Greg Walker stepped down as the White Sox’s hitting coach immediately after the season and it didn’t take him long to find a new gig, with Bob Nightengale of USA Today reporting that Walker has agreed to become the Braves’ new hitting coach.
Walker also interviewed for the Padres’ job, but given how frequently San Diego has cycled through hitting coaches since moving into Petco Park he’s probably better off in Atlanta.
Walker generally has a solid reputation among players and media members, but the White Sox finished 10th or worse among AL teams in scoring three times in the past five seasons. Atlanta fired hitting coach Larry Parrish last month after finishing 10th among NL teams in scoring this season.
The Athletics appear to be closing in on a deal for Mets’ right-hander Jeurys Familia, according to reports from ESPN’s Buster Olney. Nothing has been finalized just yet, however, as the Mets confirmed that they would not be announcing a trade tonight and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic points out that other teams may still be in the mix for Familia’s services. It’s not clear what the A’s would be giving up in any potential deal for the reliever.
Familia, 28, has been pitching well this season. He currently sports a 2.88 ERA, 3.1 BB/9 and 9.5 SO/9 through 40 2/3 innings — across-the-board improvements from his last run with the Mets in 2017 — and has racked up 17 saves to boot. He’s due another $3 million for the remainder of 2018, and Rosenthal adds that the club is willing to throw some cash in the deal in order to guarantee a better return for the closer.
While the A’s have one of the better bullpens in the American League, sitting seventh-best with a 3.50 ERA and 2.8 fWAR, they still have a ways to go in order to overtake the Mariners and Astros for a postseason berth by season’s end. Familia’s contract expires at the end of the year, but he should provide enough short-term value to give the A’s the boost they need.