December 14, 2013

On Baseball: Boles reportedly moving up

By Kevin Thomas kthomas@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

Kevin Boles, the Portland Sea Dogs’ manager, is expected to become the new manager of Boston’s Triple-A team in Pawtucket, according to reports out of baseball’s winter meetings last week in Orlando, Fla.

Soon after General Manager Ben Cherington told reporters he will fill the Pawtucket job internally, Sean McAdam of csnne.com reported that Boles was Boston’s choice.

Boles, 39, has managed Portland for three seasons, none with a winning record. But Boles is valued because of how he develops players.

Several players have been promoted during his tenure, including infielders Will Middlebrooks and Xander Bogaerts, outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr., catcher Ryan Lavarnway, and pitchers Brandon Workman and Drake Britton.

Boles would be replacing Gary DiSarcina, 46, who was named the third-base coach for the Los Angeles Angels.

Since the Sea Dogs became a Red Sox affiliate, two of the three previous Portland managers moved on to Pawtucket and eventually landed the first-base coaching job with Boston – Ron Johnson (who is now with the Orioles organization) and Arnie Beyeler.

Todd Claus, who managed two seasons between the Johnson and Beyeler years, moved on to become an advance scout for the Red Sox. Claus is now the Latin American scouting coordinator for Boston.

Billy McMillion will be one of the candidates for the Portland job if Boles does move up. McMillion, the Salem Red Sox manager the past two years, could be the first former Sea Dogs player to become the Portland manager.

McMillion, 42, played at Hadlock Field in 1995 when the Sea Dogs were an affiliate of the Florida Marlins.

He eventually played parts of six seasons in the majors, with Florida, Philadelphia, Detroit and Oakland. He was in spring training with the Red Sox in 2002 but didn’t make the team.

McMillion joined the Red Sox organization in 2008 as hitting coach for the low Class A Greenville Drive.

He became the Greenville manager in 2010 and was promoted to advanced Class A Salem in 2012.

MICHAEL ALMANZAR was expected to return to the Portland Sea Dogs and play third base in 2014, but he might be in the major leagues instead.

The Baltimore Orioles surprisingly picked Almanzar in the Rule V draft conducted Thursday.

The move was a surprise because for Baltimore to keep Almanzar he must stay with the major league team throughout the 2014 season. Almanzar, 23, has yet to show the consistency needed to reach that level.

Almanzar has big potential, which is why Boston signed him for $1.5 million contract when he was 16. He struggled much of his young career until he batted .300 in Salem in 2013. Last year in Portland, Almanzar got off to a good start but settled for a .268 average and 16 homers.

If the Orioles don’t keep him on their major league roster, he will be returned to the Red Sox.

BRIAN BUTTERFIELD has been added to the guest list for the annual Sea Dogs Hot Stove Dinner on Jan. 17 at the Sable Oaks Marriott in South Portland. Butterfield, the Maine native and Red Sox third-base coach, will be there with Workman and Bradley.

Tickets are $50 and proceeds benefit the Maine Children’s Cancer Program.

THE YANKEES’ starting pitching was questioned in this space last week. I talked about the lack of depth, but followers of the Yankees are also concerned with the pitchers they have, including ace CC Sabathia.

Sabathia’s name came up when Roy Halladay, 36, retired last week. Bob Klapisch of the Bergen Record pointed out that Halladay’s body broke down after throwing 2,749 innings in his career.

Sabathia, 33, has already thrown 2,775 innings in the majors and last year was his worst as a Yankee (14-13, 4.78).

Sabathia has at least three years remaining on his contract for $71 million. He has a vesting option in 2017, which is good for another $25 million if he can stay away from a shoulder injury.

IT HAS BEEN an interesting start to the offseason. The column is taking a break for Christmas vacation. Check back in 2014.

Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or at:

kthomas@pressherald.com

Twitter: ClearTheBases

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