Rockies hire Dante Bichette as new hitting coach

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Colorado wanted Jason Giambi to retire as a player and become a hitting coach, but the 41-year-old apparently isn’t ready to call it a career yet and the Rockies have moved on.

Today the team announced the hiring of Dante Bichette as hitting coach.

Bichette and first-year manager Walt Weiss were Rockies teammates from 1994-1997 and if nothing else Bichette is more qualified than anyone when it comes to taking advantage of Coors Field, where he hit .358 with a 1.035 OPS in 397 games while being mediocre away from high altitude.

And most importantly the Rockies hiring Bichette gives me an excuse to link to this picture of him again. Never gets old.

Padres may have more interest in Dallas Keuchel than Bryce Harper

Dallas Keuchel
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An interesting tidbit today from The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, who noted that ongoing talks between agent Scott Boras and the Padres have focused more on starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel than slugger Bryce Harper. Earlier this week, there were conflicting reports on the Padres’ level of interest in Harper — MLB Network’s Jon Heyman heard the club had not ruled out another big signing after getting Manny Machado, while Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune talked to multiple sources who believed otherwise — but any agreement between the two is looking unlikelier by the day.

As for Keuchel, Rosenthal cautions that a potential deal is still a “longshot,” especially as the team has other, cheaper options in mind. The 31-year-old southpaw turned down a qualifying offer from the Astros last year and is likely angling for something north of the five-year, $90 million contract extension he rejected from the club in 2016. He’s coming off of another solid performance in Houston, where he went 12-11 in 34 starts with a 3.74 ERA, 2.6 BB/9, 6.7 SO/9, and 3.6 fWAR through 204 2/3 innings in 2018.

While Keuchel has failed to garner substantial interest around the league this offseason, Heyman points out that the Phillies are looking to establish themselves as frontrunners for the lefty — and they’re far less likely to have hang-ups about his asking price, too.