I’m probably risking a fine from the guild for not putting the word “dreaded” before “vote of confidence” in that headline, but in this case I don’t think it’s appropriate.
Dayton Moore said that Trey Hillman is “exactly what our organization needs at this point in time.” Dayton Moore has been demonstrably wrong in almost everything he’s done since he took over the Royals. Ergo, Moore probably truly believes that Hillman is the right guy, and this likely isn’t one of those “dreaded votes of confidence” that often serve as the harbinger of a managerial firing.
The key to all of this, I think, is the “what our organization needs” at this point. Based on everything the Royals have done since David Glass took over as owner, what the organization appears to need most is profitability and the lack of headaches whenever possible. Firing a manager creates headaches. Firing a manager in mid-contract means you’ll have to pay two guys at the same time, both the former and current manager. That’s no way to be profitable!
So really, I think in the organization’s heart of hearts, keeping Hillman around is what is needed. Whether that’s good for winning baseball games, however, is another matter entirely.
The Reds announced on Thursday that the protective netting at Great American Ball Park will be extended to the end of each dugout in time for Opening Day next season. The press release notes that the current netting meets Major League Baseball’s guidelines and the new netting will go beyond those standards.
The netting “debate” came back on Wednesday when a young fan was struck in the face by a foul ball at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees have done about the bare minimum in installing protective netting, which rightly earned them criticism. Brian Dozier, Todd Frazier, and Didi Gregorius each said yesterday that the netting should be extended. Other teams and Major League Baseball in general received criticism. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, for example, said the relative lack of action on MLB’s part is “morally repugnant.”
Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer notes that the Reds had already had this idea prior to Wednesday’s incident at Yankee Stadium.
Orioles third baseman Manny Machado will become eligible for free agency after the 2018 season and is likely to get a windfall. The club, however, isn’t expected to pursue trading their star at the hot corner this offseason, according to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports.
Machado, 25, has been one of baseball’s best players since debuting in 2012. He had a slow start to the 2017 season, seeing his OPS nearly drop below .700 in early July, but a strong second half has made his overall numbers more than respectable. Machado is batting .264/.318/.484 with 32 home runs and 92 RBI in 651 plate appearances while playing Gold Glove-caliber defense at third base.
Just because the Orioles don’t plan to move Machado this offseason doesn’t mean they won’t try to recoup some value ahead of next year’s non-waiver trade deadline. According to Heyman, a person involved with the Orioles said, “It would take us 35 years to find another player like him.”