Jason Giambi turned down the Rockies’ offer to become a hitting coach, so today Colorado hired Dante Bichette to fill the job instead.
Troy Renck of the Denver Post talked to Giambi about why he decided against retiring as a player to begin a coaching career and the former MVP said “the timing wasn’t right” and first-year manager Walt Weiss having to work on a one-year contract played a part:
I really thought about it and if Walt had gotten more than a year on his contract maybe it would have been different. But I felt that he needed to get a foothold and have total focus and commitment from the guys. He really deserves it. If the team doesn’t start out the way they want, and I am in the background looming, it could be a PR nightmare. I am not that kind of human being.
That’s interesting, especially since Giambi has made it clear that he definitely wants to coach at some point and, at age 41, he’s nearing the end of the line as a player even if it sounds like he’ll be able to find a part-time/bench gig for 2013.
In giving Weiss a one-year deal the Rockies insisted that it was a non-story and didn’t represent a lack of commitment to someone with no professional coaching or managing experience, but it’s hard not to connect those dots and now the lack of a multi-year deal has had other ramifications.
All of which made me wonder about this scenario: What if Weiss does poorly in his first year and the Rockies decide to go in another direction after the season. Would they turn to Giambi, who interviewed for the manager job before Weiss was hired? And if so, would Giambi accept the job or would his aforementioned respect for Weiss keep him from doing so?
The Royals honored former pitcher Yordano Ventura prior to their first Cactus League game against the Rangers on Saturday. Ventura was killed in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic in late January.
Rangers’ third baseman Adrian Beltre and center fielder Carlos Gomez paid their respects to the pitcher with a floral arrangement that was laid on the mound. Both teams stood along the foul lines during a pregame video tribute that highlighted Ventura’s tenure with Kansas City. Following the game, Gomez spoke to the media about his relationship with Ventura, describing their frequent conversations during the season and commending the pitcher for having “the same passion that I had early in my career” (via WFAA.com’s Levi Weaver).
A plaque dedicated to the 25-year-old was also presented to club manager Ned Yost as a more permanent commemoration of Ventura’s contributions to the sport. Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star reports that the plaque will be mounted in the club’s spring training facilities alongside tributes to members of the Royals’ 2014 and 2015 playoff teams.
The full text of the plaque is below, via MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan:
A brother and a teammate, Yordano Ventura, passed away on the morning of January 22 in his native Dominican Republic, at the age of 25. He signed with the Royals as a 17-year-old, eventually making the big league team in 2013 as a 22-year-old. On most days, he could be found laughing and joking with his baseball family in the clubhouse. However, on days when he pitched, that smile was replaced by a quiet confidence and an intense fire, which he brought to the mound for every start. He had many highlights in his abbreviated career, not the least of which was throwing eight shutout innings in Game #6 of the 2014 World Series to force a Game #7 vs. San Francisco.
Right-hander Gerrit Cole is set to take the mound for the Pirates on Opening Day, according to a team announcement on Saturday. It’s a spot that was most recently occupied by former Pirate Francisco Liriano, who made three consecutive Opening Day starts for the club before getting dealt to the Blue Jays last August.
The 26-year-old produced career-worst numbers during his fourth run with the Pirates in 2016, due in large part to bouts of inflammation in his right elbow. He finished the year with a 3.88 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 116 innings before getting shut down in September to avoid further injury to his elbow. When healthy, however, Cole has been lights-out for the Pirates. Prior to his injury-laden campaign last year, he touted a career 3.07 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 8.5 SO/9 and cumulative 10.2 fWAR from 2013 through 2015.
Cole will go toe-to-toe with the Red Sox during Boston’s home opener on Monday, April 3. Right-hander Jameson Taillon is scheduled to make the second start of the year, while fellow righty Ivan Nova will cover the Pirates’ home opener against the Braves on April 7. The Pirates’ third and fifth starters have yet to be announced.