The Nationals announced today that several of the coaches that were reassigned last week when Matt Williams was fired have been given new roles in the organization. Bench coach Randy Knorr will join the front office as a senior assistant to GM Mike Rizzo, focusing on player development. Third base coach Bobby Henley has been named a senior advisor of player development. Bullpen coach Matthew LeCroy will be the manager of the team’s Double-A affiliate, while former Double-A skipper Brian Daubach will become the hitting coach for the Nationals’ Triple-A affiliate. The rest of Williams’ staff was fired last Monday.
Some more notes from around the NL as the Royals and Astros do battle in the ALDS…
- Though the Rockies finished the season with an NL-worst 4.70 ERA from their relief corps, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post points out that there are some arms to be excited about for the future. Most notably, right-hander Jairo Diaz, whom the Rockies acquired from Anaheim in exchange for Josh Rutledge last offseason, has made huge strides with his slider and control. Paired with a heater that averaged 97.2 mph and touched 100 mph at times, he could eventually be a dominant pairing with Adam Ottavino, though Ottavino is recovering from early May Tommy John surgery. Also worth watching are Scott Oberg, who had a strong finish, and Justin Miller, whose 38-to-11 K/BB ratio in 33 1/3 innings is certainly cause for some optimism. As Saunders and colleague Nick Groke note in a video breakdown of the ’pen, John Axford will return in 2016 via the arbitration process after falling just two days shy of qualifying for free agency (he has five years, 170 days of MLB service). Last week’s arbitration projections from MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz pegged Axford at $6.5MM.
- Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada won’t need surgery to repair his fractured fibula, the Mets told reporters today (Twitter link via Mike Vorkunov of the New Jersey Star-Ledger). Tejada will be in a case for the next six to eight weeks but is expected to be ready for Spring Training.
- Brewers right fielder Ryan Braun underwent lower back surgery today, tweets Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Reports that Braun would require an operation to address his back surfaced late last month, though the specifics surrounding his back surgery aren’t known. Haudricourt adds that everything went well, and Braun has previously said that his expectation is a relatively quick recovery that will allow him to be back up speed in plenty of time for Spring Training.