Hitting coach Jaramillo suddenly sought-after free agent

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Rudy Jaramillo has spent the past 15 years as the hitting coach in Texas, but he’s now a free agent after leaving the Rangers earlier this week:

I’m not going to be in this position very often, and I don’t know what’s going to happen with the Rangers and the ownership situation. I didn’t want to retire and look back with regret that I didn’t take this opportunity. I’m not bitter or anything. This is my decision. I want to go out there and see where I stand in the game.

Jaramillo is reportedly looking for a multi-year contract rather than the one-year deal offered by the Rangers and he’s likely to get it, as multiple teams are already said to be in the mix for one of the most successful, longest-tenured hitting coaches in baseball history.
Before landing in Arlington he coached a Rookie of the Year named Jeff Bagwell in Houston and Jaramillo has presided over Rangers hitters winning four MVP awards, as Juan Gonzalez, Ivan Rodriguez, Alex Rodriguez, Michael Young, Rafael Palmeiro, Mark Teixeira, Ian Kinsler, Josh Hamilton, Rusty Greer, Hank Blalock, and most recently Nelson Cruz are just some of the players who’ve thrived under his tutelage.
In his 15 seasons on the job the Rangers have ranked among the league’s top three in scoring five times while ranking below average just twice. On the other hand the hitter-friendly ballpark in Texas has played a huge part in those numbers and even after 15 years of prolonged success the Rangers’ management still had some public criticisms about the team’s situational hitting this season, which perhaps made Jaramillo’s decision to leave a bit easier.
We’ve come a long way in terms of analyzing the impact of everything on the field, but evaluating the impact of coaches remains focused on reputations and guesswork. Jaramillo is generally considered one of the best hitting coaches around and he’s about to be paid like someone who’ll make an immediate impact on his new team’s offense, but as Leo Mazzone’s struggles in Baltimore showed even the best coaches can’t always transfer their success to new homes.

Magic Johnson to take over the Lakers, but will still be part of Dodgers ownership

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 15:  Earvin 'Magic' Johnson attends game one of the National League Championship Series between the Chicago Cubs and the Los Angeles Dodgers at Wrigley Field on October 15, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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This is more significant for basketball fans than baseball fans, but Magic Johnson is taking over basketball operations for the Los Angeles Lakers. Dan Feldman over at PBT has the full story on that.

For our purposes, you probably know that Johnson is part of the Dodgers ownership group. Anthony McCullough of the L.A. Times got comment from the Dodgers, saying that despite his new full-time job, his status with the Dodgers will be unchanged:

Maybe I’m alone in this, but I’m not entirely certain what Magic does with the Lakers, so the first clause in Kasten’s comment may be doing most of the heavy lifting here.

Matt Wieters is close to signing with the Washington Nationals

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 02: Matt Wieters #32 of the Baltimore Orioles connects on a two-run home run in the fourth inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on October 2, 2016 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
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Jon Heyman reports that the Nationals are closing in on a deal with catcher Matt Wieters. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that it’s a two-year deal. UPDATE: Ken Rosenthal reports that the deal is for two years, at $21 million. There is an opt-out for him after year one. He will get $10 million in 2017 and, if he returns in 2018, he’ll get $11 million.

Wieters was not expected to go this long without signing, but his market, which many thought would be robust, never materialized. The Nats had been rumored to be interested for months, but they were apparently waiting to swoop in late and get what one presumes will be a bargain.

Wieters, 30, finished last season hitting .243/.302/.409 with 17 home runs and 66 RBI in 464 plate appearances. The Nationals currently have Derek Norris and Jose Lobaton, so who falls where in the catcher fight in Washington is unclear, but one presumes that Wieters getting a two-year deal puts him at the top of the depth chart.