Red Sox

Magadan unsure of future after Francona's exit

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Magadan unsure of future after Francona's exit

By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com

Hitting coach Dave Magadan, like most of the Red Sox coaching staff, is in a holding pattern. Magadan met with Sox senior vice presidentassistant general manager Ben Cherington, then talked with GM Theo Epstein on Friday to discuss his future with the team.

Basically, theyre really happy with the job Ive done, Magadan said. Theyre going to give the new manager their highest recommendation on me. But they cant guarantee anything as far as me being back until they know who the new manager is going to be.

Epstein said on Sept. 30, during the press conference announcing the departure of manager Terry Francona from the team, that the new manager would be given license to hire his own staff.

Its always the case when you hire a new manager that not every member of the coaching staffs job is secure, that you always want to make sure the manager has the ability to bring in some of his own guys, Epstein said then. So, I told the coaches how much I appreciate their effort and theyre going to get my strong recommendation in many cases to the new manager but that we cant have final resolution on the coaching staff until we get the new manager in place.

Magadan, who has a year plus an option year remaining on his contract, is happy he will get that endorsement. First base coach Ron Johnson and staff assistant Rob Leary, whose contracts were up at the end of the 2011 season, were told last week they would not be asked to return.

Magadan, who turned 49 on Sept. 30, joined the Sox in 2007, after serving in the same capacity for parts of four seasons with the Padres, from 2003 until being let go in June 2006. He hasnt been in this kind of a limbo before.

No, I was in San Diego for three and half years and I ended up getting let go in the middle of the 2006 season, so there was no limbo there, he said.

Sox batters have thrived under his guidance. In his first four seasons, the Sox led baseball cumulatively in walks, doubles, and extra-base hits, were second in average (.274), on-base percentage (.353), slugging percentage (.449), runs, RBI, total bases, hits, and home runs.

In 2011, Sox batters led the majors in runs scored (875), hits (1,600), doubles (352), total bases (2,631), RBI (842), on-base percentage (.349), and slugging percentage (.461), were second in average (.280), and third in home runs (203).

But, as with just about every facet of the Sox on-field performance in September, the hitters also had their challenges. The Sox hit .280 in September, including .280 with runners in scoring position. But, on their way to a record of 7-20 in the month, the Sox won four games scoring at least 12 runs. Taking those four games out of the equation, the Sox hit just .218 with runners in scoring position.

But, after starting the season 0-6 and 2-10, Magadan figured the Sox would eventually snap out of their September slide.

I think that was kind of the thinking, he said. You can have all the meetings in the world, and you can yell at guys and rant and rave in the dugout, do all the things that fans like to see, but we turned things around after those first 12 games and we turned things around by playing up to our potential, playing good fundamental baseball. So I think whenever we hit a bump in the road during the season, you always go back to that and you have the belief that things were going to turn around because youve got talent and you feel like youve got the people who can turn things around, and they always did, especially after the start we had.

So I think we just kept looking for that and certainly you can always look back and think about doing things differently because of the way it turned out. But it was almost like it was a snowball rolling down the mountain, and it got so big it got to the point where nothing was going to stop it.

So you can always look back, hindsight is 20-20, but i think we all got to bear some responsibility for what happened, players, coaches, front office, manager. I think thats the way you got to approach.

Magadan said working for Francona was a hitting coachs dream. But considering the Sox September collapse, hes not surprised the Sox and Francona have parted ways. He had braced himself to not be surprised by anything that was going to happen.

I absolutely think the world of Tito and he was a hitting coachs dream, Francona said. But, if you made a list of things that could happen after the way we played, I think everythings kind of followed suit. But its unfortunate. Hes a guy that brought a lot of winning to Boston. Along with some other people, he changed the way people think about the Red Sox.

Its been a difficult stretch for Magadan. His mother had been ill the last few weeks of the season and passed away the day after the season ended.

Now he must wait for a new manager to be hired. Magadan does not know who that manager will be. But, he knows who hed like to get a shot.

Obviously, Id like to see Sox bench coach DeMarlo Hale get the opportunity, he said. I think he deserves it.

Several teams, including the Braves, As, and White Sox, have hitting coach openings. Magadan did not want to comment on those possibilities, preferring to keep his focus on the Red Sox.

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.

Corey Kluber beats Chris Sale for American League Cy Young

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Corey Kluber beats Chris Sale for American League Cy Young

Max Scherzer heard his name and thrust his arms in the air, shouting and smiling big before turning to kiss his wife.

Corey Kluber, on the other hand, gulped once and blinked.

Two aces, two different styles - and now another Cy Young Award for each.

The animated Scherzer of the Washington Nationals coasted to his third Cy Young, winning Wednesday for the second straight year in the National League. He breezed past Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, drawing 27 of the 30 first-place votes in balloting by members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

Kluber's win was even more of a runaway. The Cleveland Indians ace took 28 first-place votes, easily outpacing Chris Sale of the Boston Red Sox for his second AL Cy Young.

Scherzer yelled "yes!" when his award was announced on MLB Network, a reaction in keeping with his expressive reputation. He showed that intensity often this year, whether he was cursing under his breath like a madman during his delivery or demanding - also with expletives - that manager Dusty Baker leave him in the game.

Just a little different than the pitcher they call "Klubot." Kluber was stoic as ever when announced as the AL winner. He swallowed hard but otherwise didn't react, only showing the hint of a smile moments later when answering questions.

Not that he wasn't thrilled.

"Winning a second one maybe, for me personally, kind of validates the first one," Kluber said.

Scherzer's win moves him into rare company. He's the 10th pitcher with at least three Cy Youngs, and among the other nine, only Kershaw and Roger Clemens aren't in the Hall of Fame.

"That's why I'm drinking a lot of champagne tonight," Scherzer said.

Scherzer earned the NL honor last year with Washington and the 2013 American League prize with Detroit.

"This one is special," he said. "When you start talking about winning three times, I can't even comprehend it at this point."

Scherzer was 16-6 with a career-best 2.51 ERA this year. The 33-year-old righty struck out a league-leading 268 for the NL East champion Nationals, and in an era noted for declining pitcher durability, he eclipsed 200 innings for the fifth straight season. He had to overcome a variety of ailments to get there, and Washington's training staff was high on his thank-you list.

"Everybody had a role in keeping me out on the field," he said. "I'm very thankful for all their hard work."

Kershaw has won three NL Cy Youngs and was the last pitcher to win back-to-back. He was 18-4 with a league-best 2.31 ERA and 202 strikeouts. This is his second runner-up finish. Stephen Strasburg of the Nationals finished third.

Kluber missed a month of the season with back pain and still easily won the AL award over Sale and third-place finisher Luis Severino of the New York Yankees. Kluber led the majors with a 2.25 ERA, and his 18 wins tied for the most in baseball. He added to the Cy Young he won with the Indians in 2014 and is the 19th pitcher to win multiple times.

The 31-year-old Kluber was especially dominant down the stretch, closing out the season by going 11-1 to help Cleveland win the AL Central. He and Minnesota's Ervin Santana tied for the major league lead with five complete games - nobody else had more than two. Kluber also led the majors with 8.0 wins above replacement, per baseball-reference.com.

Kluber and Scherzer both had rough outings in the playoffs. Kluber gave up nine runs over two starts in an AL Division Series against the Yankees, and Scherzer blew a save in the decisive Game 5 of an NL Division Series against the Cubs.

Scherzer said he couldn't even watch the League Championship Series, although he did tune in for the World Series.

"That will eat at me this whole offseason," he said.

Voting for the awards was completed before the postseason began.

The final BBWAA honors will come Thursday when the MVP awards are announced in the AL and NL.

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