Diamondbacks sign Madison Bumgarner to five-year, $85 million contract

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ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports that the Diamondbacks and free agent starter Madison Bumgarner have reached an agreement on a five-year contract. Per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the deal is for $85 million, $15 million of which is deferred.

Bumgarner, 30, was arguably the top free agent pitcher remaining on the market. The lefty is coming off of a season in which he posted a 3.90 ERA with 203 strikeouts and 43 walks over 207 2/3 innings. The ERA marked a career-high for the veteran, but it was also his first full season since 2016.

The D-Backs, who were in the NL Wild Card hunt this past season, add another strong lefty to a starting rotation that already includes Robbie Ray. The rotation now has more pitchers than spots available, so the D-Backs will have to make some decisions. Perhaps Mike Leake moves to the bullpen or Ray gets traded.

The Dodgers, Giants, and Padres — all division foes of the D-Backs — were reportedly interested in Bumgarner’s services during the Winter Meetings. This may make a reunion between the Dodgers and Hyun-Jin Ryu more likely. The Padres and Giants will have to look elsewhere for rotation help.

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.