Tony La Russa stepped down as Cardinals manager on October 31, calling it quits after 33 seasons, 2,728 wins, and three championships, but being retired won’t keep him from managing this year’s All-Star game.
Pennant-winning managers get the honor of managing the next season’s All-Star game and MLB announced that La Russa will manage the National League team in July.
And there should be plenty of Cardinals fans in attendance, as the game will be played at Kauffmann Stadium in Kansas City. And presumably they’ll make sure the bullpen phone is working.
In previous years when the pennant-winning skipper is unavailable to manage the All-Star game for whatever reason the league’s runner-up manager gets the nod, which would have been Ron Roenicke of the Brewers. However, there’s precedent for the La Russa situation, as Pirates manager Danny Murtaugh retired following a World Series win in 1971 and came back to manage the All-Star game in 1972.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Rangers have signed outfielder Carlos Gomez to a one-year deal. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that Gomez will earn $11.5 million next season.
Gomez, 31, struggled with the Astros to a .594 OPS before the club released him in mid-August. The Rangers signed him shortly thereafter and were immediately rewarded. Gomez hit .284/.362/.543 with eight home runs and 24 RBI in 130 plate appearances through the end of the regular season.
As presently constructed, Gomez would likely take over in center field with Nomar Mazara handling left and Shin-Soo Choo in right.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Diamondbacks are close to signing free agent reliever Fernando Rodney.
Rodney, 39, has been inconsistent over the past two seasons. This past season, he was lights-out with the Padres, posting a 0.31 ERA in 28 appearances. After the Marlins acquired him at the end of June, he struggled to a 5.89 ERA in 39 appearances.
Brad Ziegler, who closed for the Diamondbacks in the first half last season, went to the Red Sox in a midseason trade and is now a free agent. The Diamondbacks had six other relievers register a save, but only Daniel Hudson and Jake Barrett recorded more than one. Adding Rodney will give the club some stability in the ninth inning.