Pirates add Joe Blanton from Royals

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Just when you thought the trade deadline couldn’t possibly get any more exciting, the Pirates trumped every other move Wednesday night, landing Joe Blanton in a deal with the Royals.

Cash considerations were the reported return for Kansas City. Blanton had just been DFA’d to make room for Johnny Cueto on the roster.

Blanton had a 3.89 ERA and a 40/7 K/BB ratio in 41 2/3 innings for the Royals, making four starts and 11 relief appearances. The 34-year-old former 16-game winner announced his retirement in 2014 before coming back this year.

The Pirates likely will use Blanton out of the pen and hope that their big ballpark can keep his home run totals down. He could always start if needed, but Vance Worley is ahead of him in line should anything open up.

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.