Davey Johnson gave his catcher a carrot

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Metaphorically.

The Nationals’ manager was explaining why he gave the Opening Day start behind the dish to Wilson Ramos and not Kurt Suzuki. Via Adam Kilgore:

Johnson made the decision – “a tough call,” he said – for two reasons. He had already decided to alternate Ramos and Suzuki every other game, and so on that schedule Suzuki will catch No. 2 starter Gio Gonzalez, his former Oakland A’s battery mate. Johnson also wanted to reward Ramos for the grueling rehab he put into healing the knee injury that ended his season in May of last season – “kind of a carrot for hard work,” Johnson said.

The Nats will be happy if Ramos turns out to be as good a baseball player as Bugs Bunny.

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.