What They're Saying About Trey Hillman Getting Fired

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Trey Hillman closeup.jpgContrary to popular belief, people still do pay attention to the Royals. Here’s what the blogosphere, allied media and one Royals player is saying about Trey Hillman’s firing:

Zack
Greinke
:
It’s the players’ fault. If we win (more
games),
this doesn’t happen.

Joe Posnanski: Why didn’t Hillman have more success as manager? There are numerous
reasons, none more significant than the lack of Major League talent the
Royals have put on the field day after day. As the old line goes, Casey
Stengel, Earl Weaver and Joe McCarthy combined weren’t winning with this
team . . . make no mistake, the big reason they have lost the last three years is
not because of Trey Hillman, it is because they are a bad baseball team.*

Sam Mellinger: This is a good thing, because Hillman was a problem, but only in the
sense that a broken arm is a problem for a patient in ICU.


Rany Jazyerli:
Wow. I thought it was coming – I didn’t think it
was coming today . . .
And for the record, I take no great pleasure in this. Hillman
earned this, but he was dealt a losing hand. I really do wish him the
best of luck.

Matt Klaassen: Trey Hillman needed to go, if for no other reason
than showing that there is some level of “accountability” within the
organization.

Jeff Sullivan: I’m not entirely sure why the Royals allowed Hillman to stick around
for one last game, fully aware of his inevitable fate, but in my head, I
like to think they were just giving him a chance to go out on a high
note . . . That, of course, is giving the Royals the benefit of the doubt, and
ignores any ulterior and/or incompetent motives. I don’t know that they
deserve that, but at least as far as Hillman’s concerned, anything’s
better than going out on a 4-0 shutout loss to Fausto Carmona.

Michael Engel: it’s not his fault entirely. Hillman may wear the uniform, but he
doesn’t step up to bat or toe the rubber. But he’s also made enough odd
decisions that worked to the detriment of the team and their chances to
win ballgames . . . that he had to go.

Can’t say I disagree with any of that.

*A substantial portion of Posnanski’s
post
is devoted to the idea that Hillman’s biggest problem was that
he simply had never been in a Major League clubhouse and that his lack
of experiencing led him to all sorts of mistakes.  It’s definitely worth
reading. Most writers would simply assert Hillman’s lack of big league
experience as a problem and expect us to believe it because they said
it. But Posnanski provides multiple examples of how the lack of
experience worked to Hillman’s detriment, transforming what often sounds
like a cliche into strong analysis.

If Brett Anderson hits better this year, thank Josh Donaldson

Los Angeles Dodgers' Brett Anderson ducks away from a pitch from Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher David Holmberg on a bunt attempt during the fourth inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Associated Press
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Or, at the very least, thank his bat.

Brett Anderson, who hit a meaty .085/.173/.106 last season, just got his first 2016 bat delivery, it seems. He posted a pic of the shiny lumber on Twitter a few minutes ago, with a message to his former teammate, the reigning AL MVP Josh Donaldson, whose “JD” initials signifying whose model number it is are plainly visible on the barrel:

 

If Anderson breaks out offensively this year — say, he pushes that OBP over .200 — I may reconsider my “DH in the National League now” argument and merely suggest that pitchers get better bats.

In other news, whose bat was Zack Greinke using last year? And did he leave any behind at Camelback Ranch? Might be worth looking.

Diamondbacks working on a deal with Tyler Clippard

at Citi Field on July 28, 2015 in Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.
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Last week Diamondbacks general manager Dave Stewart revealed that he was interested in signing free agent reliever Tyler Clippard and now Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports that the two sides have “made progress toward a deal.”

Piecoro notes that by trading Aaron Hill and his remaining contract to the Brewers the Diamondbacks created a bit of payroll flexibility that they could use to sign Clippard.

Clippard has a long history of excellent work as both a setup man and closer, but his raw stuff and secondary numbers have declined even though his ERA remained very good at 2.92 last season for the A’s and Mets. His strikeout rate dipped to a career-low 8.1 per nine innings, which is drop of about 25 percent from 2009-2014.

Two elite Cuban players defect

cuba hat
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Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com just reported that Yulieski Gurriel & Lourdes Gurriel Jr., who are brothers, reportedly defected and will be seeking MLB deals. There aren’t any details yet, but Sanchez will be updating with a full story that we’ll link here when he has it. UPDATE: Here it is.

Yulieski is a 31-year old third baseman and, according to Baseball America’s Ben Badler he was the No. 1 player remaining in Cuba. He was one of the Cuban players who was permitted to play in Japan recently, and he just put up a .305/.349/.536 season with 11 homers in 62 games for the Yokohama Bay Stars and has continued to rake in Cuba. He is likely major league ready right this instant. He’d be an unrestricted free agent given his age and team’s signing him would not be subject to international bonus pool limits.

Lourdes is only 22 years old. He’s hit .269/.355/.414 in 1036 Serie Nacional plate appearances and Badler thinks he has 20-homer potential in the majors one day. He’s currently a shortstop, but is probably destined for a corner. He is young enough to where he would be subject to bonus pool limits. Several teams have already exceeded those limits for the current signing period, limiting the number of teams who could sign him. If, however, it takes MLB a long time to clear him as a free agent — and with immigration issues and the like, that’s very possible — he may not be eligible to be signed until next year, which could bring some other teams into the fold.

 

Indians close to signing ex-Nationals reliever Craig Stammen

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Right-hander Craig Stammen, who spent the first seven seasons of his career with the Nationals, is expected to sign with the Indians.

Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the Indians “hope to finalize a deal” with Stammen today, adding veteran depth to the bullpen. It’ll likely be a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Stammen missed nearly all of last season following elbow surgery and the Nationals non-tendered him, but he’s scheduled to be ready for spring training. After struggling as a starter early in his career he’s posted a 3.02 ERA in 280 innings out of the bullpen, so if healthy it’d be a nice addition for Cleveland.