Thanks to scandal-besieged Alex Cora’s firing on Tuesday, the Red Sox are in the unfortunate position of having to find a new manager as spring training nears. Chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom spoke about the situation Wednesday, telling Alex Speier of the Boston Globe and other reporters that the Red Sox don’t yet have an idea where they’ll turn for Cora’s replacement. Unsurprisingly, the Red Sox seem prepared to consider in-house and external candidates for the position. Bloom praised Boston’s current assistant coaches, calling them “an impressive group” and adding, “No reason to think that a number of them wouldn’t deserve consideration for this.” Meanwhile, the Red Sox haven’t yet asked other teams for permission to speak with their assistants. Rays bench coach Matt Quatraro – whom Bloom knows from Tampa Bay – has come up in speculation since Cora’s ouster. However, it’s “unlikely” he’ll be a candidate because the division-rival Rays may not permit Bloom to pilfer other members of their staff, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic tweets.
More on a couple other AL teams…
- This has been a busy winter for the Blue Jays, who have made several notable acquisitions as they try to climb back to respectability in 2020. General manager Ross Atkins’ heavy lifting could be done, but the executive stated Wednesday that the team’s still open to another pickup that would make a “significant impact,” per Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet. Atkins revealed such a move would more likely come via trade than free agency, but he cautioned, “Executing trades of significant impact is very difficult to do.” Center field is one area that could still use some help, Atkins suggested, while Nicholson-Smith points to a reliever and a utility player as possible late-winter additions.
- To this point, the Blue Jays’ biggest offseason add-ons have been starting pitchers. On paper, they’ve greatly upgraded their rotation with the acquisitions of Hyun-Jin Ryu, Tanner Roark and Chase Anderson. Those three and Matt Shoemaker seem like locks to make up four-fifths of the Blue Jays’ season-opening rotation. Shun Yamaguchi, yet another member of the Jays’ offseason haul, will get an opportunity to win a starting job, according to Atkins (Twitter links via Nicholson-Smith). So will Sean Reid-Foley, who divided his nine major league appearances between Toronto’s rotation and bullpen last season.
- It doesn’t appear the Rangers’ signing of catcher Robinson Chirinos will put fellow veteran backstop Jeff Mathis’ roster spot in jeopardy. GM Jon Daniels said Wednesday that his expectation is that Chirinos and Mathis will open the season as the Rangers’ catchers, TR Sullivan of MLB.com tweets. If that proves to be the case, Jose Trevino will begin the year at the Triple-A level. But it’s possible Mathis, who’s due a $3MM salary in 2020, may first have to justify his place on the team in spring training. The soon-to-be 37-year-old has been a light-hitting defensive maven throughout his career, but his first season in Texas went poorly on both fronts. Mathis batted .158/.209/.224 en route to an almost unfathomable 2 wRC+ over 244 plate appearances, earned negative defensive marks from Baseball Prospectus and ranked last among position players in fWAR (minus-2.1).