Blogger at NBC Sport.com's HardballTalk. Recovering litigator. Rake. Scoundrel. Notorious Man-About-Town.
Ken Rosenthal reports that the Arizona Diamondbacks are considering making a managerial change. The rumor is that Chip Hale would be replaced by Phil Nevin, who currently manages the Reno Aces, the Diamondbacks’ Triple-A affiliate.
Dbacks General Manager Dave Stewart told Rosenthal, “I can’t comment on rumors.” Which isn’t exactly on the “vote of confidence” side of the ledger.
The Diamondbacks made some big moves this past offseason, signing Zack Greinke to a gigantic free agent contract and trading a considerable amount of talent for starter Shelby Miller, who has been terrible. Despite these moves they’re currently in last place in the NL West, with a record of 40-55. In his two seasons as Arizona’s manager Hale is 119-138.
Mark Bowman of MLB.com reports that the Royals are interested in Braves outfielder Nick Markakis.
Kansas City could use the outfield help and they have quite a history of trading with the Braves. Heck, take Francoeur while you’re at it.
Markakis could be useful in that, when he’s going well, he gets on base pretty solidly even if his power has evaporated. This year he hasn’t been going particularly well. He’s hitting .260/.337/.366. Last year he hit .296/.370/.376, though, and maybe he’d do well with a change of scenery.
The biggest hitch is that he’s owed $10.5 million each of the next two years and that’s a bit much for a guy who can get on base a little. Clubs tend to figure money out though and the Braves are willing to trade anyone, so it could be a good fit.
It’s no secret that Clay Buchholz is the odd man out in Boston. He pitched mopup duty last night — the ninth inning when his team was up by 11 — and before that he hadn’t pitched since July 2. He’s been kicked out of the rotation twice and isn’t trusted in the bullpen during this, his worst season as a big leaguer. Junichi Tazawa was just activated too, which will reduce what little role he actually has left.
Buchholz knows it too. Here’s what he tells Rob Bradford of WEEI:
“If this is the way the team is going to be as far as the rotation part of it … I feel like the guys they’re rolling out there, I don’t have a spot. I’m the odd man out.”
Does he think he’ll be traded?
“I’m not sure. I don’t know. Not having pitched in a while I felt like something has be going on. I’m just trying to stay as sharp as I can and that’s why I’ve been throwing on the side. I have to stay somewhat stretched out.”
It’s quite a fall for Buchholz who, at one time, was the ace of the staff. Now he looks like a guy a team that is probably going to the playoffs is seeking to unload to make room for relievers with half of his fame and pay check. That’s gotta be a hard pill to swallow.
Buchholz’s best bet: he gets traded to a non-contender who is content to put him in the rotation and let him sink or swim. If he swims, that club may decide to exercise the $13.5 million club option on Buchholz’s deal for 2017. Short of that, he’s going to be a free agent after the season who will face a tough market despite the fact that the free agent market looks really thin this year.