Jim Fregosi: 1942-2014

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Six-time All-Star and NL Pennant-winning manager Jim Fregosi has died at a Miami hospital. He was 71.

Fregosi suffered multiple strokes while on an MLB alumni cruise last weekend. After being stabilized in the Cayman Islands, he was airlifted to Miami on Wednesday night. He was taken off life support yesterday afternoon and died at 2:30 this morning. Tracy Ringolsby reports that Fregosi’s wife Joni, his daughters Nikki, Lexy and Jennifer, and sons Robert and Jim were by his side as he passed away.

Fregosi was an expansion-draft selection of the Los Angeles Angels in 1960 and became that team’s first star. He was a six-time All-Star as a shortstop over the course of his 18-year career, playing for the Angels, New York Mets, Texas Rangers and Pittsburgh Pirates. He finished his career with a line of .265/.338/.398. In the low-offensive era in which he played, that worked out to a 113 OPS+ which is excellent for a shortstop.

Fregosi’s managing career had him at the helm of the Angels, White Sox, Phillies and Blue Jays. Overall he was 1028-1094 with an AL West title in 1979 and an NL Pennant with Philly in 1993.  For the past 13 years he has been an assistant to the general manager for the Atlanta Braves, where he was primarily a scout. His son Jim Jr. is a major league scout as well.

Farewell to one of the games more overlooked, but most respected, stars.

Ken Giles: ‘I’m actually enjoying the game more than I did for my entire tenure in Houston’

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Blue Jays closer Ken Giles hasn’t exactly turned things around since joining the Blue Jays on July 31, when the club sent embattled closer Roberto Osuna to the Astros. Giles posted a 4.99 ERA in 30 2/3 innings with the Astros, then put up a slightly less miserable 4.58 ERA in 17 2/3 innings with the Jays. Still, he’s much happier with the Jays than he was with the Astros, even after winning the World Series with them last year. He said to Rosie DiManno of the Toronto Star, “I’m actually enjoying the game more than I did for my entire tenure in Houston. It’s kind of weird to say that because I won a World Series with that team. But it’s like, I just felt trapped there. I didn’t feel like myself there. Overall, I felt out of place.”

Giles also said “the communication was lost” with the Astros and it was something that came easy with the Jays. He said, “When I came here, they stayed patient with me. I said hey, I want to work on this thing till I’m comfortable. All right. OK, I’m comfortable, let’s move on to this next thing. Pitching, you can’t just try to fix everything at once. For me, I had to take baby steps to get my groove back. The Jays allowed me to do that. Yeah, the team was out of contention, but it doesn’t matter. It’s still my career. I still have to prove myself. Them being so patient with me, understanding what I want to do, was very, very big.”

Giles, 28, has two more years of arbitration eligibility remaining. He has shown promise despite his overall mediocre numbers. In non-save situations this season (with both the Astros and Jays), he has a 9.12 ERA. But in save situations, his ERA is a pristine 0.38. Giles could be a closer the Jays find themselves leaning on as they attempt to get back into competitive shape. Since it sounds like Giles is quite enamored with Toronto and with the Blue Jays, a discussion about a contract extension certainly could be had.