The Nats win the Bryce Harper Sweepstakes

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They haven’t popped champagne just yet, but with the Pirates’ win against Los Angeles yesterday, the Nats can now finish no worse (better?) than a tie for the worst record in baseball. If the Pirates lose out and the Nats win out, they’ll both finish 59-103. 

But, because the Pirates took the season series 5-3 against the Nats, Washington wins (loses?) the tiebreaker, thereby entitling them to draft one Bryce Harper. That is, if getting the rights to take a 16 year-old kid whom Scott Boras will try to have moved to Andorra or something in order to make him a free agent constitutes “entitlement.”

Congratulations, Nationals, you did it! Now all that is left is for Adam Dunn to hit two homers so he can finish with an even 40 for the fifth season in a row and the season will have been an unequivocal success!

Royals fire manager Mike Matheny after 65-97 end to season

Minnesota Twis v Kansas City Royals
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Manager Mike Matheny and pitching coach Cal Eldred were fired by the Kansas Cty Royals on Wednesday night, shortly after the struggling franchise finished the season 65-97 with a listless 9-2 loss to the Cleveland Guardians.

The Royals had exercised their option on Matheny’s contract for 2023 during spring training, when the club hoped it was turning the corner from also-ran to contender again. But plagued by poor pitching, struggles from young position players and failed experiments with veterans, the Royals were largely out of playoff contention by the middle of summer.

The disappointing product led owner John Sherman last month to fire longtime front office executive Dayton Moore, the architect of back-to-back American League champions and the 2015 World Series title team. Moore was replaced by one of his longtime understudies, J.J. Picollo, who made the decision to fire Matheny hours after the season ended.

Matheny became the fifth big league manager to be fired this year.

Philadelphia’s Joe Girardi was replaced on June 3 by Rob Thomson, who engineered a miraculous turnaround to get the Phillies into the playoffs as a wild-card team. The Angels replaced Joe Maddon with Phil Nevin four days later, Toronto’s Charlie Montoyo was succeeded by John Schneider on July 13 and the Rangers’ Chris Woodward by Tony Beasley on Aug. 15.

In addition, Miami’s Don Mattingly said late last month that he will not return next season.