The Diamondbacks have added former pitcher Rolando Valles to their major league coaching staff, per Nick Piecoro of The Arizona Republic. Valles takes the position vacated by former D-Backs bench coach Luis Urueta, who left the team in November to join the Marlins in the same role. When discussing the hiring, manager Torey Lovullo told reporters that Valles will be part of Arizona’s “run-prevention team.”
Signed by the Astros as an undrafted free agent in 1997, Valles would spend five years in the club’s system, reaching Low-A, before playing another five seasons in independent leagues. He then transitioned to an organizational role, spending two seasons with the Brewers in their player development system helping players with their off-field needs and on-field development before becoming a minor league pitching coach in 2010. Valles joined the Reds in 2019 in an associate coaching role where he engaged in offensive and pitching duties.
Some more notes from around the game…
- The recent passing of a ’millionaires tax’ in Massachusetts has led to an increase in state income taxes in 2023 from 5% to 9% on annual income over $1MM — potentially impacting Boston’s offseason, per Alex Speier of The Boston Globe. Speier reports that agents who have been negotiating with the Red Sox are factoring in the tax when contemplating offers, stating that “it’s potentially millions of dollars in the deal.” Speier adds that Boston is now “lumped in with teams in California and New York in needing to outbid clubs in more favorable tax environments (particularly Texas and Florida, where there’s no state income tax) to present offers of equal value.” Speculatively speaking, this tax may have played a role in the Red S0x’s five-year, $90MM agreement with NPB star Masataka Yoshida, who many around the league predicted would earn significantly less.
- With the Red Sox witnessing their longtime shortstop Xander Bogarts leave in free agency, the club has been connected with several middle infielders to fill the hole, most recently signing Niko Goodrum to a Minor League deal and discussing Joey Wendle with the Marlins. However, the door for Kike Hernandez to play a key role in the infield has not been completely shut. The super utilityman told reports that he is “preparing to play center field every day … but I haven’t thrown away my infield glove,” adding that he continues to take ground balls. Over nine seasons, the 31-year-old has logged 2,335 innings at short and second base but has primarily patrolled Fenway’s outfield in recent years. From a defensive standpoint, advanced metrics concerning Hernandez’s middle infield production are split. Since 2014 at the shortstop position, the righty is credited with 9 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) and a 5.4 Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR) but a -3 Outs Above Average (OAA). Similarly, since 2014 at second base, Hernandez has amassed 18 DRS but a -6.1 UZR and -5 OAA.
- Despite missing the entirety of the 2022 season, Michael Conforto and agent Scott Boras were able to secure the outfielder a two-year, $36MM contract with the Giants. Important to the deal, per Evan Grant of The Dallas Morning News, was the no-barrier opt out presented to Conforto by San Francisco. Grant adds that while the Rangers offered the left-handed hitter a deal similar to the Giants, Conforto would have to meet certain playing thresholds to execute the opt out.