SAN FRANCISCO -- Two years after he was a finalist to be the Yankees manager, Hensley Meulens is headed to New York.
Meulens, a longtime member of Bruce Bochy's staff, will be the bench coach for new Mets manager Carlos Beltran, according to multiple reports, including Jennifer Mercedes of La Vida Baseball. Meulens had interviewed last month to be Giants manager but he was not going to be on Gabe Kapler's staff.
Meulens, 52, joined the Giants as hitting coach in 2010 and spent the last two seasons as their bench coach. The Giants moved him to that position in part to give him a better shot of getting managerial gigs, but Meulens is still waiting for the call he has long dreamt of. Taking the Mets job should help Meulens, who has had success managing in the World Baseball Classic, accomplish his goal.
Beltran has no experience as a manager, and should the Mets succeed, Meulens should benefit from being the No. 2 man in the sport's biggest market. He also has found in recent years that it has been somewhat difficult to get interviews because most of his connections were in San Francisco, and taking a job with the Mets will widen that circle.
Meulens and Ron Wotus were the two internal candidates to interview for the job that ultimately went to Kapler.
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Wotus also interviewed to be the bench coach for the Mets, but he pulled out of the running when it became apparent he could stay in San Francisco and be on Kapler's staff. Meulens was thought to be headed to the Marlins, but he withdrew from that opportunity around the time the Giants hired Kapler.
Meulens is the third member of Bochy's staff to find a new job elsewhere. Former bullpen coach Matt Herges will be pitching coach for the Diamondbacks and former hitting coach Alonzo Powell took a job with a team in Japan.
With the Winter Meetings rapidly approaching, MLB free agency is heating up.
One of the top available pitchers -- Madison Bumgarner -- is expected to be in high demand, particularly now that Cole Hamels has signed with the Braves and Zack Wheeler reportedly has agreed to a five-year contract with the Phillies. For teams who scoff at Gerrit Cole's price tag, Bumgarner might be the logical compromise.
The Giants have been "in communication" with Bumgarner, but rumor has it another interested team has entered the mix.
MLB.com's Mark Feinsand reported Thursday that the St. Louis Cardinals have been linked to Bumgarner, citing a source.
St. Louis already has brought back veteran Adam Wainwright on a one-year deal, and after he, Jack Flaherty, Miles Mikolas and Dakota Hudson, there appears to be an opening for Bumgarner in the starting rotation. Signing with the Cardinals would not only allow Bumgarner to continue pitching in the National League, but would also allow him to continue taking his own at-bats, which we know he loves so much. He also has been linked to teams such as the Twins and White Sox, but would forfeit his at-bats to a DH in each of those situations.
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While Bumgarner is expected to receive a contract in excess of $100 million, Feinsand suggests Wheeler's reported $118 million payday might serve to increase the total.
Gerrit Cole is far and away the gem of the 2019 MLB free-agent class.
The former Pirates and Astros ace led the American League in both ERA and strikeouts last season and finished just behind teammate Justin Verlander in the AL Cy Young Award race.
The team that historically always has had the deepest pockets in baseball -- the New York Yankees -- have made Cole a priority in free agency, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported Thursday, citing a source.
Cole is a Southern California native with familial ties to the Giants, a team that also features one of the most pitcher-friendly ballparks in the MLB. San Francisco also has been mentioned as a destination for the ace, who reportedly desires a return to the West Coast.
But if the Yankees, who always have jumped to outbid every other team for talent in free agency, decide to back up the proverbial Brinks truck for the 29-year-old, the Giants might be swiftly eliminated from contention for Cole.
Reports indicate that Cole’s price tag will “shatter” the record set by David Price when he signed a $217 million contract with the Boston Red Sox in 2015.
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While San Francisco has plenty of money to spend this offseason, it likely won’t engage in a bidding war that could approach $300 million.
Even if longtime Giant and current free agent Madison Bumgarner elects to go elsewhere in free agency, it remains to be seen how much money San Francisco would be willing to shell out for an elite talent like Cole in the heart of his prime.