Diamondbacks unlikely to exercise $7.5 million option on Adam LaRoche

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An official decision won’t have to be made until later this week, but Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports that the Diamondbacks are unlikely to exercise their $7.5 million option on first baseman Adam LaRoche for 2011.

Back in September both LaRoche and the team expressed interest in working out a contract extension, but that was before Kevin Towers took over for Jerry Dipoto as general manager and now Piecoro writes that the Diamondbacks are likely “to direct their available revenue toward pitching and the bench.”

LaRoche hit .261/.320/.468 with 25 homers, 37 doubles, and 100 RBIs this season, more or less duplicating his career marks while earning $4.5 million. If the Diamondbacks decline his $7.5 million option they’ll owe him a $1.5 million buyout.

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

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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.