Carlos Beltran

Giants rule out return of Carlos Beltran, Cody Ross


After picking up Melky Cabrera and Angel Pagan in trades, Giants GM Brian Sabean shut the door Wednesday on the possibility of free agents Carlos Beltran and Cody Ross returning next year.

The market for Beltran has been surprisingly light, with his name rarely coming up at the winter meetings. While the focus has rightfully been on Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder, C.J. Wilson and Mark Buehrle, seemingly lesser outfielders like Michael Cuddyer and Josh Willingham are still getting more attention than Beltran.

Beltran, who cost the Giants their top pitching prospect in Zack Wheeler at the trade deadline, hit .323/.369/.551 in 167 at-bats for San Francisco. Overall, he hit .300/.385/.525 in 520 at-bats last season, giving him a .910 OPS. Cuddyer finished at .805, while Willingham came in at .810. Beltran is also better than either defensively.

Diamondbacks fire pitching coach Mike Harkey

Oliver Perez, Mike Harkey
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Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports that the Diamondbacks have fired pitching coach Mike Harkey following a season in which the staff ranked ninth among NL teams in runs allowed.

That actually represents a big improvement from last season, when the Diamondbacks allowed the second-most runs in the league in Harkey’s first year as pitching coach, but the Tony La Russa-led front office has decided to make a change.

Prior to joining the Diamondbacks two offseasons ago Harkey served as the Yankees’ bullpen coach from 2008-2013. He pitched eight seasons in the majors.

Nats expected to consider Cal Ripken for the manager job

Cal Ripken Jr

FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi reports that the Nationals are expected to consider Cal Ripken Jr. for their managerial vacancy. Ripken, of course, was recently reported to have been considered by the club the last time the job was open.

This could be a courtesy. And if you’re a Nats fan, you have to hope it is, right? Because the single biggest argument in favor of Matt Williams when he was hired was that he was a top player in his day, wasn’t too far removed from his playing career and could be a good clubhouse guy who understood what made major leaguers tick. His lack of experience was brushed off. All of which would be the same thing for Ripken, except he doesn’t even have the coaching experience Williams had and is even farther removed from his playing days.

I know he’s famous and everything, but if the Nationals’ 2015 season is evidence of anything, perhaps it should be evidence that sometimes it’s useful to have a manager who has actually, you know, made a pitching change once in his professional life.