A.J. Pierzynski is meeting with the Rangers

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Last week several reports had the Rangers interested in A.J. Pierzynski and now Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago writes that the free agent catcher was in Texas to meet with the team today.

After losing Josh Hamilton and Mike Napoli the Rangers have been looking for lineup help and the left-handed-hitting Pierzynski would be a nice fit among their mostly right-handed bats.

He’s coming off a career-year in which he hit .278 with 27 homers and an .827 OPS in 135 games for the White Sox, but 35-year-old catchers tend not to be such good bets and Pierzynski last topped an .800 OPS in 2003.

Right now Geovany Soto sits top the Rangers’ catching depth chart, but a Pierzynski-Soto platoon could be very productive matched up based on lefties/righties.

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.