Cubs sign Todd Wellemeyer to a minor league contract

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During an online chat earlier this afternoon Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com reported that the Cubs have signed Todd Wellemeyer to a minor-league contract. According to Levine, the deal is worth $800,000 plus incentives if Wellemeyer makes the team out of spring training.

Wellemeyer was a reliever for the first four seasons of his career, but then put together a nice 40-start run as a middle-of-the-rotation starter for the Cardinals in 2007 and 2008. St. Louis let him go after he struggled as a full-time member of the rotation in 2009 and he couldn’t get back on track with the Giants last season.

He’ll probably compete for a bullpen gig in Chicago, but Wellemeyer’s raw stuff has declined to the point that a comeback seems unlikely. As a reliever his average fastball clocked in at 93-94 miles per hour and initially as a starter he averaged 92.2 mph, but his velocity dipped to 91.5 mph in 2009 and 90.2 mph in 2010.

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.