Redskins

Alomar staying with Indians - for now

Alomar staying with Indians - for now

CLEVELAND (AP) Sandy Alomar Jr. will become a major league manager someday. For now, he is staying with the Cleveland Indians.

Alomar, the bench coach who served as the club's interim manager for six games after Manny Acta was fired in September, will return next season as new manager Terry Francona's bench coach.

Toronto, Colorado and Miami all have managerial vacancies but Alomar isn't publicly campaigning for any of them or counting on an interview.

``I don't sit at the phone waiting for calls,'' Alomar said. ``If they want to interview me, they know where I am at. Right now, I am the bench coach with Terry Francona and the Cleveland Indians.''

There is a chance Alomar could still leave, but Francona hopes that isn't the case.

``Selfishly,'' Francona said. ``I hope he stays here.''

Francona's coaching staff, a blend of experience and familiarity, was revealed Wednesday by the Indians, who also announced they exercised their option on pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez's $5.75 million contract for next season. Also, the team declined its $13 million option for designated hitter Travis Hafner and a $6 million option for starter Roberto Hernandez.

General manager Chris Antonetti indicated it was unlikely the club would re-sign Hafner, a power hitter who has been slowed by injuries for several seasons. However, the Indians might pursue Hernandez, whose 2012 season was tangled in a legal mess in the Dominican Republic, where he was charged with false identity.

``We would have interest in bringing him back if he had interest in signing here,'' Antonetti said.

Hernandez, previously known as Fausto Carmona, made just three starts in August before his season was ended by an injured right ankle.

In addition to Alomar, Francona named former Houston manager Brad Mills as his third-base coach and dipped into the Indians' minor-league system to make Mike Sarbaugh the first-base coach, and Mickey Callaway pitching coach. Sarbaugh managed Cleveland's Triple-A affiliate in Columbus the past three seasons, and Callaway served as minor league pitching coordinator in 2012, his third season in the organization.

``I think he's going to be a star,'' Francona said of the 37-year-old Callaway.

In addition, Ty Van Burkleo was named hitting coach, and Kevin Cash bullpen coach. Van Burkleo served as Houston's hitting coach for the final seven weeks last season and has previously worked in Oakland and Seattle. Cash played for Francona in Boston from 2007-08 and under Mills in Houston in 2010.

Francona believes he has a ``well-rounded staff.''

``I like our mix,'' he said. ``We took our time trying to find the right staff, and I'm proud of it.''

Although Alomar finished as a runner-up to Francona in the Indians' limited managerial search, he said the chance to remain with a team he played for and coaches was important.

``It means a lot to me and is a great honor to be on Terry's staff,'' he said. ``I played winter ball with Terry, I know him, and coming back to Cleveland is great for me. I am looking forward to learning from him. Terry is one of the best managers in the last 10 years. This is an opportunity for me to learn different things from different managers.''

Alomar has previously interviewed for manager jobs in Boston and Toronto.

If Alomar takes a job elsewhere, Mills would seem to be a natural to take over as Francona's bench coach. The 55-year-old Mills was on Francona's coaching staffs in Philadelphia (1997-2000) and Boston (2004-09). Mills and Francona were also teammates with Montreal.

One of Callaway's first projects will be Jimenez, who has been a major disappointment since coming over in a trade from Colorado in 2011. The right-hander went 9-17 with a 5.40 ERA last season. He led the AL in losses, wild pitches and stolen bases allowed and was the first pitcher to have at least 17 losses with a 5.40 ERA or higher since 2007.

The Indians had expected much more from the 28-year-old Jimenez, acquired at the trade deadline for top pitching prospects Drew Pomeranz and Alex White.

Antonetti said Callaway will spend time working with Jimenez in the Dominican Republic this winter.

``The thing we're looking for with Ubaldo is a little more consistency,'' Antonetti said.

That's what the Indians needed but rarely got from Hafner, whose career has been sidetracked by injuries in recent years. Because of knee and back problems, Hafner played in only 66 games last season, batting .228 with 12 home runs and 34 RBIs. The Indians are paying a $2.75 million buyout to cut ties with Hafner, who spent 10 years with the club.

Hafner put up MVP-caliber statistics for four straight seasons, topping out with 42 homers and 117 RBIs in 2006. The Indians rewarded him with a four-year, $57 million contract, but injuries prevented him from living up to the deal.

``For a while he was as feared as one of the best hitters in the American League,'' Antonetti said.

Hafner finished with 200 homers, the most by a DH in Cleveland history.

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10 Training Camp Questions: How dangerous is the Brandon Scherff contract situation?

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USA Today Sports

10 Training Camp Questions: How dangerous is the Brandon Scherff contract situation?

The Redskins report to training camp on July 24th, and for the next 10 days, JP Finlay will count down the 10 biggest questions the Redskins face going into the 2019 season.

10) Will the Redskins develop depth on the D-line?

9) Can the Redskins count on Montae Nicholson?

8) Want better offense? Get more out of the tight ends 

7) Will Jimmy Moreland actually win the slot CB job from Fabian Moreau?

6) After losing Reuben Foster, how's the Redskins LB situation?

5) Will potential match production for Redskins WRs?

When a team picks in the Top 10 of the NFL Draft, folks around the NFL expect that player to become a Pro Bowler. For Washington, that exact scenario unfolded with right guard Brandon Scherff. 

Mostly. 

Selected fifth overall in 2015, the Redskins took Scherff to play right tackle and anchor the offensive line opposite Trent Williams. That idea quickly faded, helped by the emergence of Morgan Moses, and Scherff moved inside to play guard. For four years, it's worked out great, with Pro Bowl selections in 2016 and 2017. 

Scherff is a mauler in the best sense of the word. He has great footwork and Redskins head coach Jay Gruden has called the former Iowa Hawkeye the best pulling guard in the NFL. Scherff is strong and nasty, words that won't win beauty pageants but absolutely win in the trenches of the NFL. 

Considering all of that, a contract extension for Scherff should be easy. Right?

Wrong. 

Currently in the final year of his rookie deal, multiple reports stretching over the last six weeks indicate that the organization is way off in their extension offers to Scherff. He might not command the biggest contract in the league, but he will get paid like a top three guard. In 2019, that means a lot of money.

Cowboys guard Zach Martin makes $14 million a year. Jaguars guard Andrew Norwell makes $13.3 million a year. Scherff might not get to Martin's salary, but he will probably get to Norwell, whether Washington pays it or not.

That means the Redskins need to pony up the cash now because as each day passes, the team is approaching an ugly set of options. Scherff and his representatives might continue to negotiate during the season, but it doesn't make a lot of sense. Once free agency becomes in view, players tend to wait for it. Just ask Kirk Cousins. 

In fact, the situation between Scherff and the Redskins has some resemblance to the Cousins saga from a few years ago. 

In that case, Washington low-balled their homegrown quarterback in their first set of negotiations. From there, things went sideways, and the team used consecutive franchise tags on Cousins before he finally left via free agency. 

If the Redskins can't get a deal done with Scherff, the team could use a franchise tag in 2020. But that's a dangerous game of roulette. 

The time to get a deal done with Scherff is now, if not last month. Redskins team president has said in the past that deadlines drive deals, but with Scherff, there is no exact deadline. He can decide to stop working on a contract extension at any moment, particularly once the pads come on at training camp. 

The Trent Williams holdout might be complicating things a bit, if Williams only wants more cash and the issue isn't about much more than that. The truth is a Scherff extension would actually free up cap space in the short term, as his signing bonus would be spread out over the life of the contract, and some of that salary cap relief could go to Williams right away. 

Williams' status isn't the hold up between Scherff and the Redskins. Whatever is the actual holdup best be resolved soon. or the Redskins are beginning down an all too familiar franchise path.

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Sánchez and Adams lead Nationals in crucial win over Braves

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USA Today

Sánchez and Adams lead Nationals in crucial win over Braves

ATLANTA—Anibal Sanchez outpitched Mike Soroka and scored the go-ahead run in the fifth inning, Matt Adams homered and the Washington Nationals beat the Atlanta Braves 5-3 on Saturday night.

Second-place Washington pulled within 5 games of the NL East-leading Braves, improving to 33-14 since May 24, best in the majors over that span. Atlanta has dropped four of five.

Sanchez (6-6) got a big assist in the bottom of the fifth when shortstop Trea Turner turned a bases-loaded double play, leaping to nab Nick Markakis' liner and throwing to first to beat Josh Donaldson back to the bag.

Soroka (10-2) allowed four runs and nine hits in six innings. He had won 10 straight decisions, best by an Atlanta pitcher since Hall of Famer Greg Maddux had a 10-decision streak in 2001.

Sean Doolittle got the last five outs, facing the minimum, for his 21st save in 25 chances. He struck out Ronald Acuna Jr. with a runner at second to end the eighth and breezed through the ninth.

Washington went up 4-1 in the fifth when Sanchez reached on an infield single to third, took second on Donaldson's throwing error and scored on Turner's double. Turner took third on Adam Eaton's single and scored on Anthony Rendon's single. Eaton scored on Juan Soto's single.

The Nationals took a 5-3 lead in the eighth off A.J. Minter as Turner singled, stole second and scored on Eaton's single.

Adams went deep for the 15th time, an opposite-field homer that bounced off the top of the wall in left-center and into the stands to tie it at 1-all in the fourth.

Sanchez, who pitched for the Braves last year and helped them win the division, allowed three runs and six hits and has a 2.70 ERA in his last nine starts.

Atlanta led 1-0 in the first when Acuna reached on an infield single, stole second base, advanced on a flyout and scored on Freddie Freeman's single.

Brian McCann's ninth homer, a two-run shot in the sixth, chased Sanchez and cut the lead to 4-3.

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NBC Sports Washington's Michael Stearman contributed to this Associated Press story.