John Farrell’s seat became a little less hot on Monday.
The Boston Red Sox picked up the 2018 contract option on Farrell, who managed the team to a 2013 World Series championship and a 339-309 record over his four seasons at the helm.
Farrell, 54, guided the Red Sox to an American League East division championship after going 93-69 in 2016. The Red Sox were swept in the ALDS by the eventual AL-champion Cleveland Indians.
After back-to-back last place AL East finishes in 2014 and 2015, Farrell’s job security came into question.
Farrell took a leave of absence in August 2015 after being diagnosed with stage one lymphoma. He was replaced by bench coach Torey Lovullo, who was recently hired to manage the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Farrell returned the following spring training and managed the entire 2016 season.
Before managing the Red Sox, Farrell spent two seasons as the skipper for the Toronto Blue Jays. He is 493-479 in six seasons.
Farrell previously served as the Red Sox’s pitching coach from 2007 to 2010. He also pitched eight MLB seasons with the Indians, then-California Angels and Detroit Tigers from 1987 until 1996.
Rangers try to acquire Hamilton
One of the more intriguing stories making the rounds Monday at the Major League Baseball winter meetings in Oxon Hill, Maryland, was the interest that the Texas Rangers had in Billy Hamilton, the speedy outfielder of the Cincinnati Reds.
Buster Olney of ESPN reported that the Rangers were interested in Hamilton while Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports sent out a tweet that Texas was also in the running for Pittsburgh center fielder Andrew McCutchen, who had a down year in 2016.
“We have been meeting with teams that are interested in our players. I am not going to comment on specific teams and what they are asking about,” said Dick Williams, in his first winter meetings as the Reds general manager. “We have players that other teams have shown interest in. We have been willing to listen to where those discussions go. It has been nothing more than that as this point.”
How would the Reds replace Hamilton, one of the faster players in the game?
“That is one of the reasons Billy has an enormous high price tag,” Williams said. “You don’t replace Billy one for one. It would set off a chain of events we would have to do” to replace him.
Williams said Monday afternoon that he did not feel any closer to any kind of deal. But he also said he was very confident the Reds would be willing to make some key transaction before the end of the winter meetings here Thursday.
Hamilton hit .260 with 58 steals last season. Other Reds veterans who could acquire interest are infielders Bandon Phillips and Zack Cozart.
Nationals’ Rizzo mum on Harper
USA Today reported Monday that agent Scott Boras is seeking a $400 million dollar contract for Bryce Harper, the Nationals outfielder who will be a free agent after the 2018 season. Harper was the National League MVP in 2015 but slumped this past year at the plate.
Washington general manager Mike Rizzo was asked if he had begun conversations with Boras about a contract extension for Harper.
“I am not going to answer those type of questions,” said Rizzo, standing outside of his 11th floor suite at the Gaylord Hotel & Conference Center. “Those are private.”
Melancon signs with Giants
Closer Mark Melancon, who ended the 2016 season with the Washington Nationals, signed a deal with the San Francisco Giants, according to reports.
He was traded by the Pittsburgh Pirates to the Nationals in late July and helped Washington win the National League East. Melancon, from Colorado, combined for 47 saves in 2016.
“We gave an offer we felt was market value,” Washington general manager Mike Rizzo said. “He is one of the elite closers in the game and a great teammate. At the end of the day the Giants offered him more and he took the deal. That is what free agency is all about.”
Hill signs three-year deal with Dodgers
Less than two years ago lefty Rich Hill was pitching for the Long Island Ducks in the independent Atlantic League.
On Monday the veteran pitcher signed a free agent deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers, the team he ended the 2016 season with. He joins Clayton Kershaw in the Dodgers rotation. The contract is for three years and $48 million, a source told MLB.com.
“I always wanted to get back to starting,” Hill said after the signing was announced at the winter meetings. “I didn’t know if the opportunity would present itself. I did it with Long Island and going back to Boston” in 2015.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts is not worried about the makeup of his starting rotation. “The left-handed-ness doesn’t worry us,” Roberts said. “Just to have guys like him (Hill) and Clayton lead the way for guys like lefty Julio (Urias), it is very exciting for us.”
Hill was 3-2 with an ERA of 1.83 in six starts for the Dodgers in 2016 after he was acquired from the Oakland A’s.