That’ll help: the Brewers have fired their bullpen coach

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John Axford and Francisco Rodriguez have basically poured fifteen gallons of kerosene on the last couple of weeks of the Brewers’ season, lit their Zippo lighters, said a bunch of pithy, villainous one-liners, dropped their lighters and walked away over the stream of fire heading towards the building and then didn’t even flinch as the explosion went off behind them.  Just ruthless performances in that regard from the both of them. Real Kyzer Soze stuff.

So, logically, the Brewers have done something about it:

 

That’s showing ’em, Doug Melvin. Let everyone know that there is real accountability in Milwaukee. The next guy who answers the bullpen phone and watches with his arms crossed as Axford and K-Rod warm up will know that they gotta mind their Ps and Qs.

Mike Napoli and Rays have “mutual interest” in a deal

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Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times unloaded a lot of interesting news items about the Rays last night, including a report that the Rays might have “mutual interest” in a deal with free agent first baseman/DH Mike Napoli. The Rangers declined Napoli’s $11 million option earlier this month and owe the veteran infielder a $2.5 million buyout.

Napoli, 36, had a strange year in Texas. He turned in 29 home runs, good for 11th-most among AL hitters, but finished the year batting just .193/.285/.428 over 485 plate appearances. According to FanGraphs, his -0.5 fWAR was the worst mark of his career to date, but on the bright side, he should come cheap for a team looking to swap out their veterans come spring.

Of course, the specifics of the Rays’ offseason plan have yet to be divulged — or, by all accounts from Topkin, even decided on. The club could go the refurbishment route, changing out some of their higher-paid veterans for a mix of prospects and cheaper aging players; or they could opt for a full rebuild, which Topkin cautions against as it could have a negative effect on the financing of a new ballpark. Either way, the Rays figure to offload some of their bigger contracts this winter, and will need to decide if they want to retain Alex Colome, Chris Archer, Wilson Ramos, Evan Longoria and others before pursuing any other major free agents.