Report: Astros meeting with Yu Darvish

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The Astros are meeting with free agent Yu Darvish on Tuesday, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports. Darvish met with the Cubs on Monday. Other teams with interest include the Twins, Rangers, Mariners, and Phillies, according to Heyman.

Adding Darvish would be quite the boon to the world champion Astros’ starting rotation, which already includes Dallas Keuchel and Justin Verlander. Keuchel is a free agent after the 2018 season, however, so Darvish could be a hedge against losing Keuchel. Verlander is under contract through 2019 and has a vesting option for 2020.

Between the Rangers and Dodgers last season, Darvish put up a 3.86 ERA with a 209/58 K/BB ratio in 186 2/3 innings. He pitched well in his two starts in the NLDS and NLCS, but gave up nine runs (eight earned) in 3 1/3 innings across two starts in the World Series against the Astros. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. (According to an anonymous Astros player, Darvish was tipping his pitches during the World Series.)

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.