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Twins nearing deal to keep Derek Falvey in front office

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The firing of Dave Dombrowski as Boston’s head of baseball operations has created an opening that will likely be filled by an experienced executive from another organization. But it is also seemingly spurring a wave of contract extensions for officials who might otherwise be interesting to the Red Sox.

Last month, Arizona’s Mike Hazen got an extension after rumors surfaced that the Red Sox might have interest in pursuing him, and according to a well-placed source, the Twins‘ Derek Falvey – whose team just finished a 100-win season – could soon complete a new deal that will keep him in Minnesota moving forward.

Falvey, 36, the Twins executive vice president and chief baseball officer, would be a natural candidate for the Red Sox, given the respect for him in the game and his Massachusetts roots. But Falvey is highly valued by the Twins’ leadership, and for good reason: Minnesota not only has made the playoffs in two of the last three seasons, but Falvey and General Manager Thad Levine have built what is considered by peers to be an increasingly effective baseball operations department.

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Oakland mayor says MLB commissioner Rob Manfred warned city A’s could move to Las Vegas; Manfred says nothing on tap

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Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf confirmed in a television interview Tuesday that Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred warned city officials that the Athletics could relocate to Las Vegas if the city didn’t drop its lawsuit to stop Alameda County from selling its share of the Coliseum to the team.

Manfred confirmed Tuesday that Las Vegas came up during a meeting with Schaaf, but said there are no plans for the A’s to move.

“In a recent meeting with the mayor of Oakland, I did mention Las Vegas in the context of pointing out that the A’s might have to relocate if a new stadium can’t be built in Oakland,” Manfred told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “There is, however, no plan to move to Las Vegas.”

Oakland and Alameda County share ownership of the Coliseum; the city wants the county to sell its half of the stadium to Oakland instead of to the A’s. The San Francisco Chronicle reports the city can’t match the A’s offer of $85 million for the venue.

City Councilman Larry Reid told the newspaper earlier this week that Manfred had made the suggestion that Las Vegas could be a possible relocation site for the A’s in meetings with city officials last week.

“The reports of that are accurate,” Schaaf said in the interview with KTVU-TV. “[Las Vegas] is the city that came out of his mouth.”

Oakland will soon lose its NFL team, the Raiders, to Las Vegas, possibly as soon as 2020. So Manfred’s choice of a possible relocation city was meant to strike a nerve, Schaaf said.

“Obviously he chose his city wisely as far as exposing a pain-point that all Oaklanders feel about losing our sports teams,” she said. She later called the lawsuit “misguided.”

Oakland had sued Alameda County to block its sale of its share of the Coliseum to the A’s and a judge issued a temporary restraining order last week, blocking the transaction. The A’s, who want to build a new stadium at Howard Terminal on the waterfront and redevelop the land around the Coliseum, are hoping it would help subsidize the cost of a privately owned new stadium.

A’s president Dave Kaval said last week that the franchise was “blindsided” by the restraining order being granted.

“I will say, though, that I absolutely see a path to a new ballpark right … at Howard Terminal,” Schaaf said. “As well as really giving the A’s the opportunity to do a community-serving development out at the Coliseum, as well as to maintain that as a background plan. I see this path. I am confident we will get there.”

Schaaf told KTVU that the city’s lawsuit was filed “over my objection.”

“I don’t think that it serves the public when two governmental entities are suing each other,” Schaaf said. “It certainly is my direction that the city and the county work collaboratively. We are co-owners of this land. The board of supervisors are so well-intentioned. They want to do right by their constituents, which are our constituents, so I believe we will get something done collaboratively and put this lawsuit behind us.”

The next court hearing in the city’s lawsuit is scheduled for Nov. 14, according to the Chronicle.

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Sources — Twins expected to pick up $12M option for Nelson Cruz

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The Minnesota Twins are expected to exercise a $12 million contract option for slugger Nelson Cruz in the next few days, sources confirmed to ESPN’s Buster Olney on Wednesday.

Cruz, a 39-year-old designated hitter, was seen by players and staffers as having a positive influence on the clubhouse this season. He belted 41 home runs to become just the third player in team history to reach the 40-homer mark, joining Harmon Killebrew (seven times) and Brian Dozier (once).

Despite two stints on the injured list, Cruz, who made $14 million in 2019, also had 108 RBIs and a .311 batting average this season.

He became the 57th player in major league history to hit 400 career home runs. Cruz is also the 26th player in baseball history with four 40-home run seasons, as he also accomplished the feat from 2014 to 2016 with Baltimore and Seattle.

MLB Network first reported that the Twins were expected to pick up the option for next season.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Atlanta Braves’ Adam Duvall to start Game 5 in left after offensive heroics

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Atlanta Braves outfielder Adam Duvall will start Wednesday in Game 5 of the NLDS against the St. Louis Cardinals after coming off the bench in each of the first four games of the series.

Duvall, who leads the Braves with 5 RBIs in the series, will bat sixth and start in left field Wednesday against Cardinals ace Jack Flaherty.

Left-handed hitting Matt Joyce, who started each of the first four games, will be available off the bench.

Despite not starting yet in this series, Duvall has delivered some critical hits for the Braves. His two-run pinch-hit home run off Flaherty in Game 2 provided Atlanta with some much-needed insurance in a 3-0 victory.

Duvall also had a clutch hit in Game 3, when he hit a two-run go-ahead single in the ninth inning to lift the Braves to a 3-1 victory.

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