Japanese outfielder Hitoshi Tamura "exploring" move to MLB

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Earlier this month there were reports about arguably the two best pitchers in Japan, Yu Darvish and Hisashi Iwakuma, potentially making the move to MLB next season and now Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com writes that Japanese outfielder Hitoshi Tamura is also “exploring” the possibility.
Tamura is 33 years old and hit .324 with 27 homers and a .924 OPS for the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks this season. However, Crasnick notes that he’s been very injury prone throughout his career and this season was actually Tamura’s first All-Star selection.
Sure enough he was limited to just 93 games in 2009 and 39 games in 2008, but Tamura did hit a combined .290 with 20 homers in those 132 games before having his career-year this season.
According to Crasnick he’d prefer to sign with a team on the West Coast and the Diamondbacks, Rangers, Giants, Padres, and Indians are among teams that have scouted him in Japan.

Billy Beane promoted to VP, David Forst named A’s general manager

billy beane getty

I’m so old I remember when general managers used to run baseball operations departments. Now they’re basically assistants.

The latest example: the Oakland Athletics have promoted Billy Beane to vice president of baseball operations and have named David Forst general manager. Forst has been with the A’s for 16 years and has been Beane’s assistant for 12 years, so it’s not exactly a situation in which Forst will be making the final calls. The official move came today, though the move has been in the works for some time, it seems.

Someone with a lot of good front office access is going to write a good story this winter about the title inflation going on in Major League Baseball over the past year. And it’s gonna be great when one of his or her sources breaks the pattern of saying “well, baseball transactions are so much more complex these days . . . ” and admits “hey, if Theo gets a fancy title and La Russa gets a fancy title I WANT A FANCY TITLE TOO.”

Not that it’s much of a secret as it is.

Brewers fire pitching coach Rick Kranitz

Wily Peralta, Rick Kranitz, Hernan Perez, Martin Maldonado
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Despite a change at general manager from Doug Melvin to David Stearns the Brewers quickly made it clear that they’re keeping Craig Counsell as manager, but today they fired pitching coach Rick Kranitz.

In fact, all of Milwaukee’s coaches except for hitting coach Darnell Coles and third base coach Ed Sedar were let go, as Counsell shakes up his staff after managing the Brewers to a 61-76 record as Ron Roenicke’s replacement.

Kranitz took over as the Brewers’ pitching coach in 2011, during which time they’ve ranked 11th among NL teams in ERA.