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Rick Kranitz named Braves new pitching coach

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The Braves have named Rick Kranitz as their new pitching coach. Krantiz was recently let go as the pitching coach of the Phillies in an oddly-timed move that raised some eyebrows. The Braves, meanwhile, fired their pitching coach, Chuck Hernandez, just after the season ended.

Atlanta has a number of near-ready starting pitchers who are likely to break into the majors in 2019. It’s always hard to determine what, exactly, makes a good pitching coach, but Krantiz was given a good degree of credit for the emergence Aaron Nola and Zach Eflin in Philly, and the Braves no doubt hope he can help matters in Atlanta.

Royals, Alex Gordon close to contract agreement

Alex Gordon
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MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan reports that the Royals and outfielder Alex Gordon are “getting close” to an agreement on a one-year contract. Terms of the deal aren’t yet known, but the Royals could make it official within the next few days.

Gordon, who turns 36 years old next month, hit .266/.345/.396 with 13 home runs and 76 RBI over 633 plate appearances with the Royals this past season. His offense has waned, owning an adjusted OPS of 84 since 2016 (100 is average), but he still plays decent defense.

Gordon has spent all 13 years of his major league career with the Royals. With the club in a rebuilding phase, he will serve as the clubhouse leader and be a mentor to younger players on the roster.