Marlins sign Kevin Kouzmanoff to minor league contract

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According to Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Marlins have signed Kevin Kouzmanoff to a minor league contract. He’ll get an invite to big league camp in spring training.

If you haven’t heard Kouzmanoff’s name much recently, there’s a reason for that. The 31-year-old played exclusively in the minor leagues this season after failing to make the Royals out of spring training. Limited to just 90 games due to injury, he batted .276/.309/.382 with two home runs, 46 RBI and a .691 OPS over 355 plate appearances between Double-A Northwest Arkansas and Triple-A Omaha.

Kouzmanoff’s career has tumbled since he was traded from the Padres to the Athletics in January of 2010, but assuming the Marlins don’t make any major additions, he could get a chance to compete for the third base job during spring training.

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.