At some point, some intrepid journalist is going to write the definitive story about what, exactly, bench coaches do. Because I really don’t know. I mean, Don Zimmer was the first one I even remember anyone talking about, and the best I could tell was that he was used by the Yankees to remind the Red Sox of their past failures. And to kick a little Pedro Martinez butt when necessary. But as far as what they do in a game or before a game or whatever? Beats the hell out of me.
I mention this because the Dodgers are apparently going to hire Trey Hillman as their bench coach. Hillman is a nice guy. He was a pretty bad manager in Kansas City, but he was a nice guy. Given Don Mattingly’s seeming shakiness with the nuts and bolts of actually, you know, managing a game, however, you’d think you’d rather have a solid tactician on the bench than a nice guy.
But again, that all assumes that bench coaches do anything. And really, I have no idea what purpose they serve.
Third baseman Anthony Rendon is reportedly open to a contract extension with the Nationals, Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post said Sunday. Rendon told reporters that he didn’t know if agent Scott Boras would discuss an extension with the club, contrary to previous reports confirming the two had already started that conversation.
Rendon, 27, is coming off of his best career year to date. He finished the 2017 season batting .301/.403/.533 with 25 home runs and 100 RBI through 605 plate appearances, good enough to earn him sixth place in NL MVP voting. He made his third postseason appearance after helping Nationals through the National League Division Series, and contributed a pair of extra-base hits before the team was eliminated by the Cubs in Game 5.
Rendon is still arbitration-eligible through 2019, but stands to receive a hefty payday once he enters free agency in 2020. While it stands to reason that the Nats would want to lock up a player who contributed a whopping 6.9 fWAR last year, making him the most valuable player on their roster, an extension appeals to Rendon as well. “Why not stay with one organization?” he said Sunday. The 2018 season will be his sixth with the team.