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Indians Reward Manager Terry Francona with Extension

Indians Reward Manager Terry Francona with Extension

Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Since taking over the Cleveland Indians, manager Terry Francona has helped turned the Indians around to a competitive team in the American League Central. That is why the team has agreed on an extension with their skipper.

Francona's new deal will keep him in an Indians uniform through the 2018 season. It also includes club options for the 2019 and 2020 seasons.

In his first season with the Indians back in 2013, Francona guided the Indians to a 92-win season, which was the most wins in a single season since 2007.

That year the Indians also made the playoffs for the first time since 2007, while Francona won the American League Manager of the Year Award.

This past season, the Indians took a slight step back, but still finished 85-77.

In 14 seasons as a Major League manager with the Philadelphia Phillies, Boston Red Sox, and Indians, Francona has 1,206 wins, which is the fourth-most among active managers.

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Sandoval Given $15.3 Million Qualifying Offer

Sandoval Given $15.3 Million Qualifying Offer

Brad Mangin/MLB Photos via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The World Champion San Francisco Giants made the first step in retaining third baseman Pablo Sandoval, extending him a qualifying offer on Monday. The Giants issued a $15.3 million offer to Sandoval, one he has seven days to accept or decline.

The 28-year-old hit .279 with 16 home runs and 73 RBI in 2014 for San Francisco and also caught the final out of the World Series. In seven years with the Giants, Sandoval has helped the team to three World Series titles by belting 106 homers, driving in 462 runs and hitting at a .294 clip.

During the postseason, "Kung Fu Panda" has been even better, hitting .344 with six homers and 20 RBI in 39 playoff games.

Sandoval had previously rejected a three-year, $40 million contract extension in March and earned $8.25 million this past season. 

Sandoval was one of 12 different Major Leaguers that had qualifying offers issued on Monday. All will have until Nov. 10 to decide, but none of the 22 offers extended in the last two years have been accepted.

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ESPN: Twins Set to Hire Paul Molitor as New Manager

ESPN: Twins Set to Hire Paul Molitor as New Manager

Brian D. Kersey/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- For the first time since 2001, someone other than Ron Gardenhire will manage the Minnesota Twins full-time as ESPN reports that the team is set to hire former player Paul Molitor as their new manager.

The Twins and Molitor are reportedly hammering out the final details on a deal that will bring him back to the Twin Cities.

Molitor will replace Gardenhire, who managed the team for 13 seasons, but piled up 383 losses over the past four seasons.

While this will be his first time he's helmed a big league team, Molitor has been involved with the Twins' coaching staff since 2005 when he served as a minor league base running and infield coordinator. In 2013, the Twins hired him to supervise the team's baserunning, bunting, infield instruction and positioning as well as assistance with in-game strategy. In July, he became the team's first-base coach.

A Hall of Famer since 2004, Molitor enjoyed a stellar 21-year career and spent the final three seasons of his career with the Twins from 1996-1998.

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Options Declined on Butler, Markakis, Weeks

Options Declined on Butler, Markakis, Weeks

Mike McGinnis/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Three prominent names in baseball will be looking for work this offseason as Billy Butler, Nick Markakis and Rickie Weeks had

contract options declined by their teams.

Coming off a heartbreaking game 7 World Series loss, the Kansas City Royals turned down a $12 million option on Butler, their designated hitter and a fan favorite. Butler was a 2012 All-Star when he hit .313 with 29 home runs and 107 RBI. Those numbers have took a sharp dive this season as he hit .271 with nine home runs and 66 RBI. 

The Baltimore Orioles chose to buyout the remaining year on outfielder Nick Markakis's contract, choosing to pay him $2 million instead of the full $17.5 million he would have made this coming season. 

Markakis had stated that would like to stay in Baltimore and the Orioles would like him to return according to MASN's Roch Kubatko.

"Nick is a dependable player and the Orioles would like to continue a relationship with him," said executive vice president Dan Duquette in a text message.

The Milwaukee Brewers also chose to save some money by declining the option of second baseman Rickie Weeks that would have seen him earn $14.5 million.

Weeks has spent his entire 11-year career with the Brewers but was becoming a part-time player as he has missed at least 40 games in three of the last four seasons for the Brew Crew. 

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Chicago Cubs Fire Manager Rick Renteria

Chicago Cubs Fire Manager Rick Renteria

Brian D. Kersey/Getty Images(CHICAGO, Ill) -- After one season of work, the Cubs have fired manager Rick Renteria.

Friday, Team President Theo Epstein released a statement praising  Renteria's efforts in 2014.

Epstein's statement added that the opportunity to add Joe Maddon as manager of the team was too good to pass up.

"Last Thursday, we learned that Joe Maddon - who may be as well suited as anyone in the industry to manage the challenges that lie ahead of us - had become a free agent,'' Epstein explained. " We confirmed the news with Major League Baseball, and it became public knowledge the next day.

"We saw it as a unique opportunity and faced a clear dilemma: be loyal to Rick or be loyal to the organization. In this business of trying to win a world championship for the first time in 107 years, the organization has priority over any one individual. We decided to pursue Joe."

Maddon opted out of his contract with the Tampa Bay Rays last week.  The contract with Maddon has not yet been finalized.  The Cubs offered Renteria a chance to stay with the organization but he declined.


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Nationals Make a Pair of Roster Moves, Span Excercises Option

Nationals Make a Pair of Roster Moves, Span Excercises Option

Mike McGinnis/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Washington Nationals are already preparing for the 2015 regular season as they've made a couple of decisions on their roster that could help shape the team going forward.

Center Fielder Denard Span decided to exercise his option for the 2015 season that will keep him  in Washington next season while getting paid $9 million.

Span just wrapped up his second season with the Nationals and batted .302 with 31 steals. He also was tied for the league record for 184 hits, which was also a Nationals' record.

The team did decide, however, to decline the options on first baseman Adam LaRoche as well as closer/reliever Rafael Soriano.

LaRoche has been one of the team's most consistent hitters the past few seasons, and led the team with 26 home runs and 92 RBIs. The Nationals decided to decline a mutual option in 2015 that would pay him $15 million. The team will instead pay him $2 million.

Soriano's contract included a $14 million club option for 2015, but he will become a free agent instead. He saved 32 games in 2014, but he blew five of 15 save chances after the All-Star break while Drew Storen emerged as a capable replacement towards the end of the season.

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Red Sox and Reliever Koji Uehara Agree on Two-Year Extension

Red Sox and Reliever Koji Uehara Agree on Two-Year Extension

Jared Wickerham/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The Boston Red Sox were not about to let one of the most dominant relievers in recent years hit the free agent market as the team and closer Koji Uehara have agreed on a two-year deal through the 2016 season.

Even though he'll be 40 years old in early April, the Red Sox are confident that Uehara will keep up his effectiveness out of the bullpen.

In 64 appearances this past season for Boston, Uehara posted a 2.52 ERA, posted a career-high 26 saves, and struck out 80 batters in 64.1 innings pitched.

Uehara came up big for the Red Sox during their World Series season back in 2013. He saved seven games and recorded a .66 ERA in 13 appearances. He was the named the MVP of the AL Championship Series.

Prior to joining the Red Sox in 2013, Uehara pitched for the Texas Rangers and Baltimore Orioles.

In six seasons in the Majors, Uehara is 15-15 with a 2.44 ERA with 61 saves.

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Rays Deny Rumors They’re Interested in Moving to Montreal

Rays Deny Rumors They’re Interested in Moving to Montreal

Zoonar/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Will Major League Baseball move back to Montreal? Not so fast says the Tampa Bay Rays who are denying rumors that the franchise may be interested in relocating to Montreal.

Bill Madden of the New York Daily News reports that Rays owner Stuart Sternberg has had discussions with “wealthy Wall Street associates” about possibly moving the team to Montreal.

Whether the report is true or not, the team felt it was necessary to address it in a statement.

“We are committed to making baseball work in the Tampa Bay region," the statement read. "We will do everything we can to make that happen and right now things are moving in a productive and positive direction. We have not spoken to Montreal -- or any other city, including Tampa -- about relocation at any point.”

The Rays have been one of the better teams in the American League since they made the World Series back in 2008.

Still, attendance has been below average annually. This past season, the Rays ranked dead last in Major League Baseball in attendance and are locked into their current lease at Tropicana Field until 2027.

The Expos left Montreal after the 2004 season.

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Bumgarner’s Gem Lifts Giants to World Series Lead

Bumgarner’s Gem Lifts Giants to World Series Lead

Brad Mangin/MLB Photos via Getty Images(SAN FRANCISCO) -- Madison Bumgarner tossed a complete game shutout and Brandon Crawford had three RBI's as the San Francisco Giants beat the Kansas City Royals 5-0 in Game 5 of the World Series on Sunday night. With the victory, the Giants are one win away from their third World Series title in five years.

"He was on early in the game and didn't have any stressful innings," said manager Bruce Bochy. "This guy was right on tonight. He was strong all night and when this guy is on, it's fun to watch."

Bumgarner finished the game with no walks and eight strikeouts, giving up just four hits in the game. The 25-year-old became the first pitcher to toss a complete game shutout in the World Series since Josh Beckett did it for the Florida Marlins in 2003.

The Giants ace was aided by a strong effort from his offense. Despite a solid six innings of work by Kansas City's James Shields, San Francisco struck for a run in the second and another in the fourth. Crawford drove in both runs before adding another RBI to his day in the eighth. Juan Perez tripled in the eighth as well, driving in two insurance runs.

San Francisco can clinch their third championship in five years when the series returns to Kansas City on Tuesday night.

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Cardinals Outfielder Oscar Taveras Dies in Car Crash

Cardinals Outfielder Oscar Taveras Dies in Car Crash

Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- St. Louis Cardinals rookie outfielder Oscar Taveras died in a car accident in the Dominican Republic on Sunday, his agent Brian Mejia and a spokesman for the Dominican National Police confirmed.

ABC News has learned that Taveras was driving with his girlfriend when the car they were driving slid off the road. She died as well.

"We are all stunned and deeply saddened by the tragic loss of one of the youngest members of the Cardinals family," Cardinals Chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. said. "Oscar was an amazing talent with a bright future who was taken from us well before his time. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends tonight."

"I simply can't believe it," said John Mozeliak, Sr. VP & GM of the St. Louis Cardinals. "I first met Oscar when he was sixteen years old and will forever remember him as a wonderful young man who was a gifted athlete with an infectious love for life who lived every day to the fullest." 

Taveras homered in his debut for the Cardinals and finished the season batting .239 with three homers and 22 RBIs in 80 games.

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Giants Rally, Rout Royals to Even Series

Giants Rally, Rout Royals to Even Series

Mike McGinnis/Getty Images(SAN FRANCISCO) -- After facing an early 4-1 deficit, the San Francisco Giants scored 10 unanswered runs to pick up an 11-4 win over Kansas City in Game 4 of the World Series on Saturday night. The victory evens the Fall Classic at 2-2 with Game 5 to be played in San Francisco on Sunday.

The Giants did get on the board first on a fielder's choice, taking a 1-0 lead in the first inning. Kansas City responded in the third with a four-run inning. Eric Hosmer singled home a run to tie the game before Omar Infante drove in a pair with a base hit of his own, making it a 3-1 Royals lead. Catcher Salvador Perez then added another run with a single into centerfield, chasing San Francisco starter Ryan Vogelsong.

San Francisco's bullpen was able to get out of the inning without further damage, and began the comeback almost immediately. Buster Posey cut the deficit to 4-2 with an RBI single in the bottom of the third, helping to build a rally. That effort was aided by the impressive relief pitching of Yusmeiro Petit, who entered to begin the fourth.

Petit tossed three scoreless innings for the Giants while the offense continued to attack. Following a leadoff double in the bottom of the fifth, Jason Frasor was brought on to replace Royals starter Jason Vargas. Two batters later, Hunter Pence singled home Joe Panik to make it a 4-3 Kansas City lead. After another pitching change, San Francisco tied the game with a sacrifice fly from Jose Perez.

The game turned in favor of the home Giants in the bottom of the sixth. With two outs and the bases loaded Pablo Sandoval singled off reliever Brandon Finnegan, driving in two runs and giving San Francisco a 6-4 advantage. Brandon Belt then added another run on the very next pitch for a three-run lead. The Giants would add four more runs in the seventh, including a two-run double from Panik, to put the game out of reach.

With the win, the Series is guaranteed to return to Kansas City. However, a pivotal Game 5 will take place on Sunday night in San Francisco before the trip back to the midwest. The Giants will turn to Madison Bumgarner, who won Game One, while the Royals send James Shields to the hill for the starts.

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Scoreboard Roundup – 10/25/14

Scoreboard Roundup – 10/25/14

Hemera/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- MLB World Series: San Francisco Giants 11 - Kansas City Royals 4 (Series tied, 2-2)

NCAAF Top-25: (1) Mississippi State 45 (7-0) - Kentucky 31 (5-3)

(24) LSU 10 (7-2) - (3) Ole Miss 7 (7-1)

(4) Alabama 34 (7-1) - Tennessee 20 (3-5)

(5) Auburn 42 (6-1) - South Carolina 35 (4-4)

 (8) Michigan State 35 (7-1) - Michigan 3 (3-5)

(10) TCU 82 (6-1) - Texas Tech 27 (3-5)

(11) Kansas State 23 (6-1) - Texas 0 (3-5)

(13) Ohio State 31 (6-1) - Penn State 24 (4-3) Double Overtime

(15) Arizona 59 (6-1) - Washington State 37 (2-6)

(16) Nebraska 42 (7-1) - Rutgers 24 (5-3)

(21) Clemson 16 (6-2) - Syracuse 6 (3-5)

(22) West Virginia 20 (6-2) Oklahoma State 10 (5-3)

(23) Marshall 35 (8-0) - Florida Atlantic 16 (3-5)

(25) UCLA 40 (6-2) - Colorado 37 (2-6) - Double Overtime

NHL: Buffalo Sabres 2 (2-7-0) - San Jose Sharks 1 (4-4-1)

Montreal Canadiens 3 (7-1-0) - New York Rangers 1 (4-4-0)

Boston Bruins 4 (5-5-0) - Toronto Maple Leafs 1 (3-4-1)

Philadelphia Flyers 4 (3-3-2) - Detroit Red Wings 2 (4-2-2)

New Jersey Devils 3 (4-2-2) - Ottawa Senators 2 (4-1-1) - Overtime

New York Islanders 7 (6-2-0) - Dallas Stars 5 (4-2-2)

Pittsburgh Penguins 3 (4-2-1) - Nashville Predators 0 (5-1-2)

Minnesota Wild 7 (4-2-0) - Tampa Bay Lightning 2 (5-3-1)

St. Louis Blues 3 (3-3-1) - Chicago Blackhawks 2 (4-2-1)

Arizona Coyotes 2 (3-3-1) - Florida Panthers 1 (2-2-3) - Overtime

Washington Capitals 3 (4-1-2, 10 points) - Clagary Flames 1 (5-4-1, 11 points)

NASCAR: Darrell Wallace Jr. won the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Kroger 200 at Martinsville Speedway

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Jimmy Rollins and Paul Konerko both Win the Roberto Clemente Award

Jimmy Rollins and Paul Konerko both Win the Roberto Clemente Award

Major League Baseball(SAN FRANCISCO) -- One of the biggest honors Major League Baseball gives out has nothing to do with their accomplishments on the field, but off it. This year, Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins and recently-retired Chicago White Sox first baseman/designated hitter Paul Konerko become the first two to share the Roberto Clemente Award.

The award is given to those who best represent the game off-the-field thorugh charitable work. It is named after the Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder who died in a plane crash on Dec. 31, 1972, while on a humanitarian mission to assist earthquake victims in Nicaragua.

"Jennifer and I are truly humbled to receive an award named after such a special player and person," Konerko said in a statement released through Major League Baseball. "It's also a great honor to share this award with Jimmy Rollins, who is someone I have always respected for his approach to the game. This award caps off what has been a special final season for me."

"I did that for a number of years, and then Prevent Child Abuse Pennsylvania for two years before ultimately last year making a transition to something I can have or we can have a more direct effect with the community and the area," Rollins said. "Something that was larger than what we had been previously doing. I like to eat, personally. I like good food, and I tell my mom, `Don't hold back the good food. I don't care what it costs, let's go get it."

Konerko just wrapped an 18-year career, 16 with the White Sox. Rollins has spent his entire 15-year career with the Phillies.

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Atlanta Braves Name John Hart President of Baseball Operations

Atlanta Braves Name John Hart President of Baseball Operations

Tom Szcaerbowski/Getty Images(ATLANTA, GA) -- John Hart has accepted a permanent role as president of baseball operations with the Atlanta Braves.

The team announced that Hart has signed a three-year deal that will run through the 2017 season.

Atlanta fired longtime GM Frank Wren after a disappointing 2014 season that saw the Braves finish 79-83, and named Hart as interim GM.  Wren had been the GM since 1990.

Earlier in October the Braves had offered Hart the role of general manager, but he turned down the role. Now Hart will likely search for the man to take on the challenge as Braves GM.


“I’m delighted that John Hart has agreed to accept the position of President, Baseball Operations,” team president John Schuerholz said in a press release. “Our organization is now poised to move forward in the best possible manner to do the important work that lies ahead. John’s credentials speak for themselves. He has had great success as a baseball executive and demonstrated remarkable ability to construct championship teams. We are excited by John’s dynamic and positive leadership style and look forward to him leading our baseball operations.”

Hart certainly has the pieces in place to contend for a title.  With star players like Freddy Freeman, Jason Heyward, and Justin and BJ Upton, the Braves have the players for a potent offense.

"You certainly love your star players, but I tell you I love the winning players," Hart said. "I like the players with grit. I like players that care more about winning than anything else. It's a team game and it is about winning."

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Catcher A.J. Pierzynski Plans to Play in 2015

Catcher A.J. Pierzynski Plans to Play in 2015Ron Vesely/MLB Photos via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- After just completing his 17th Major League season, which is no easy feat for a catcher, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports A.J. Pierzynski plans to play again in 2015. Pierzynski spent last season w...

Don Mattingly will Return to the Dodgers in 2015

Don Mattingly will Return to the Dodgers in 2015Scott Boehm/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Even though the Los Angeles Dodgers front office has undergone a shake up, manager Don Mattingly will be with the team next season. In his introductory press conference, Andrew Friedman, the Dodgers newly-named ...

K.C. Royals Sweep the Orioles in the ALCS

K.C. Royals Sweep the Orioles in the ALCS

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(KANSAS CITY, Mo.) -- The Kansas City Royals are the kings of the American League.

The Royals defeated the Baltimore Orioles 2-1 in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series on Wednesday to punch their ticket to the World Series for the first time since 1985.

Royals starter Jason Vargas along with relievers Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland held the Orioles to just four hits. Kansas City pushed across two runs in the first inning on a fielder’s choice and a throwing error by Orioles catcher Caleb Joseph.

Royals outfielder Lorenzo Cain was named the ALCS MVP after going 8-for-15 (.555), with two doubles and five runs scored.

The Royals will play the winner of the San Francisco Giants-St. Louis Cardinals NLCS matchup in the World Series.

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Giants Grab 2-1 NLCS Lead on Throwing Error

Giants Grab 2-1 NLCS Lead on Throwing Error

Brad Mangin/MLB Photos via Getty Images(SAN FRANCISCO) -- Randy Choate's throwing error in the bottom of the tenth allowed Brandon Crawford to score and give the San Francisco Giants a 5-4 win in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series (NLCS) on Tuesday. With the victory, the Giants now hold a 2-1 series lead over the St. Louis Cardinals.

San Francisco had to battle for the win despite putting up four runs in the bottom of the first inning. Travis Ishikawa hit a three-run double off Cardinals starting pitcher John Lackey, giving the Giants the early 4-0 advantage. St. Louis' veteran righty would settle down and wait as his team found a way to get back into the game.

The rally began in the top of the fourth when Kolton Wong tripled off the right field wall, plating both John Jay and Matt Holliday. San Francisco's Tim Hudson would get out of the inning but gave up another run on Jhonny Peralta's RBI single in the sixth, making it a 4-3 Giants lead.

Hudson, making the first LCS start in his 16-year career, got the first out of the seventh before Randal Grichuk homered to tie the game. That chased Hudson from the game and left it in the hands of the bullpen.

After St. Louis stranded the go-ahead run on base in the top of the tenth, Crawford worked a leadoff walk from the newly inserted Choate (0-1) in the bottom of the frame. Juan Perez then singled to put runners and first and second with nobody out.

That would bring up Gregor Blanco, who dropped a bunt down just the third-base side of the mound. As Choate went to field the ball, the lefty's throw went up the right field line, allowing Crawford to score the game-winning run. Sergio Romo (1-0) got the win by getting the final out in the top of the tenth inning.

Both teams meet in Game 4 on Wednesday night at 8:07 p.m. ET in San Francisco. Shelby Miller (0-0, 3.18 ERA) takes the ball for St. Louis while the Giants turn to Ryan Vogelsong (0-0, 1.59).

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Scoreboard Roundup – 10/14/14

Scoreboard Roundup – 10/14/14

Hemera/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- MLB: NLCS: San Francisco Giants 5 - St. Louis Cardinals 4 in 10 Innings (Giants Lead Series, 2-1)

NHL: New York Islanders 6 (3-0-0, 6 points) - New York Rangers 3 (1-3-0, 2 points)

Anaheim Ducks 4 (3-1-0, 6 points) - Philadelphia Flyers 3 (0-2-2, 2 points) Shootout

San Jose Sharks 6 (3-0-0, 6 points) - Washington Capitals 5 (1-0-2, 4 points) Shootout

Dallas Stars 4 (1-1-1, 3 points) - Columbus Blue Jackets 2 (2-1-0, 4 points)

Toronto Maple Leafs 3 (2-2-0, 4 points) - Colorado Avalance 2 (1-2-1, 3 points) Overtime

New Jersey Devils 2 (3-0-0, 6 points) - Tampa Bay Lightning 1 (2-1-1, 5 points)

Buffalo Sabres 4 (1-3-0, 2 points) - Carolina Hurricanes 3 (0-2-1, 1 point) Shootout


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Chip Hale Named Manager of Diamondbacks

Chip Hale Named Manager of Diamondbacks

Mike McGinnis/Getty Images(PHOENIX, AZ) -- The Arizona Diamondbacks have named Chip Hale as the new manager of their baseball franchise.

After finishing 64-98 last season under Kirk Gibson, who was fired with three games remaining in the season, the Diamondbacks tabbed the 49-year-old Hale to lead the team.  Hale spent the least three seasons as the third base coach for the Oakland Athletics.

In May, Arizona named Tony La Russa as the chief baseball officer.  After the season, the Diamondbacks fired GM Kevin Towers and named Dave Stewart as his replacement.

"When you walk into a room like that and you sit down to talk baseball you know this is the place you want to be." Hale said, in reference to working with La Russa, Stewart and special assistant to the team president Luiz Gonzalez.

Under the leadership of Towers and Gibson the Diamondbacks were 353-375.  While the team has promising players such as Mark Trumbo and Paul Goldschmidt, La Russa, Hale and Stewart will have work to do bringing in players that fit Arizona's style of play.

"We wanted a guy that would give us our best chance to communicate with the players that we have in our clubhouse," Stewart said of Hale. "The chemisty in our clubhouse is important and the guy that leads that chemistry is important."




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