Red Sox

Red Sox' Farrell may be on short list for Toronto managerial job

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Red Sox' Farrell may be on short list for Toronto managerial job

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com

BOSTON -- Having finished out of the playoffs for the first time since 2006, changes on the roster are not only inevitable but warranted for the Red Sox.

But players aren't the only area in which changes are expected. The team's coaching staff could also undergo turnover as as many as three of its current members -- pitching coach John Farrell, bench coach DeMarlo Hale and third-base coach Tim Bogar -- might draw interest for vacant managerial openings.

Farrell could well be a top target for several jobs. Industry sources indicate Farrell could be on a short list of candidates to succeed Cito Gaston as manager of the Toronto Blue Jays.

Additionally, the Seattle Mariners, who asked for permission to interview for their opening two winters ago, may again approach Farrell now that they have again in the market.

Farrell has been the Red Sox' pitching coach since 2007 and was approached by the Pittsburgh Pirates after 2007 and the Mariners following 2008. Both times, he declined to interview for the positions.

But such was the level of interest in Farrell that the Sox, fearful of losing the highly-respect Farrell, ripped up Farrell's original deal after the 2008 season to make him one of the highest-paid pitching coaches in the game.

As a condition to the deal, the Sox included a clause which prohibited Farrell from discussing jobs with other teams.

However, that clause expires with the conclusion of this season, freeing Farrell to listen to outside offers. And now that Farrell is allowed to listen to offers, the timing may be right for him take a job which interests him.

"The window doesn't stay open forever,'' said a baseball source of the interest in Farrell. "Now may be the time.''

First, though, Farrell may have to overcome some institutional prejudices about pitching coaches who traditionally have not fared well as managers. San Diego's Bud Black, whose upstart team led the National League West for much of the season before slipping in September and falling just shy of a postseason berth, may help change that perception.

Toronto would seem a logical destination, since the Jays boast a young, talented starting rotation which could benefit from Farrell's expertise. As an added bonus, Farrell has intimate knowledge of the A.L. East, having coached in the division the last four seasons.

Hale, who interviewed with Seattle after 2008, is expected to attract interest from the Milwaukee Brewers, who Monday announced they would not renew Ken Macha's contract.

Milwaukee general manager Doug Melvin knows Hale from their time together in the Texas organizaion.

Hale managed Texas's Triple-A affiliate in Oklahoma City in 2000 and '01 and Melvin later added him to the major league coaching staff, where he worked as the first base coach from 2002-05.

After four years as the Red Sox' third-base coach, Hale was promoted to bench coach after Brad Mills, who had held the position since Terry Francona became manager in 2004 left to become manager of the Houston Astros.

Bogar, who has managed at the minor-league level, has spent two seasons on the Red Sox coaching staff -- in 2009 as the first-base coach and this past season as the third-base coach.

Last offseason Bogar was interviewed by the Houston Astros, for whom he played and managed in the minor leagues, but lost out to Mills.

Bogar was overly aggressive at times at third, resulting in baserunners being thrown out at the plate. If Hale were to leave for Milwaukee or another mangerial post and Bogar remained, it's easy to imagine him being shifted to bench coach, replacing Hale in that role.

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

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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