros manager to being considered for the Mets bench coaching job, says Adam Rubin of the New York Daily News. Rubin also reports that the Mets will name Chip Hale as their new third base coach after the World Series is over.
- According to a team press release, the Pirates have claimed pitcher Justin Thomas off waivers from Seattle.
- In a chat with MASN's Byron Kerr, Adam Dunn said he feels Washington is an attractive destination for free agents in part because Nationals Park is "a really fair ballpark."