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.

New photo surfaces of noticeably thinner Pablo Sandoval

New photo surfaces of noticeably thinner Pablo Sandoval

When it comes to Pablo Sandoval and his weight, a picture is worth a thousand words.

During spring training it wasn’t a good thing. Sandoval made headlines when a number of photos revealed significant weight gain for the Red Sox third baseman.

But the last two images have been more positive for Sandoval.

In October, a noticeably thinner Sandoval was photographed at an FC Barcelona game.

On Monday, Dan Roche of WBZ tweeted a more recent picture of the new-look Sandoval.

Sandoval, 30, is entering the third season of a five-year, $95 million contract. In his lone full season in Boston, 2015, Sandoval hit .245/.292/.366 with 10 homers and 47 RBI.

Red Sox taking stricter luxury tax penalties into consideration this offseason

Red Sox taking stricter luxury tax penalties into consideration this offseason

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- The newly agreed upon Major League Baseball collective bargaining agreement features higher taxes and additional penalties for exceeding the competitive balance threshold -- and don't think the Red Sox haven't noticed.

The Red Sox went over the threshold in both 2015 and 2016, and should they do so again in 2017, they would face their highest tax rate yet at 50 percent. Additionally, there are provisions that could cost a team in such a situation to forfeit draft picks as well as a reduced pool of money to sign its picks.

None of which means that the Red Sox won't definitively stay under the $195 million threshold for the upcoming season. At the same time, however, it remains a consideration, acknowledged Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski.

"You would always like to be under the CBT (competitive balance tax) if you could,'' offered Dombrowski. "And the reason why is that are penalties attached for going over, so nobody likes to (pay) penalties.

"However, the Red Sox, if you follow history, have been up-and-down, right around that number. We were over it last year and the year before that. So I would prefer (to be under in 2017). However, a little bit more driving force in that regard is that there are stricter penalties now attached to going over. And some of them involve, for the first time, differences in draft choices and sacrificing money to sign players and that type of thing. So there's a little bit more drive (to stay under).

"But I can't tell you where we're going to end up. Eventually, does it factor (in)? Yeah. But until we really get into the winter time and see where we are, will I make an unequivocal (statement about staying under the CBT)? Maybe we won't. But there are penalties that I would rather not be in position to incur.''

Dombrowski stressed that he's not under a "mandate'' from ownership to stay under the CBT.

"But I am under an awareness of the penalties,'' he said. "Last year, I would have preferred to be under, too, but it just worked for us to be above it, because we thought that would be the best way to win a championship at the time.''

He added: "I think we're going to have a good club either way.''

But it's clear that the CBT is part of the reason the Red Sox aren't being more aggressive toward some premium free agents such as first baseman/DH Edwin Encarnacion, who is said to be looking for at least a four-year deal at an annual average value of more than $20 million.

Currently, the Red Sox have nearly $150 million in guaranteed contracts for 2017, plus a handful of arbitration-eligible players, some of whom (Drew Pomeranz, Jackie Bradley Jr.) will see significant raises.

Together, with insurance premiums and others costs tallied, the Sox stand at nearly $180 million, just $15 million under the 2017 tax.

"I've said all along I've wanted to stay away from long-term contracts for hitters at this point,'' Dombrowski said of the current free agent class, "(especially) with some of the guys we have in our organization coming. I just haven't felt that that's a wise thing to do.''

The Sox saw two potential DHs come off the board over the weekend, with Carlos Beltran signing a one-year $16 million deal with Houston and Matt Holliday getting $13 million from the Yankees. Either could have filled the vacancy left by David Ortiz's retirement, but Dombrowski would also be taking on another another eight-figure salary, pushing the Sox well past the CBT.

"I figured we would wait to see what ends up taking place later on,'' said Dombrowski, "and see who's out there.''