Red Sox’ Allard Baird had big hand in building Royals
KANSAS CITY — A few short topics from around the World Series:
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Allard Baird was the Royals general manager from June 2000 to May 2006. They were lean years (100 losses four times) except for 2003, when the team managed by American League manager of the year Tony Pena led them to their first winning season in nine years.
But the glow didn't last.
Baird worked under many financial restraints that limited his ability to draft the best players, though along the way he secured three very good players that have been a part of the Royals' newfound success.
His main signing was Alex Gordon, who went through a lot of turmoil as the next George Brett, coming up as a third baseman the year after Baird left. Gordon struggled and failed to live up to his promise until he was moved to left field. He has won three Gold Gloves and could finish in the top five in the MVP voting this season.
Baird also drafted designated hitter Billy Butler, pitcher Luke Hochevar (who missed this season with Tommy John surgery), and Zack Greinke, who was later flipped to the Milwaukee Brewers for Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar, Jeremy Jeffress, and Jake Odorizzi.
Many years have passed and Baird, now the vice president of player personnel for the Red Sox, remains very positive about his experience in KC and wishes the Royals nothing but the best.
"I'm really happy for the organization and the fans," Baird said. "It's a part of the country that's all about substance and they deserve this ride."
Baird is not attending the World Series. Another former Royals GM, however, John Schuerholz, who was the GM when the Royals last won the World Series in 1985, has been in attendance.
It has fueled some speculation that Schuerholz, now the president and CEO of the Braves, may be trying to feel out Dayton Moore, Baird's successor, for a return to Atlanta to be their GM. But Schuerholz said he's purely here to support his old team.
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There's still a lot of buzz at the World Series about hitting coach jobs that remain available around the league.
As we reported Tuesday, former Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long interviewed with the Mets on Wednesday. The interesting thing with that is that Long still has one year remaining on his deal at $750,000. If Long accepts a job with the Mets, the Yankees would be on the hook for any difference between his Yankees salary and what the Mets pay him.
In other words, if the Mets pay Long $500,000, the Yankees are on the hook for $250,000 of it — $750,000 minus the $500,000. It would be a coup for the Mets to land Long, who is considered one of the best in the business. He's not someone the players or manager Joe Girardi wanted to lose.
The Yankees are now looking in different directions having already interviewed Chili Davis, who signed a deal with Boston, and Dave Magadan, who has interviewed in a few places but could return to Texas.
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When the Red Sox signed Davis to be their hitting coach, they did so with a three-year deal. It was the only way Davis could be kept from signing with the Yankees. But what it did was give Davis a longer contract than manager John Farrell, who by all accounts has a year less than Davis remaining on his deal.
This is not completely unusual, but in most cases the coaching staff's contracts coincide with the manager or they have a shorter contract than the manager.
I've been told not to read anything into this; that the Red Sox simply did what they had to do to secure Davis, who is the hitting coach they wanted from the moment Gregg Colbrunn resigned.
Farrell is coming off a last-place finish after a World Series championship so now might not be the time to extend him. However, if he has another good season in 2015, Farrell will likely get the extension to secure his immediate future.
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The Red Sox are still awaiting word on whether they may have to search for another coach. The Red Sox granted the Twins permission to speak to Torey Lovullo about the team's managerial opening, but the Twins had yet to grant Lovullo a second interview as of Wednesday night.
Paul Molitor remains the frontrunner for the job. He's a local favorite.
But there is some sentiment in the Twins organization and certainly in public that the Twins should go outside their organization for a fresh perspective. That seems to be the main reason Lovullo is in the mix.