Here’s the latest from around the AL West…
- Jerry Dipoto originally signed a three-year deal with the Mariners, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reports, so the general manager is entering his last year under contract. Seattle is 164-160 in two seasons under Dipoto, with a winning year in 2016 followed up by a disappointing, injury-filled year this season. There haven’t been any rumblings about Dipoto’s job security, however, and it would make sense if the M’s explored extensions with Dipoto and manager Scott Servais (whose deal is also up after 2018) this winter in order to avoid lame-duck status for either man. More pressure would seem to be on Servais since managers are more readily replaced than GMs, though Dipoto recently defended his skipper against some reports of clubhouse criticism. The firings of bench coach Tim Bogar and first base coach Casey Candaele does remove some of Servais’ support system — Heyman notes that Candaele and Servais are good friends, while Bogar is close with Dipoto.
- The Angels announced earlier this week that hitting coach Dave Hansen won’t return to the club next season. Hansen had been with L.A. for the last four seasons, first as an assistant hitting coach and then taking over the lead job in 2016-17. The Angels finished near the bottom of most offensive categories last year, as Mike Trout (181), Andrelton Simmons (103) and late-August addition Justin Upton (137) were the only regulars to finish with a wRC+ above the league-average 100 mark. (Yunel Escobar also finished with a 100 wRC+ on the dot.)
- Analytics played a major role in the Astros’ rebuild and subsequent rise to World Series contender, though as Alex Speier of the Boston Globe writes, the Astros are now faced with the challenge of staying ahead of the curve. “It’s a double-edged sword. If [other teams are] following things we did first, it means, a) it works; and b) our advantage is gone, or dissipating,” Houston GM Jeff Luhnow said. “That’s why we’re constantly trying to figure out how we can gain small advantages in multiple areas. We’re all observing each other. I copy what I see works with other teams and vice-versa. Keeping things a secret allows you to benefit longer but it’s hard to do.”