Neither Nick Swisher nor Grady Sizemore ever retired. They just . . . stopped being signed by teams and given a chance to play. Now, despite, the lack of an official announcement, both have signaled that they have moved on to the next phase of their careers.
The Yankees have announced that Swisher will be a spring training instructor. He joins A-Rod, Goose Gossage and a cast of the zillion usual former Yankees suspects down in Tampa. I would guess that he’ll talk to young players about how to scare the living hell out of reporters with a positive intensity that goes to 11, bro.
Sizemore, meanwhile, has been hired by the Indians as an advisor for player development. Whether this is a real front office job or if he’ll be the sort of “advisor” who is, in reality, just a spring training instructor remains to be seen.
If, as it seems, this is the end of each of their careers, they go off into the sunset with nothing to be ashamed of. Sizemore finishes with a .265/.349/.457 career batting line and 150 homers over 1,110 games. There was a brief period there, about a decade ago, when he was in the conversation as one of the best players in the game. Injuries, unfortunately, derailed that promise. He last played, with the Rays, in 2015.
Swisher, who also did not play in 2016, was the first round pick of the Oakland A’s in the now-famous 2002 draft featured in “Moneyball.” The second generation big leaguer — son of Cards, Cubs and Padres catcher Steve Swisher — finishes with 245 homers and a line of .249/.351/.447 in 12 seasons. He made the All-Star team once and was a a key part of the World Champion 2009 Yankees.
Good luck with your future endeavors, men.
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.