By Shannon Drayer
We have a World Series matchup, and it just so happens to be the best team from the American League facing the best team from the National League. Amazing what can happen sometimes after a 162-game season and two weeks of playoffs.
Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo, left, is believed to be on the Mariners’ lengthy list of managerial candidates. (AP)
With Boston and St. Louis still playing, the Mariners and others will have to wait a bit longer to interview managerial candidates currently on those teams’ coaching staffs. Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo came up last week as a name that is on the Mariners’ lengthy list of candidates, and Cardinals third-base coach Jose Oquendo – who interviewed for Seattle’s vacancy in 2008 – could be on that list as well.
Lovullo, who is expected to be interviewed by the Cubs once the World Series ends, brings a mix of big-league and minor-league experience, having managed in the minors for the Red Sox and Indians organizations and serving as a coach with the Blue Jays and Red Sox. He also appears to be very comfortable with the numbers as this interview with David Laurila at FanGraphs.com shows. The numbers he talks about in the interview would be very much available to him in Seattle, as the team utilizes a department dedicated to baseball analytics.
Oquendo has been the third-base coach for the Cardinals since 2000. He has interviewed for a number of jobs in the past few years and was widely thought to be the frontrunner for the job in St. Louis before Mike Matheny was hired. Known as a motivator as a coach, his name (along with Dave Martinez from the Rays) was at the top of the list of an informal poll I did with a number of players in 2010 asking who they thought would make the next great first-time manager.
Of course, there is a new vacancy to talk about with Jim Leyland deciding to hang it up in Detroit. It will be very interesting to see what direction the Tigers go in seeing that, outside of Dusty Baker, there don’t appear to be many well-established options. Will they hire from within, go with a young candidate from outside the organization or try to poach a manager from another team? Will Don Mattingly be in the mix after saying Monday that he is not a slam dunk to return to the Dodgers next season? No doubt he has strong feelings about not getting an endorsement from his bosses this year, but is this a ploy for a longer contract or might he walk?
The coaching carousel plot thickens and becomes much more interesting than it was a day ago.
News and notes
Checking in on some fall ball and winter league numbers, Mariners shortstop prospect Chris Taylor – who finished his season at Double-A last year – is putting up nice numbers, going 7 for 18 in his first five games with a .476 OBP. Stefen Romero has struggled, however, with just four hits in 25 at-bats.
On the pitching side of things, Brandon Maurer is off to a slow start, giving up four runs in 5 2/3 innings while relievers Carson Smith and Dominic Leone, both candidates for spots in the bullpen next year, have fared better. Smith has allowed two runs in three outings while striking out four and walking one. In three outings, Leone has struck out seven, walked none and has yet to give up a run.
In Venezuela, Jesus Montero has gone 7 for 22 with one home run, one walk and six strikeouts. Logan Bawcom has given up one earned run, struck out four and walked one in four relief outings.
One final note: Masahiro Tanaka’s season continues as his Rakuten Golden Eagles have advanced to the the Nippon Series to take on Yomiuri. Tanaka pulled a Randy Johnson of sorts, picking up the save in the clinching game.