On Sunday, when Curt Young rejected a contract offer from Oakland that included a significant raise, it seemed to make sense that he could be headed for the Red Sox.
Young is one of the better pitching coaches in the game and had been working on a two-year deal, which is a lifetime for a Major League coach. That he became a free agent at the same time John Farrell was leaving the Red Sox for Toronto seemed like too much of a coincidence not to be related.
Turns out it's not a coincidence. Young has emerged as the leading candidate and had an initial interview yesterday according to sources.
Young, 50, was in the majors from 1983-93. He played the majority of his career with Oakland but also pitched for the Royals and Yankees for a year. He became the pitching coach of the A's in 2004 after spending four years as a minor-league pitching coach.
Young does not have a direct connection to the Red Sox. But its worth noting that Terry Francona was Oakland's bench coach in 2003 and got to know Young during that time. Francona is also tight with Ken Macha, who was Oakland's manager from 2003-06.
When I spoke to Francona yesterday, he said it wasn't mandatory that he know the next pitching coach on a personal level. But he admitted it would help.
Oakland had the best ERA (3.56) in the American League last season and Young helped build a terrific bullpen. Oakland relievers blew the fewest saves in the league.
There certainly will be other candidates. particularly advance scout Mike Cather, the former Portland pitching coach. But Young appears to be the front-runner.