Highly regarded prospect Jazz Chisholm wins Marlins’ 2B job

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
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MIAMI — Highly regarded prospect Jazz Chisholm was declared the winner of the spring competition for the Miami Marlins’ second base job Sunday, and he’ll be in the lineup on opening day.

Chisholm batted .268 with three homers and four stolen bases in spring training.

He was competing with Isan Diaz for the Marlins’ only open everyday job, and won almost by default. Diaz went 2 for 34 and will start the season in Triple-A.

Manager Don Mattingly and general manager Kim Ng told Chisholm shortly before the final spring training game that he was heading south with the team.

“It feels great when everybody believes in you,” Chisholm said. “I know I already have a lot of confidence, but it gives you confidence to where it’s almost cockiness.”

In 2020, Miami second basemen had an OPS of .602, last in the National League. Chisholm made his big league debut in September and went 9 for 56 (.161).

Chisholm, 23, came to Miami in the 2019 trade that sent pitcher Zac Gallen to Arizona.

“We look at Jazz as the everyday second baseman,” Mattingly said. “But this is the start of it. You’ve got to go perform and keep going every day.”

The young Marlins finished 14-5 in spring training, best in the majors. They’re trying to build on an unexpected run to the playoffs last year, and open the season Thursday against Tampa Bay.

“I’m happy with the club,” Mattingly said. “In general we have played pretty good baseball.”

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.