This is no news to Royals fans who spend a lot of time getting mad at the Royals for bunting a lot. But if you don’t pay attention to such things, stuff like this will make you happy to not follow the Royals:
Alcides Escobar bunted in the first inning Sunday against Baltimore after Alex Gordon opened the game with a single. Escobar bunted on his own; he was bunting for a base-hit — and here you go: Good idea or not? … This was also the fifth straight time in a 22-game span that Escobar’s followed a leadoff single with a first-inning bunt.
Ned Yost said he didn’t mind. Unless his name was Billy Hamilton, If I had a guy on my team bunting in the first inning at that rate, I’d bench him so hard that he’d be picking splinters out of his hind end for a year.
The Tigers have officially named Ron Gardenhire as their next manager. Gardenhire has agreed to a three-year contract.
Gardenhire takes over for Brad Ausmus, who was let go after four seasons as Detroit’s manager. The Tigers went 64-98 this season, finishing tied for the worst record in the majors. Having traded away Justin Verlander and J.D. Martinez, they’re poised for a major rebuild, so it’s best to look at Gardenhire as something of a caretaker manager.
As far as caretaker managers go, Gardenhire is not a terrible choice. He was the bench coach for the Arizona Diamondbacks this season. He managed the Twins from 2002-14, going 1,068-1,039, winning the AL Central six times. He was AL Manager of the Year in 2010. He’ll do a fine job keeping the clubhouse drama free, dealing with the press and making sure the young players know the way to the team bus during road trips. There’s value in having an old hand doing those things with a team in as uncertain a position as the Tigers are these days.
Still, it’s a less-than-imaginative choice. If you have nothing to lose, and the Tigers really don’t, you’d think being somewhat more adventurous with your manager choice might be a way to try something new. As it is, the Tigers took a veteran-laden team in a win-now position and gave it to an unproven Brad Ausmus back in 2014. Now they’re playing it safe with a known quantity when the stakes are low.