Penny pinching Pirates drop closer Matt Capps

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Pittsburgh has spent months trying to trade closer Matt Capps, but after finding zero takers the Pirates decided to non-tender him rather than go to arbitration. Capps struggled mightily in 2009 and likely would have been awarded a salary in the neighborhood $3 million, but that’s hardly a budget-crippling number even for a small-payroll team and he posted a 3.06 ERA in 217.1 innings from 2005 to 2008.
Capps is unlikely to find another team willing to let him close, but a return to his pre-2009 effectiveness would make him a very solid setup man and given the Pirates’ history with such things they don’t figure to spend the freed up $3 million any better. For now at least Joel Hanrahan is the favorite for saves in Pittsburgh, but he struggled in that role for the Nationals, has a 4.74 career ERA, and is actually older than Capps.

Padres announce Pat Murphy won’t return as manager in 2016

Pat Murphy
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Per Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, the Padres have announced that interim manager Pat Murphy won’t return as the team’s manager in 2016. Haudricourt adds that Brewres manager Craig Counsell tried to get Murphy on his staff, and says to look for Murphy to join the Brewers for the 2016 season.

Murphy led the Padres to a 42-53 record after Bud Black was fired in June. He had previously managed for two years with Single-A Eugene in 2011-12, and at Triple-A Tucson and El Paso in 2013-14.

Former major leaguer Phil Nevin is a candidate for the Padres’ vacant managing position, according to Scott Miller of Bleacher Report.

Royals clinch home field advantage, best record in the American League

Lorenzo Cain
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With a 6-1 win over the Twins in Sunday’s season finale, the Royals clinched the best record in the American League, which nets them home field advantage in the ALDS and ALCS. The Royals stand at 95-67 while the Blue Jays, who lost on Sunday, finish at 93-69.

95-67 is the Royals’ best record since finishing 97-65 in 1980, when they lost the World Series to the Phillies. Their division title is their first since 1985.

In the ALDS, which starts on Thursday, the Royals will host the winner of the AL Wild Card game between the Astros and Yankees. They are looking to avenge last year’s World Series loss, in seven games, to the Giants. The Blue Jays will host the Rangers in the other ALDS series.