Rangers land ace left-hander Cole Hamels from Phillies

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MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan had the majority of the major scoops on this one. It’s a massive two-team, eight-player blockbuster deal that will net the Phillies a frontline starter for this year and years to come while injecting more young talent into the Phillies’ under-construction minor league system.

Rangers get …

SP Cole Hamels
RP Jake Diekman

Phillies get …

C Jorge Alfaro
OF Nick Williams
SP Alec Asher
SP Jerad Eickhoff
SP Jake Thompson
SP Matt Harrison

Hamels can help the Rangers down the stretch this season — they’re not completely out of the hunt for the second American League Wild Card — and he’ll pair very well with Yu Darvish in the long term. Hamels, 31, is under contract through 2019. Philly has agreed to eat some of the cash that he’s owed.

In return, the Phillies get an impressive haul of prospects. Alfaro is a power-hitting, big-armed catching prospect who could be a star if he develops better plate discipline. Williams is a well-rounded outfielder with big upside, and Thompson has posted promising numbers in the lower levels of the minor leagues (the 21-year-old has struggled this season at Double-A). J.J. Cooper of Baseball America says all three would probably crack an updated top-100 ranking of the game’s best prospects. The other players are more of throw-ins — especially Harrison, who has chronic back issues and is still owed around $30 million. By accepting him in the trade, the Rangers no doubt increased their package of talent.

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.