Phillies’ GM Matt Klentak hasn’t committed to exercising manager Pete Mackanin’s 2018 option yet, writes Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com. Last spring, the 65-year-old skipper was signed to a two-year contract that covered the 2016 and 2017 seasons and included an option for 2018.
There’s little cause for concern just yet, says Salisbury, in part because of Mackanin’s success with the club during their 2016 run. The Phillies didn’t show any spectacular improvement when Mackanin arrived on the scene in 2015, taking fifth place in the National League East with a 63-99 record, but gained an extra eight wins in 2016 and bumped up their position to fourth in the division.
Similar improvements could be on the horizon for the club in 2017. While a championship title is still out of reach, Mackanin told Michael McGarry of The Press of Atlantic City that he has his sights set on more modest achievements. “We might not go from A to Z and get to the World Series,” Mackanin said, “but I think we can go from A to F or A to G. We have to start making our move.”
The team has focused on acquiring depth over the offseason, anchoring their pitching staff with right-handers Clay Buchholz, Pat Neshek and Joaquin Benoit, adding backup catchers Bryan Holaday and Ryan Hanigan and picking up a couple of corner outfielders in Michael Saunders and Howie Kendrick. They’re not the flashiest of moves, but moving the needle even a little bit further in the Phillies’ favor could help secure Mackanin’s future with the club beyond his 2017 campaign.
Until then, it’s unlikely that Klentak will have much to comment on. Per Salisbury:
At the winter meetings, general manager Matt Klentak deftly sidestepped questions on the matter by citing NBCSports.com writer Craig Calcaterra’s annual (and hilarious) ranking of baseball’s most handsome managers. Mackanin ranked a very respectable eighth on the list, which each year draws more and more cackles from the baseball establishment.
“If Pete had ranked in the top five …” Klentak said with a shrug and a laugh.
The Rays acquired right-handed reliever Sergio Romo from the Dodgers, the teams announced Saturday night. Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash hinted that the team was in on Romo during the offseason, but couldn’t quite make a deal happen at the time. The righty reliever was designated for assignment by the Dodgers on Thursday and will net the club cash considerations or a player to be named later.
Romo, 34, struggled to find his footing in his first season with the Dodgers. He left a closing role in San Francisco to play set-up man to established closer Kenley Jansen, and saw mixed results on the mound with a 6.12 ERA, 4.3 BB/9 and 11.2 SO/9 through his first 25 innings of 2017. It’s a far cry from the sub-3.00 ERA he maintained in 2015 and 2016, but the Rays don’t seem to have ruled out a second-half surge just yet.
The veteran right-hander is expected to step into a bullpen that already boasts a solid core of right-handed relievers, including Alex Colome, Brad Boxberger, Erasmo Ramirez, Chase Whitley and Tommy Hunter. According to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, the Rays were intrigued by Romo’s extensive postseason experience, affordability and hefty strikeout rate, but will likely continue to hunt for additional bullpen depth in the weeks to come.
Astros’ third baseman Colin Moran was carted off the field on Saturday night after a foul ball caught him in the left eye. He was forced to leave in the sixth inning when a pitch from Orioles’ right-handed reliever Darren O'Day ricocheted off the handle of his bat and struck him in the face, causing considerable bleeding and bruising around his eye. The full extent of his injury has yet to be reported by the team.
Prior to the injury, Moran was 1-for-2 with a base hit in the third inning. He was relieved by pinch-hitter/third baseman Marwin Gonzalez, who polished off the end of the at-bat by catapulting a three-run homer onto Eutaw Street.
Evan Gattis and Carlos Beltran combined for another two runs in the ninth inning, bringing the Astros to a four-run lead as they look toward their 65th win of the season. They currently lead the Orioles 7-4 in the bottom of the ninth.