Dontrelle Willis joins Vladimir Guerrero on Long Island Ducks

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Dontrelle Willis and Vladimir Guerrero are going to be teammates.

Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com reports that Willlis, who was released by the Cubs at the end of spring training, has signed with the independent league Long Island Ducks, who also announced a deal with Vladimir Guerrero this morning.

Hard to say who has a better chance of getting back to the majors at this point. Guerrero is 38 years old, didn’t play in the majors last season, and is pretty much limited to designated hitter duties by now, which as Jim Thome can tell you is an awfully tough market. On the other hand Willis is just 31, but hasn’t been effective in the majors since 2006. Seriously, 2006.

I guess the correct answer is probably “neither” but at least the Atlantic League will be a little more interesting to watch for a while.

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.