Later today, the Yankees will announce the hire of Phil Nevin as their third base coach, Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports reports. Nightengale also mentioned an additional fun fact: Nevin and new Yankees manager Aaron Boone were high school teammates. Nevin was a lifetime .270/.343/.472 hitter across 4,703 plate appearances spanning twelve major league seasons. The former number one overall draft pick played with seven different major league teams during his career, but spent most of his time with the Tigers and Padres. Nevin was considered to be a strong candidate for the Tigers’ managerial opening before the club selected Ron Gardenhire to be their next skipper. Instead, he’ll become the latest member of rookie manager Boone’s coaching staff.
Other items from around the American League’s Eastern division…
- Any path back to contention for the Orioles in 2018 must begin with a retooling of a rotation that posted baseball’s highest ERA, Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun opines. At present, Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy are the only locks in the rotation, and although the Orioles have been in the mix for some pitchers so far, they haven’t signed anyone yet. While it has already been mentioned that the Orioles were in on Tyler Chatwood before he signed with the Cubs, Encina reports that Baltimore was also in on Miles Mikolas, who ultimately ended up choosing the Cardinals. He quotes Dan Duquette saying that retooling the rotation this offseason will be a “bigger challenge” than in previous years, in part due to “significant demand” for pitchers in the free agent class. The Orioles’ rotation posted a 5.70 ERA in 2017.
- Despite the aforementioned need for rotation improvements, the Orioles did not make a presentation to Shohei Ohtani. Duquette’s reasoning (explained in a segment on MLB Network Radio) was that the Orioles “philosophically don’t participate on the posting part of it.” While the Orioles are known for not utilizing their international bonus pool money, one would think that Ohtani would have presented somewhat of an exception to Baltimore’s “philosophy,” particularly considering his upside and the fact that he’s now ranked as the number one prospect in all of baseball. Of course, Ohtani eliminated all east coast teams before he even scheduled any in-person meetings, so this is largely a moot point.
- Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald lists five ways the Red Sox can “get down to business” now that the offseason’s two biggest holdups (Giancarlo Stanton and Ohtani) have found their new destinations. While he details Boston’s obvious need for a power bat his more interesting suggestion is that the Sox ought to pony up for a utility man who can be a legitimate hitter. If the team can’t re-sign Eduardo Nunez, Mastrodonato postulates, they ought to turn to the trade market for such an asset.