Corey Knebel, Dodgers agree to 1-year, $5.25 million contract

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LOS ANGELES — New Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Corey Knebel agreed to a one-year, $5.25 million contract that avoided salary arbitration.

The 29-year-old was acquired from Milwaukee on Dec. 2 ahead of the deadline for teams to offer 2021 contracts to unsigned players on their 40-man rosters. He earned $1,898,148 in prorated pay last year from a $5,125,000 salary.

Knebel was an All-Star in 2017 and a key part of the Brewers’ bullpen during their run to the 2018 NL Championship Series. The right-hander missed the 2019 season with a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow and struggled after returning last season.

Knebel’s best season came in 2017, when he went 1-4 with 39 saves and a 1.78 ERA in 76 appearances. He had a 6.08 ERA in 15 games last season.

The 2013 first-round draft pick has a career ERA of 3.31 with 57 saves in 239 relief appearances. He pitched eight games for Detroit in 2014 and had been with Milwaukee ever since.

Six players remain eligible to exchange proposed arbitration salaries with the World Series champion Dodgers: outfielder/first baseman Cody Bellinger, shortstop Corey Seager, right-hander Walker Buehler, catcher Austin Barnes, right-hander Dylan Floro and left-hander Julio Urias.

Royals fire manager Mike Matheny after 65-97 end to season

Minnesota Twis v Kansas City Royals
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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.