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Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Baseball

Report: Giants considering Dodgers staffer for manager

The San Francisco Giants appear to be crossing the picket line of their rivalry with the Los Angeles Dodgers in their search for a new manager.

Craig Mish of FNTSY Sports Radio said this week that Clayton McCullough, a field coordinator for the Dodgers, has emerged as a new candidate for the Giants job, which just opened up after Bruce Bochy’s retirement.

McCullough, 39, has been with the Dodgers since the 2015 season and worked under former Dodgers and current Giants executive Farhan Zaidi. Prior to that, McCullough served in various farm capacities for the Toronto Blue Jays.

The Giants, who finished 77-85 last season, are fielding multiple candidates for the position though, and another used to work for the Dodgers as well.

AJ Hinch explains why Gerrit Cole was not used in Game 7

Gerrit Cole

Houston Astros manager A.J. Hinch was the subject of a lot of criticism for not using Gerrit Cole in relief in Game 7 of the World Series, and his latest explanation is unlikely to change many minds.

Hinch said Friday that he and Cole had two ground rules for the pitcher’s Game 7 usage: Cole would not be used in the middle of an inning, and he would not be brought in while the Astros trailed.

Hinch’s first rule is logical. Starters aren’t used to coming in with men on base. If Hinch was set on removing Zack Greinke, bringing in Will Harris, who had been outstanding for the Astros all season, was an entirely defensible move.

The second rule, however, doesn’t make sense. The Astros needed outs, and they could not afford to allow more runs. Bringing Cole in trailing 3-2 in the 8th was a no-brainer. If he gave up more runs, the Astros could at least say they tried to staunch the bleeding with their best option. Instead, they tried to get through the 8th and 9th with Roberto Osuna, Ryan Pressly, Joe Smith, and Jose Urquidy. Osuna has been good, and Urquidy came up huge for the team in the postseason, but none of those pitchers are Cole, and the Astros were tagged for three insurance runs that took away any hopes of a late rally.

The only exception to the criticism is if Cole requested the rule and didn’t feel comfortable coming in to a game where his team was behind. Judging by his postgame demeanor, however, he seemed upset that he hadn’t pitched and looked to have one foot out the door already as free agency kicks off.

Carlos Beltran to be named Mets manager

Carlos Beltran is getting the job he sought.

New York Mets will hire Beltran as the team’s next manager, replacing the fired Mickey Callaway, as first reported by Anthony DiComo of MLB.com.

Beltran has no coaching experience, having only spent a year as a special assistant with the New York Yankees. He did interview for the Yankees’ open managerial position in 2017, which ultimately went to another inexperienced candidate in Aaron Boone.

The Mets, who are desperately in need of some good press, will bring back a player who was key to their success in the mid-2000s. In seven years as a Met, Beltran hit .280 with 149 home runs, and was a five-time All-Star. By all accounts, he really wanted this job, and now he has it.

Aroldis Chapman wants to stay with Yankees, will opt out if no extension

Aroldis Chapman Yankees

Aroldis Chapman has been one of the best relievers in baseball with the New York Yankees over the past three-plus seasons, and he wants to remain with the team going forward. But if he does, it will not be under his current contract.

Chapman holds a player option for the next two years and $30 million total remaining on his deal, and Jon Heyman of Fancred reports that he is not planning to opt in. The left-hander prefers to continue pitching in New York, but he wants an extension from the Yankees.

Chapman had 37 saves in 42 opportunities this season, and his 2.21 ERA was the lowest of his three full seasons with the Yankees. He’ll turn 32 in February, but Craig Kimbrel signed a three-year, $43 million deal with the Chicago Cubs after sitting out a significant portion of the 2019 season. You can understand why Chapman feels good about his chances of getting a big deal on the open market.

While some opponents think Chapman has lost some of his intimidation factor, he’s still one of the best relievers in baseball and has proven he can perform in a big market. It would not be a surprise if the Yankees pay to keep him.

Watch: Freddie Freeman runs into kid dressed as him for Halloween

Freddie Freeman Halloween

Freddie Freeman’s wife shared a cute video on social media Thursday night that showed her husband running into a kid who was dressed as the first baseman for Halloween.

The video shows Freeman carrying his child across a street. The Atlanta Braves first baseman then encounters a young boy wearing baseball pants, a Braves shirt and Braves hat. The jersey was Freeman’s.

The Braves first baseman then offered to take a picture with the young boy:

The kid seemed totally stunned. It’s as if he either didn’t recognize Freeman, or was in total shock to encounter the man he was dressed as and was left speechless.

What a cool thing.

This calls for the Spider-Man meme:

via GIPHY

Gerrit Cole tries to make amends with Astros fans in statement thanking team

Gerrit Cole

Gerrit Cole was rather cold to the Houston Astros organization immediately after the team lost Game 7 of the World Series to the Washington Nationals on Wednesday night, but the star pitcher took a much more pleasant tone after taking a night to sleep on it.

On Thursday, Cole issued a statement thanking the Astros organization and their fans for being “overwhelmingly friendly” and making Houston feel like home after just two seasons. He did not, however, openly express a desire to re-sign with the team.

Cole will be a free agent this offseason, and he was hesitant to speak with the media after Game 7. He noted less than an hour after the game that he is “not an employee of the team,” and he even distanced himself from the team with the hat he chose to wear.

Cole, a Scott Boras client, will be the top starting pitcher available on the free agent market this winter. He went 20-5 with a 2.50 ERA and 326 strikeouts during the regular season and was even better in the postseason, going 4-1 with a 1.72 ERA. One of his Astros teammates has even indicated that he knows where Cole might wind up, and it isn’t in Houston.

Mike Matheny hired as manager of Royals

Mike Matheny

The Kansas City Royals have found their next manager, and the person they hired is the one who has been favored to land the job for quite some time.

The Royals have reached agreement on a contract with Mike Matheny, as first reported by Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com.

Kansas City had a vacancy at manager after Ned Yost retired. He was with the team for the last nine years. Matheny, a former MLB catcher who won four Gold Glove Awards, was said to be the frontrunner for the job from the start.

Matheny, 49, managed the Cardinals from 2012-2018. They reached the World Series in his second season but he was fired last year amid a third straight season without a playoff appearance. Matheny used some questionable tactical decisions during his tenure, and some Royals fans have not been thrilled with the idea of his hiring. The team obviously believes he is the best man for the job.