Davey Johnson is stepping down as Nationals manager following the season and bench coach Randy Knorr wants to be the man who replaces him.
Bill Ladson of MLB.com notes that Knorr managed nearly half of the Nationals’ current roster while they were in the minors and this is his second season as Johnson’s right-hand man in Washington.
Knorr has been tasked with filling in for Johnson as manager occasionally this season and has made headlines on two occasions, first by yanking closer Rafael Soriano from a save situation in July and then by criticizing Bryce Harper’s lack of hustle last week.
Ladson portrays those things as Knorr being “not afraid to speak his mind.” Whether or not general manager Mike Rizzo and the Nationals’ star players agree with that assessment will probably determine if he has any shot as the full-time gig for 2014.
The Reds have signed free agent reliever Oliver Perez to a minor-league contract, the team announced Saturday. The deal comes with a major-league invite and could be worth $1.25 million if Perez secures a roster spot this spring, with an additional $500,000 in potential performance bonuses.
Perez, 36, is coming off of a two-year run with the Nationals. He produced a 4.64 ERA, 3.3 BB/9 an d10.6 SO/9 through 50 relief appearances and 33 innings with the club in 2017. The veteran lefty hasn’t kept an ERA under 4.00 in at least four seasons, but he continues to be undeniably solid against left-handed batters, holding them to a .227/.301/.364 batting line over 18 1/3 innings last year.
While returning southpaw Wandy Peralta appears to have locked down a bullpen spot already, Perez will still compete for another role against fellow left-handers Cody Reed and Amir Garrett, both of whom also have experience in the rotation. If Perez doesn’t break camp with the team, MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon notes, he’ll be permitted to opt out of his contract. The Reds are currently looking to bounce back from a dismal performance in 2017, one in which their bullpen ranked 28th among major league teams with a collective 5.63 ERA and -1.2 fWAR.