Nelson Cruz is still a baseball player, I assume. He’s a free agent awaiting a contract, so technically he’s unemployed. When you’re sitting on a big payday — even if that payday might be less than you first imagined — you can probably call it “funemployed.”
This period of funemployment won’t last much longer for Cruz. When the winter started and his lofty contract expectations became public, many fans feared giving a player like Cruz the kind of commitment he expected. A few months later, he is still out there. It is important to recognize that, while Cruz isn’t a star by any means, he remains a valuable player who can help the right team in 2014.
Who are these right teams that can tackle the risk of adding Nelson Cruz knowing that the back half of his deal (like just about every other FA contract) won’t look as attractive?
Brewers, Matt Garza agree on Four-Year, $52MM Contract
Such is the state of the baseball free agent market – four years and $52 million seems like a downright bargain. Like the Brewers are getting away with something, considering they just signed one of the top free agent pitchers — the only one who comes without draft pick compensation — to a deal that is very easy to like.
So easy to like, in fact, that it might be worth investigating why his deal is so reasonable. As in, there is a chance his medical records are as scary as we heard.
The Seattle Mariners are desperate to make something happen. For years, free agents rebuffed their advances, leaving the Mariners stuck in development hell. They have their victories, and Felix Hernandez is a fine trophy on which to hang your hat. The Mariners take great pains to ensure Felix stays the King of the Pacific Northwest for essentially his entire career.
But you cannot build a winner with just an ace. You can build around an ace but even Felix Hernandez watches 80% of his team’s games from the bench. Despite their player development shortcomings in the pasts, the Mariners once again find themselves with a clutch of prospects attracting attention around the league.
Rather than wait for their latest cohort to graduate, it seems the Mariners want to accelerate their timeline. With change looming, the Mariners are bound and determined to remake their team overnight. Rumors of the Seattle’s pursuit of Robinson Cano continue on a slow boil, with the second baseman’s representatives (but not the man himself) meeting with the M’s front office for a meet-cute in the Emerald City.
Those who have followed Zack Greinke‘s career know not to underestimate the power of his baseball mind. Greinke knows as much about what goes on in baseball, both on and off the field, more than almost any active player, and I would bet more than a good number of executives. And don’t just take my word for it — take Brewers general manager Doug Melvin’s. Greinke was a member of his draft war room in 2012, and one of the first things Greinke did as a member of the Dodgers was text GM Ned Coletti to congratulate him on the club’s first-round pick, Corey Seager — Greinke loved the high school third baseman’s talent.
Thanks to a no-trade clause included in his final contract as a member of the Kansas City Royals, Greinke’s baseball mind was allowed to play a pivotal role in the winter of 2010. That December, Greinke was dealt from the Royals to the Brewers (along with Yuniesky Betancourt) in exchange for shortstop Alcides Escobar, center fielder Lorenzo Cain and pitchers Jake Odorizzi and Jeremy Jeffress. It was a deal that helped the Brewers win their first and only National League Central division championship and reach the playoffs for just the second time since losing the 1982 World Series. But if not for the no-trade clause, Greinke would have been a Washington National, a move that would have radically changed the landscape of the National League.
Buried among the flurry of minor moves this past week comes an interesting transaction from Japan: 44-year-old reliever Takashi Saito has re-signed with the Rakuten Golden Eagles, the reigning NPB champions.
Saito was excellent in limited action for Rakuten in 2013, as he threw 26.2 innings with a 2.36 ERA and a 2.5 K/BB in relief of Masahiro Tanaka and the rest of the Golden Eagles’ NPB-winning rotation. In the process, he managed to infuse new life into what has already been an amazing career.
You know that hill in centerfield at Enron FieldMinute Maid Park? It’s pretty much the dumbest thing in baseball and the worst part of the tricked up (but lovely, I’m sure) ballpark in Houston.
One day, somebody less capable than Carlos Gomez is going to run up that hill and they won’t make a terrific catch, as Gomez did. Some poor schmuck will traipse up that incline and everything will go horribly wrong, resulting in naught but twisted limbs and ligaments rather than the wry smile/look of amazement worn by Gomez after reeling in this long drive.
And then, somebody will realize this goofy gimmick in the goofiest, gimmickiest park in the league should go.
It will be too late for that chump but not too late to admire Carlos Gomez for making a great play. Way to go, Carlos. That was pretty cool.
In the eighth inning Friday of Milwaukee’s game Friday against the Cubs, Jean Segura was on second. Then he was on first.
All of a sudden, the question of the meaning of life was rendered insignificant. Up was down. Left was right. And forward was backward.
The baseball community needed to figure this out. Baseball certainly comes the closest of any sport to keeping an immaculate record book, and baseball people having been trying to figure out how to record this play since Segura touched first for the second time in the eighth inning Friday night. MLB.com and Baseball Prospectus both came to the same conclusion: there is no correct way to score it.