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.
The Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on starting pitcher Sonny Gray, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The Astros have added Charlie Morton this offseason, but the club has been trying to add a big-name starting pitcher to put at the top of the rotation behind Dallas Keuchel.
Gray, 27, was limited to 22 starts in the 2016 season due to a forearm issue. His stats left a lot to be desired, as he finished with a 5-11 record, a 5.69 ERA, and a 94/42 K/BB ratio over 117 innings. Considering how Gray pitched in the previous three years, he’s a good bet to bounce back.
Gray is under team control through 2019, which is a big draw for the Astros. Needless to say, the Athletics would want a haul in terms of prospects. Gray will earn $3.575 million in 2017, having avoided arbitration in his first year of eligibility.
As we noted last week, The Chicago Cubs took the unusual step of not waiting until the summer after winning the World Series to make their customary White House visit to meet the president. They did it today, seeing President Obama a few short days before he leaves office.
Despite the fact that Obama is a White Sox fan, he met the Cubs with diplomacy and grace. It’s almost as if he’s been in that business for the past eight years. In return, he was given some gifts by the Cubs: Theo Epstein presented Obama with a No. 44 Cubs jersey, a tile from the center field scoreboard at Wrigley Field, and a lifetime pass to Wrigley as well.
Obama is staying in D.C. after he leaves office this week, hanging around so his daughter can finish high school in the same place she started. Even so, he’s likely going to be back to Chicago a good bit over the rest of his life, so he’ll likely be able to put the free pass to work. Assuming it comes with, like, six companion passes for his Secret Service detail.