Philadelphia fired multiple coaches immediately after the final game ended and the Phillies are doing some interesting things while piecing together the new staff.
Not only will manager Charlie Manuel go without a bench coach next season, Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reports that the Phillies will hire an assistant hitting coach and “have targeted” Matt Stairs and Mike Sweeney for the job.
According to Salisbury their goal is to hire a young, recently retired player to work alongside new hitting coach Steve Henderson, with general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. explaining that “we’ve researched it quite a bit, so we’re going to go with a two-man crew.”
Another name to keep an eye on is Jim Thome, who has a great relationship with Manuel and would fit what the Phillies are looking for if he decides to retire after the season.
The Mets signed left-hander Matt Purke to a minor league deal, the team announced Friday. Purke will also receive an invitation to spring training, where he could presumably beef up the club’s left-handed relief options alongside Jerry Blevins and Josh Smoker.
Purke has not appeared in the majors since 2016, when he was used in a dozen relief appearances by the White Sox. The 27-year-old racked up a 5.50 ERA, 6.0 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 in his first 18 innings with the team, and was demoted to Triple-A Charlotte in June to finish out the season. He spent the entire 2017 season in Triple-A as well, showing more promise with a 3.84 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 11.0 SO/9 in 48 appearances.
While Purke may not amount to much more than a depth piece in New York’s ‘pen, the veteran lefty figures to be part of the Mets’ new bullpen-first strategy next year. Reports from MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo indicate that the club will be focusing on improving their relief options in order to ease the workload of their starting pitchers, and will likely add a few more arms before the offseason comes to a close.