Mark Mulder retires

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Mark Mulder pitch.jpgThis may register as the least surprising news of the day, but Mark Mulder — former member of the “Big Three” in Oakland — has announced that he has officially retired.

I think the only person this may be news to is Mulder’s agent who, back in February, when reports of Mulder’s retirement first surfaced, said that Mulder was going to pitch again. But even at the time Mulder and his friends were basically admitting that he was done.  If he threw one pitch in anger between then and today I’d be shocked.

The Big Three of Mulder, Zito and Hudson were overlooked in general — some people think that those A’s teams won all of those games only because Billy Beane took all those walk (er, or something) — but Mulder may have been the most overlooked of the Big Three.

Hudson was
considered the ace and Zito got his gigantic contract, but Mulder was no slouch. He won 21 games in 2001, 19 in 2002 and pitched well in the playoffs. Sadly,
his shoulder went pop a year after joining the Cardinals. After a good
2005 season, 2006 was cut short, 2007 and 2008 were near total losses
for him. He didn’t pitch at all last year.

You can look at Mark Mulder and ask what could have been, but you can also look at what was and say that it wasn’t too damn bad. 

Have a nice retirement, Mark.

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.