Let’s check in on the latest out of the American League West …
- As the Rangers prepare to find a new manager, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News explores the case for simply keeping interim skipper Don Wakamatsu. It’ll obviously be hard for Wakamatsu to move the needle on the team’s bottom line over his brief tenure, but he is in some respects in the midst of a live audition for the job. As Grant notes, the former Mariners manager not only “has a long history with the Rangers and, in particular, [GM Jon] Daniels,” but also arguably offers the right blend of “continuity” and change. Wakamatsu certainly has a broad array of experiences in different dugouts, as is well documented in the piece.
- Longtime Mariners ace Felix Hernandez is slated to return from a hamstring injury to make one last start in the 2018 season, as MLB.com’s Greg Johns reports. The veteran hurler, who has fallen on hard times on the mound of late, says he “just want[s] to finish strong and show them I can still pitch.” From the club’s perspective, skipper Scott Servais says, they hope to send Hernandez “into the offseason with peace of mind” to he can know how best to “get ready for next year.” Of course, there’s also a line of thinking that both player and team could be best served by a clean break at the end of this season — as Bob Dutton recently discussed (but did not specifically advocate).
- Meanwhile, Dutton tackles the case of veteran Mariners slugger Nelson Cruz in another post on the KLAY 1180 AM blog. Both sides are saying they are hopeful of a reunion, but they have yet to hold contract talks. It’s an interesting dynamic, as Dutton explains, because there’s an argument to be made that Seattle ought to utilize its resources in a different manner — particularly with Robinson Cano on hand as a potential part-time DH. Of course, as Dutton also rightly notes, there is still plenty of time left to chat before Cruz formally returns to the open market — and, of course, he could still return thereafter. It’ll be interesting to see how things pan out.