Pitching coach Roger McDowell signed a new two-year deal on Saturday to remain with the Atlanta Braves.
“We are happy that Roger will continue to lead our Major League pitching staff,” Braves general manager Frank Wren said in a statement released by the club. “Our staff has performed very well under his guidance.”
McDowell, 52, completed his eighth season with the Braves in 2013, when Atlanta led all Major League clubs with a 3.18 staff ERA and ranked second by allowing just 2.54 walks per nine innings pitched. The Braves ranked sixth overall (fourth in the National League) with a .244 opponents’ batting average.
Under McDowell’s leadership, Atlanta’s staff ERA has dropped each season since 2008, and has ranked in the top five in the Majors each season since 2009.
RAYS: Exercised options on All-Star Ben Zobrist and shortstop Yunel Escobar.
Zobrist hit .275 while starting games at four different positions and leading AL second basemen in fielding percentage this year. He will earn $7 million in 2014, and the Rays hold a $7.5 million option on him for 2015 with a $500,000 buyout.
Escobar will get $5 million after playing in a career-high 153 games and leading major league shortstops with a .989 fielding percentage this season. There's also a $5 million option on Escobar for 2015.
The Rays must decide on a $6.5 million option on outfielder David DeJesus by midnight Sunday. The team has until Monday night to decide on a $2 million option on pitcher Juan Oviedo.