MLB Rumors: Red Sox Identify Top Manager Target, Verlander "Unlikely" To Pitch In Game 7 & More

The New York Yankees will take on the Houston Astros in Game 7 of the ALCS tonight with a trip to the World Series on the line. The winner will face the Los Angeles Dodgers, who advanced on Thursday night. However, 27 other teams are focused on the offseason, and one of them has identified who they want to be their new manager. Here are all the latest news & rumors you need to know:

Justin Verlander unlikely to pitch tonight
Verlander pitched a gem for the Astros in their Game 6 win, throwing seven shutout innings, but his 99 pitches thrown suggest he wouldn't be available to come out of the bullpen in today's game. While Houston has not ruled out using one of their best pitchers, him taking the mound tonight is "very unlikely," according to The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal.

Verlander did come out of the bullpen in Houston's series-clinching Game 4 win over the Boston Red Sox in the ALDS, giving up just one run in 2.2 innings of work. However, he was working on four days rest.

Red Sox waiting to hire Alex Cora as manager?
Speaking of the Red Sox, they fired manager John Farrell after that series ended, and appear to already have his replacement in mind. According to Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston, the Red Sox are waiting until Houston's postseason run ends to hire Astros bench coach Alex Cora.

Industry sources continue to expect Astros bench coach Alex Cora will be the Sox’ pick. No offer had been officially made as of midday Wednesday, one source close to the situation said. But the belief is such an offer waits out of respect to the Astros-Yankees ALCS that can end no later than Saturday if the series goes a full seven games. 

Cora played for the Red Sox from 2005-2008 as part of his 14-year playing career. He's in his first year as Astros bench coach.

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Angels working to convince Justin Upton to opt into his contract
Los Angeles Angels outfielder Justin Upton is still contemplating opting out of his contract to become a free agent, but the Angels are working with him in order to keep him from doing so, according to Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register.

Angels general manager Billy Eppler said Friday he recently had a “positive conversation” with Justin Upton and agent Larry Reynolds and “there is dialogue going on,” although he wouldn’t characterize the situation any further.

Upton has an opt-out in his contract, which must be exercised by three days after the end of the World Series. If he stays, he would be under contract to the Angels for four years and $88.5 million.

If he exercises the opt-out, he would be a free agent. The Angels could also renegotiate Upton’s deal before the opt-out date, perhaps adding an extra year or increasing the salary, to encourage him to stay.

Upton, who the Angels acquired from the Detroit Tigers on Aug. 31, hit .273 with 35 home runs and 109 RBIs this season.

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Related Topics: Justin Verlander, Red Sox Rumors, Justin Upton, Angels Rumors, MLB Rumors, MLB Rumors Roundup, Alex Cora, Astros Rumors