The Brewers trade Carlos Villanueva to Toronto

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Not a  lot of detail on this one yet, but the Brewers have traded righty reliever Carlos Villanueva to the Blue Jays for a player to be named later.

Villanueva pitched in 50 games last year, posting a 4.61 ERA and striking out 67 guys in 52 innings. He allows quite a few base runners, however, and for each of the past two years he’s been decidedly “meh,” which is a scientific scouting term that I’m sure I couldn’t explain to you because it’s such a complicated concept.

Still: Villanueva’s strikeout rate last year was unusually high for him, leaping from 7.8 Ks per nine innings in 2009 — which was his norm over the previous few years — to 11.4 last year.  Freakish?  Or has he figured something out?

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.