Mike Olt is signing with the Red Sox. He said so on his Instagram so it has to be true.
It’s going to be a minor league deal of course, given that the Sox have Pablo Sandoval or Brock Holt at third and Mitch Moreland at first. It’s also worth noting that Olt spent all of last year in the minors. Indeed, his last time in the big leagues was when he played 24 games for the 2015 White Sox and six games for the 2015 Cubs. That Cubs stint came as they pretended that Kris Bryant needed more minor league seasoning, with said seasoning corresponding exactly to how much time he needed to be in the minors in order for the Cubs to manipulate his service time just so. I wonder if Olt felt used. Oh well.
As for Olt himself, he was a first round pick in the 2010 draft for the Rangers who put up some nice numbers in the lower levels of the minors. He has shown almost zero ability to hit at the big league level, but if he’s needed he knows where the clubhouse entrance is and would likely be above average at post-homer high-fives, handing teammates their gloves and taking their batting helmets after inning ending groundouts, etc., and that’s not nothing.
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.