Red Sox

Mackanin, Alomar, Martinez on Sox' list of candidates

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Mackanin, Alomar, Martinez on Sox' list of candidates

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam
While the issue of whether they have to soon find a new general manager, too, remains unsettled, the Red Sox Tuesday took the first tentative steps to drawing up a list of potential managerial candidates to replace Terry Francona.

Even as, on a parallel track, Red Sox ownership debates whether to grant the Chicago Cubs permission to speak with Theo Epstein about their general manager vacancy, the organization is forging ahead with a managerial search.

None of the "name" candidates -- Joe Torre, Tony La Russa and Bobby Valentine -- are thought to be on the Red Sox' shopping list, as the club seeks a younger candidate, one more agreeable to working with others than a more established, veteran manager.

It's also unlikely that members of Francona's coaching staff, including DeMarlo Hale, will be interviewed. Hale is viewed as a top managerial candidate, but after some of the late-season issues the Red Sox experienced in the clubhouse, it's thought that a fresh start is necessary.

According to baseball sources, some of the candidates being discussed are still involved in the postseason, though one, Tampa Bay Rays bench coach Dave Martinez, saw his club's season come to an end Tuesday afternoon when the Rays were eliminated in the American League Division Series for the second straight October by the Texas Rangers.

Martinez has served as the bench coach under Joe Maddon in Tampa Bay since 2008. In those four years, the Rays won one American League pennant and went to the postseason all four years.

Maddon, it should be noted, was the runnerup for the Red Sox' job in 2003 when the team hired Francona. Maddon is regarded as one of the best and most innovative managers in the game and Martinez has undoubtedly learned from him over the last four seasons.

Philadelphia Phillies bench coach Pete Mackinin is another candidate, though at 60, he's older than any other candidate the Sox have considered.

Mackanin has served as Charlie Manuel's bench coach for the past three seasons, replacing former Red Sox manager Jimy Williams in that role.

Mackanin has also worked as a bench coach for the Pittsburgh Pirates and has managerial experience -- albeit brief -- in the big leagues, having served as interim managers for both the Pirates and Cincinnati Reds.

Another known candidate is Sandy Alomar Jr., the older brother of recent Hall of Fame inductee Roberto Alomar and the son of former major league infielder Sandy Alomar.

Alomar had a long, successful career in the big leagues, spent mostly with the Cleveland Indians. After his career ended, Alomar served two seasons as the New York Mets' catching instructor, before rejoining the Indians as, initially, their first-base coach and more recently, manager Manny Acta's bench coach.

He was on the short list of finalists to manage the Toronto Blue Jays last fall, before losing out to John Farrell.

Tony Pena, currently the New York Yankees' bench coach, has been discussed, but is thought to be less of a candidates than Mackanin, Alomar and Martinez -- among others.

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam.

HOFer Joe Morgan's letter urges voters to keep steroid users out of Hall

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HOFer Joe Morgan's letter urges voters to keep steroid users out of Hall

Hall of Fame second baseman Joe Morgan is urging voters to keep “known steroid users” out of Cooperstown.

A day after the Hall revealed its 33-man ballot for the 2018 class, the 74-year-old Morgan argued against the inclusion of players implicated during baseball’s steroid era in a letter to voters with the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. The letter from the vice chairman of the Hall’s board of directors was sent Tuesday using a Hall email address.

Read the full text of Morgan's letter here. 

“Steroid users don’t belong here,” Morgan wrote. “What they did shouldn’t be accepted. Times shouldn’t change for the worse.”

Hall voters have been wrestling with the issue of performance-enhancing drugs for several years. Baseball held a survey drug test in 2003 and the sport began testing for banned steroids the following year with penalties. Accusations connected to some of the candidates for the Hall vary in strength from allegations with no evidence to positive tests that caused suspensions.

About 430 ballots are being sent to voters, who must have been members of the BBWAA for 10 consecutive years, and a player needs at least 75 percent for election. Ballots are due by Dec. 31 and results will be announced Jan. 24.

Writers who had not been covering the game for more than a decade were eliminated from the rolls in 2015, creating a younger electorate that has shown more willingness to vote for players tainted by accusations of steroid use. Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens each received a majority of votes for the first time in 2017 in their fifth year on the ballot.

Morgan said he isn’t speaking for every Hall of Famer, but many of them feel the same way that he does.

“Players who failed drug tests, admitted using steroids, or were identified as users in Major League Baseball’s investigation into steroid abuse, known as the Mitchell Report, should not get in,” Morgan wrote. “Those are the three criteria that many of the players and I think are right.”

Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Ivan Rodriguez were inducted into the Hall of Fame in July. They were joined by former Commissioner Bud Selig and retired Kansas City and Atlanta executive John Schuerholz, who were voted in by a veterans committee.

Some baseball writers said the election of Selig, who presided over the steroids era, influenced their view of whether tainted stars should gain entry to the Hall.

Morgan praised BBWAA voters and acknowledged they are facing a “tricky issue,” but he also warned some Hall of Famers might not make the trip to Cooperstown if steroid users are elected.

“The cheating that tainted an era now risks tainting the Hall of Fame too,” he wrote. “The Hall of Fame means too much to us to ever see that happen. If steroid users get in, it will divide and diminish the Hall, something we couldn’t bear.”

© 2017 by The Associated Press

MLB will institute rules to pick up pace, with or without players' agreement

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MLB will institute rules to pick up pace, with or without players' agreement

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Major League Baseball will change rules to speed games next year with or without an agreement with the players' association.

Management proposed last offseason to institute a 20-second pitch clock, allow one trip to the mound by a catcher per pitcher each inning and raise the bottom of the strike zone from just beneath the kneecap to its pre-1996 level at the top of the kneecap. The union didn't agree, and clubs have the right to impose those changes unilaterally for 2018.

Players and MLB have held initial bargaining since summer, and MLB chief legal officer Dan Halem said this week he would like an agreement by mid-January.

"My preferred path is a negotiated agreement with the players, but if we can't get an agreement we are going to have rule changes in 2018 one way or the other," baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said Thursday after a quarterly owners' meeting.

Nine-inning games averaged a record 3 hours, 5 minutes during the regular season and 3:29 during the postseason.