The Indians season ended last Wednesday with a 4-0 whimper in the AL Wild Card game against Tampa Bay. Five days later, we have our first piece of Cleveland baseball news of the offseason, according to multiple media reports.
Three members of manager Terry Francona’s coaching staff will see their responsibilities change for the 2014 season. Overall, all six of Francona’s coaches will return. But the realignment news today will likely turn a a few heads.
Brad Mills: Old position = third base coach; new position = bench coach
Sandy Alomar Jr: Old position = bench coach; new position = first base coach
Mike Sarbaugh: Old position = first base coach; new position = third base coach
MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reported (tweet) that the shift was due to a preferred alignment with the three coaches’ skill sets. None of the shifts are considered demotions, despite what one might initially assume about Alomar moving away from the bench coach job.
Notably, Mills (father of former Indians prospect Beau Mills, with whom he owns a young bucking bull) is the only one of the three to have previous long-term MLB managing experience. He coached the Houston Astros from 2010-2012 before being fired last August. Alomar managed the Indians for just six games in interim status last year. Sarbaugh was an up-and-coming managerial prospect after several years in the Indians minor league system.
In other related coaching news, the Chicago Cubs are not currently considering Alomar a candidate for their managerial opening, according to CSN Chicago’s David Kaplan. Former Cleveland skipper Manny Acta is meeting with the team today.