Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Report: Cardinals join Dodgers in pursuit of Brian Dozier

28 Comments

The Dodgers have made no secret about its interest in Twins second baseman Brian Dozier. The new wrinkle, though, according to Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN, is that the Cardinals are “very much in it” as well. Wolfson adds that the Nationals and Giants remain in dialogue with the Twins, too.

The Cardinals, of course, have a crowded infield as is with incumbent second baseman Kolten Wong. Wong played some outfield last season but it would make more sense if Wong were included in a deal that brought Dozier to St. Louis. Meanwhile, the Dodgers traded veteran 2B/OF Howie Kendrick to the Phillies and regular second baseman Chase Utley is still in free agency. If the season were to start today, Enrique Hernandez and Micah Johnson would handle the position.

Dozier, 29, had an outstanding 2016 campaign, finishing with a .268/.340/.546 triple-slash line along with 42 home runs, 99 RBI, and 104 runs scored in 691 plate appearances. According to FanGraphs’ version of Wins Above Replacement, only Jose Altuve (6.7) and Robinson Cano (6.0) were more valuable than Dozier (5.9) at the second base position.

Giants remove pitching coach Dave Righetti

Getty Images
Leave a comment

After 18 years, 12 winning seasons, seven postseason runs and three World Championships, Dave Righetti is no longer a pitching coach for the Giants. He was removed from his post on Saturday, when the team announced a few reassignments as they shake up their coaching staff. Heading into the 2018 season, Righetti will serve as special assistant to general manager Bobby Evans, former bullpen coach Mark Gardner will step into a similar special assistant role to “assist in pitching evaluations,” and former assistant hitting coach Steve Decker will take a special assistant role in baseball operations.

According to MLB.com’s Chris Haft, Righetti was the longest-tenured pitching coach in the big leagues. He helped shape the careers of notable Giants’ aces like Madison Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain — all Cy Young contenders (and, in Lincecum’s case, a two-time winner) at various points in their careers. He was there to assist Ryan Vogelsong during his stunning mid-career comeback in San Francisco. He helped newcomers like Chris Stratton and Ty Blach flourish even as the team stumbled to the bottom of the division. He was there to take the credit when a sterling rotation clinched the Giants’ 56-year, drought-snapping championship title in 2010 — and, when things went so horribly south in 2017, he took the blame as well.

Hardly anything went right for the Giants’ pitching staff in 2017. Madison Bumgarner was shelved after sustaining a serious shoulder injury in a dirt bike accident, Johnny Cueto couldn’t shake a cluster of blisters on his right hand and Mark Melancon found it difficult to justify a $62 million paycheck after pitching through an arm injury to four blown losses/saves and a 4.50 ERA. It would be a lot for any pitching coach to stay on top of, and given the team’s rapid descent from 2016 postseason contenders to last-place finishers in 2017, it’s not surprising that Evans felt the need to switch things up.

Successors have yet to be named for Righetti, Gardner or Decker, though Murray hears that the Giants could have interest in former major league pitching coach Jim Hickey. NBC Bay Area’s Alex Pavlovic adds that Evans is searching for someone to “put a new voice” on the pitching staff and will likely target someone who, like Righetti, brings considerable experience to the role.