Three weeks ago the Diamondbacks promoted Rico Brogna to director of player development as part of their front office housecleaning, but today the former big-league first baseman quit the job.
Mike Bell will replace Brogna after serving as the Diamondbacks’ minor league field coordinator this season.
Arizona senior vice president of scouting and player development Jerry Dipoto announced the switch and gave no details on Brogna’s change of heart, other than to say: “We all respect Rico’s decision to resign as director of player development and wish him the best in his future endeavors.”
Kevin Towers was hired as the Diamondbacks’ new general manager last month and beat out Dipoto, who had served as interim GM.
Free agent outfielder Michael Saunders has agreed to a minor-league contract with the Royals, the team announced Friday. While the move comes just two days after Saunders agreed to terms with the Pirates, he allegedly asked for his release after the club acquired outfielder Corey Dickerson in a multi-player swap with the Rays on Thursday. MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan adds that Saunders will make $1.5 million upon reaching the majors, with a potential $500,000 in bonuses.
After earning his first spot on an All-Star team in 2016, Saunders followed up a solid campaign with a career-worst performance in 2017. The 31-year-old split the season between the Phillies and Blue Jays’ camps, batting a combined .202/.256/.344 with six home runs and -0.7 fWAR in 234 plate appearances. Although he remained healthy throughout the year, with no sign of the lingering hamstring strain that has plagued him on and off since 2013, he wasn’t productive enough to merit a full-time role on either roster.
With Dickerson slated for a starting role in Pittsburgh, it was unlikely that Saunders would have commanded anything other than a backup role in 2018. Now, however, he’ll compete for playing time amid a slew of outfield options, including Alex Gordon, Cody Asche, Jorge Bonifacio, Tyler Collins and Paulo Orlando.