Hall-of-Fame broadcaster Milo Hamilton, the long-time voice of the Astros, passed away today at 88 years of age. David Barron of the Houston Chronicle documents the life and work of the man who shaped the baseball experiences of so many Houston fans — and coaches, players, and executives — during his venerable career.
With a tip of the cap to Mr. Hamilton, and best regards to his loved ones, here are some notes from the game’s western divisions:
- Angels third baseman David Freese says that he has given no thought at all to his upcoming free agency, as MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez reports. While his focus is on helping his team, a nice post-DL run at the plate is also helpful to Freese’s free agent case. Though Freese has been fairly average across the board over his career, and is entering his age-33 season, he enjoys a good position in a market that is largely devoid of high-end options at the hot corner.
- The Athletics like what they’ve seen from Marcus Semien in the second half, as he’s made strides on defense, but GM Billy Beane tells Joe Stiglich of CSNBayArea.com that he’s open to considering Semien at other positions. “Right now, we’re committed to [Semien] for this year [at shortstop], and like I said, we like his progress and hopefully he continues it,” Beane explained. “… I don’t see any immediate competition right now, but at some point, that will arrive on the scene. The thing with Marcus is he’s got the ability to play any position. He can play second, third, short, the outfield. He’s always got that in his back pocket.” Semien has landed a bit below league average with the bat, and UZR isn’t a fan of his overall glovework, but Defensive Runs Saved actually sees him as a positive overall in the field. And he’s still young, having just turned 25 today. (Happy birthday, Marcus!)
- Certainly, it will be interesting to see whether the A’s look to move Semien around the diamond in the coming seasons. Regardless of how things turn out for him, it’s worth noting that the trade that brought him to Oakland is looking quite positive for the organization, which has received solid early returns from Chris Bassitt and Josh Phegley even as Jeff Samardzija has struggled with the White Sox. Of course, Oakland will also enjoy rights to those players for much longer, whereas Samardzija will be a free agent this winter.
- The Dodgers are continuing to enact broader organizational changes, this time to the minor league staff. As MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports, the organization is shaking up its coaching and instructor ranks. Director of player development Gabe Kapler says that the club “wanted to bring in some new voices in key areas.” Last we checked in, Los Angeles had begun turning over its international scouting department.