Rangers hire Maddux as pitching coach, Moore as advisor

Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports
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The Texas Rangers hired Mike Maddux as their new pitching coach and added former Kansas City Royals general manager Dayton Moore as a senior advisor in their baseball operations department.

Maddux is returning to Texas to be on new manager Bruce Bochy’s staff. Maddux was first the pitching coach for the Rangers from 2009-15, a span in which they made their only two World Series appearances. He spent the past five seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals, and has been part of 11 playoffs teams over his past 15 seasons as a pitching coach.

Moore spent the past 16 years with the Royals, where he was named GM in May 2006 and also served as president of baseball operations before getting fired in September. The Royals had three consecutive 100-loss seasons before Moore’s arrival. They won back-to-back American League pennants in 2014 and 2015, beating the New York Mets for the World Series title after the second one.

Moore will collaborate with Rangers general manager Chris Young, the former pitcher who finished his big league playing career with the Royals from 2015-17.

“There is no one more respected in our game. He rebuilt the Royals into a world champion,” Young said. “Dayton’s experiences as a longtime general manager, as well as his extensive background in scouting, will be a tremendous asset to me and the other leaders of our baseball group.”

Before joining the Royals, Moore spent 13 seasons with the Atlanta Braves in scouting and player development roles before becoming their director of player personnel in 2002.

Maddux was the second-longest tenured pitching coach in club history when he left the Rangers after the 2015 season and spent the following two years with Washington. Texas had four consecutive seasons with team ERAs under 4.00 from 2010-13. Before his arrival, they hadn’t had a team ERA under 4.00 since 1990, and haven’t had one since Maddux left.

After 15 seasons pitching in the big leagues, Maddux began his MLB coaching career with the Milwaukee Brewers from 2003-08.

Even before three-time World Series champion manager Bochy was hired last month, the Rangers had said co-pitching coaches Doug Mathis and Brendan Sagara wouldn’t return to their major league staff.

Phillies, RHP Taijuan Walker reportedly agree to 4-year deal

Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports
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SAN DIEGO – The active Philadelphia Phillies added Taijuan Walker to their rotation on Tuesday, agreeing to a $72 million, four-year contract with the right-hander.

A person familiar with the negotiations confirmed the move to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because it was pending a physical.

It was the second major free-agent score for the Phillies at the winter meetings after they reeled in shortstop Trea Turner on Monday with a $300 million, 11-year deal. Walker and Turner join a Phillies team that made it to the World Series this year before losing to the Houston Astros.

The 30-year-old Walker went 12-5 with a 3.49 ERA in 29 starts this season for the New York Mets, one of Philadelphia’s biggest NL East rivals. He slots into a rotation fronted by Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola.

The Phillies recently lost pitcher Zach Eflin in free agency to Tampa Bay.

Asked about the market for Walker earlier in the day, agent Scott Boras said it was robust.

“As you can see in the marketplace, there’s a whole number of pitchers that are throwing 60 and 70 innings that have been pursued, probably with the exception of (Jacob) deGrom, at the lower end of threshold around $13-15 million a year because the demand for quality pitching is so great,” Boras said.

“So, Tai … is one of the younger ones, one of the more durable ones and we expect him to be pursued greatly as his market unfolds.”

Walker was selected by Seattle with the No. 43 pick in the 2010 amateur draft. He made his big league debut with the Mariners in 2013.

Walker signed with New York as a free agent in February 2021. He turned down a $7.5 million player option last month in favor of a $3 million buyout, making his deal worth $17 million over two seasons.

The 6-foot-4 Walker made the All-Star team for the first time in 2021, putting together a fast start before fading to a 7-11 record with a 4.47 ERA in 30 games, 29 starts.