Their old hitting coach, Greg Walker, just joined the Braves, and Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun Times writes that the White Sox may try to talk Jim Thome into replacing him:
Sox farm-system hitting instructors Jeff Manto or Tim Laker are thought to be the top candidates to replace Greg Walker as hitting coach, but don’t rule out the Sox making a play for a bigger name such as Jim Thome.
Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf loves Thome, 41, whose playing career likely has come to an end after 21 seasons and 604 home runs. The two share the annual habit of meeting for dinner to talk about life and baseball after the season, and a major-league source said Reinsdorf was eager to move this year’s meeting up.
That seems pretty far-fetched to me, but then again the White Sox hired Robin Ventura as manager despite a complete lack of coaching experience. Thome may have a little trouble finding a full-time designated hitter gig this offseason, as that market is always overstocked, but he hit .256 with 15 homers and an .838 OPS in 93 games for the Twins and Indians. He’s definitely still productive enough to continue playing, assuming of course Thome wants to return for a 22nd season at age 41.
With a fourth-inning solo home run off of Phillies starter Jake Thompson, Mets outfielder Curtis Granderson reached the 30-homer plateau for the fourth time in his 13-year career. It’s a moment worth celebrating, only there’s one problem: he has just 56 RBI on the season.
There are many reasons for the low RBI total. 24 of Granderson’s 30 homers have come with the bases empty. He came into Sunday’s action hitting just .140 in 124 plate appearances with runners in scoring position and .197 with runners on base. He has hit leadoff for most of the season, meaning he’s had the Mets’ pitchers hitting “ahead” of him in the No. 9 slot as well as the Mets’ catchers typically hitting eighth. Mets catchers, collectively, have a .296 on-base percentage, the second-worst mark in the National League.
Since the end of August, Granderson has hit cleanup with Jose Reyes, Asdrubal Cabrera, and Yoenis Cespedes hitting in front of him. That change hasn’t been for naught, as he has 17 RBI in 21 games since.
Still, Granderson is on pace for the fewest RBI in a 30-homer season. Rob Deer and Felix Mantilla are tied for the record with 64 RBI. Deer (32 HR) accomplished the feat in 1992 with the Tigers and Mantilla (30 HR) in 1964 with the Red Sox. Only eight players have had 70 or fewer homers in a 30-homer season. Evan Gattis is currently sitting on 30 homers with 68 RBI.
Following the announcement of the 24-year-old’s death, Major League Baseball observed a moment of silence for José Fernández before each of today’s games. While this afternoon’s Marlins-Braves game was cancelled out of respect for the organization, Miami painted Fernández’s jersey number on the mound in honor of their former pitcher.
Other teams, like the Mets, Mariners, and Dodgers, chose to honor Fernández by hanging his No. 16 jersey in their dugout:
Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports reports that David Ortiz‘s pregame retirement ceremony at Tropicana Field was canceled at the player’s request:
The Astros and Diamondbacks each displayed a personal tribute to Fernández, writing the number 16 on their caps and etching his number and initials in the bullpen:
Rest in peace, Fernández.