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Ron Washington and Tony La Russa name their All-Star Game coaching staffs

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Because the All-Star Game counts, tough strategic planning is required and that in turn requires an all-star caliber coaching staff to make the tough calls.

Hahaha, just kidding. The only thing more rare than baseball strategy in the MLB All-Star Game is defense in the NBA All-Star Game and contact in the Pro Bowl.

But the teams need coaches all the same, if for no other reason to give the managers someone their own age to talk to. And today AL manager Ron Washington and NL manager Tony La Russa announced their staffs.

La Russa has named Brewers manager Ron Roenicke and Mets manager Terry Collins as his official N.L. coaches.  He has filled out the rest of his staff with, basically, the entire staff of the 2011 Cardinals: Dave Duncan will be the pitching coach, Derek Lilliquist will be the bullpen coach, Mark McGwire is the hitting coach, Dave McKay and Jose Oquendo will be base coaches and Joe Pettini will be the bench coach. Trainers will be Paul Lessard of the Cincinnati Reds and Jim Lovell of the Braves.

In the AL, Ron Washington will have Ned Yost and Bob Melvin has his official coaches, with Rangers coaches – Dave Anderson, Scott Coolbaugh, Andy Hawkins, Mike Maddux, Jackie Moore and Gary Pettis on staff. Trainers will be Nick Kenney of the Royals, and Lonnie Soloff of the Cleveland Indians.

I’m most looking forward to the first La Russa-Lilliquist call to the bullpen.

Cubs sign Brett Anderson to a $3.5 million deal

Brett Anderson
AP Photo/J Pat Carter
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Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Cubs have signed pitcher Brett Anderson to a contract, pending a physical. Anderson, apparently, impressed the Cubs during a bullpen session held in Arizona recently. According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, the deal is for $3.5 million, but incentives can bring the total value up to $10 million.

Anderson, 28, has only made a total of 53 starts and 12 relief appearances over the past five seasons due to a litany of injuries. This past season, he made just three starts and one relief appearance, yielding 15 runs on 25 hits and four walks with five strikeouts in 11 1/3 innings. The lefty dealt with back, wrist, and blister issues throughout the year.

When he’s healthy, Anderson is a solid arm to have at the back of a starting rotation or in the bullpen. The defending world champion Cubs aren’t risking much in bringing him on board.

Yordano Ventura’s remaining contract hinges on the results of his toxicology report

DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 24: Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals pitches against the Detroit Tigers during the first inning at Comerica Park on September 24, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
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Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports provides an interesting window into how teams handle a player’s contract after he has died in an accident. It was reported on Sunday that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura died in a car accident in the Dominican Republic. He had three guaranteed years at a combined $19.25 million as well as two $12 million club options with a $1 million buyout each for the 2020-21 seasons.

What happens to that money? Well, that depends on the results of a toxicology report, Rosenthal explains. If it is revealed that Ventura was driving under the influence, payment to his estate can be nullified. The Royals may still choose to pay his estate some money as a gesture of good will, but they would be under no obligation to do so. However, if Ventura’s death was accidental and not caused by his driving under the influence, then his contract remains fully guaranteed and the Royals would have to pay it towards his estate. The Royals would be reimbursed by insurance for an as yet unknown portion of that contract.

The results of the toxicology report won’t be known for another three weeks, according to Royals GM Dayton Moore. Dominican Republic authorities said that there was no alcohol found at the scene.

Ventura’s situation is different than that of Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, who died in a boating accident this past September. Fernandez was not under contract beyond 2016. He was also legally drunk and cocaine was found in his system after the accident. Still, it is unclear whether or not Fernandez was driving the boat. As a result, his estate will receive an accidental death payment of $1.05 million as well as $450,000 through the players’ standard benefits package, Rosenthal points out.