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Former Royals, Cubs manager Jim Frey dies at 88

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Former Kansas City Royals and Chicago Cubs manager — and former Chicago Cubs general manager — Jim Frey died Sunday at age 88. No cause of death was announced.

Frey spent 14 seasons in the minor league organizations of the Braves and Cardinals, though he did not reach the majors. After his playing career ended he scouted and managed in the minor leagues for Baltimore, becoming a big league coach under Orioles manager Earl Weaver in 1970 and remaining in that role throughout the 1970s.

Frey was hired to replace Whitey Herzog as the manager of the Royals before the 1980 season and led the Royals to the AL Pennant in his first season, losing in the World Series to the Philadelphia Phillies. He was fired in 1981, after which he coached for the New York Mets in 1982 and 1983.

The Cubs hired Frey for the 1984 season and, once again, his first campaign in the top job was his best, leading the Cubs to first place in the NL East and winning the 1984 Manager of the Year Award. The Cubs fired him in 1986, but he took over as general manager in 1987. There he made a number of notable, but ultimately misguided, signings and trades, including inking George Bell, Danny Jackson, and Dave Smith to big free agent deals that didn’t really work out and trading away Lee Smith, Rafael Palmeiro, and Jamie Moyer. The Cubs won the division again in 1989, but the long term success of the club was hobbled by many of Frey’s moves and he was fired in 1991.

His overall record as a manager: 323-287.

Oakland Athletics reverse course, will continue to pay minor leaguers

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Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Oakland Athletics owner John Fisher has reversed course and will continue to pay minor leaguers. Fisher tells Slusser, “I concluded I made a mistake.” He said he is also setting up an assistance fund for furloughed employees.

The A’s decided in late May to stop paying paying minor leaguers as of June 1, which was the earliest date on which any club could do so after an MLB-wide agreement to pay minor leaguers through May 31 expired. In the event, the A’s were the only team to stop paying the $400/week stipends to players before the end of June. Some teams, notable the Royals and Twins, promised to keep the payments up through August 31, which is when the minor league season would’ve ended. The Washington Nationals decided to lop off $100 of the stipends last week but, after a day’s worth of blowback from the media and fans, reversed course themselves.