The Golden Era Committee, a newly-established wing of the Veteran’s Committee, is voting this morning on a handful of former players for induction into the Hall of Fame. Hopefully we’ll soon hear of good news about Ron Santo. There will also be plenty of Lukewarm (and downright hot) Stove action today, the first day of MLB’s Winter Meetings. Until then, Bullets…
- Gordon Wittenmyer puts together a great read on Theo Epstein’s early days as the Boston GM, and how it relates to his current role with the Cubs, viewed particularly through the lens of the 2004 trade in which Epstein sent Nomar Garciaparra to the Cubs – a surprising deal from the Boston side (in terms of the return), but one that paid long-term dividends. Wittenmyer’s closing quote comes from Jim Hendry: “I used to tell people all the time, when they thought they were getting the next Theo: There was not a next Theo, in my mind.” We’re ready to see it in action, Theo, and this week should really get rolling.
- Buster Olney interviewed Epstein for an ESPN the Magazine feature, of which there is a small snippet online (er, strike that – the whole thing is just three questions). In response to a question about how Epstein can instill a winning attitude with the Cubs: “When you have long-term contracts, there’s only so much you can do to influence players’ behavior. But you can have a significant impact on the young players you draft or sign – what they stand for as players and in their lives. It’s important to have a farm system everyone in the organization cares about. Producing talented players year in and year out is not a luxury – it’s a necessity.” That’s an interestingly candid statement, and suggests an additional reason – beyond the production and financial reasons – for Epstein’s preference for younger players.
- Jose Reyes officially signed on with the Marlins last night for six years and $106 million, marking the second year in a row that a shocking large contract was signed on the eve of the Winter Meetings (last year, the Nats signed Jayson Werth for seven years and $126 million (I still can’t believe it)). The implications of the signing are many, and will be discussed later this morning.
- On the Winter League front, catcher Welington Castillo has started playing in the Dominican Winter League. Castillo is from the DR, so it was probably a matter of “hey, I’m here, I might as well play some baseball.” Bryan LaHair has once again stopped playing in the Venezuelan Winter League (he’ll be in Dallas today to accept his minor league hitter of the year award, actually). I’m not sure what happened, but he wasn’t the same after coming back from a mid-November break. In the six games since that return, LaHair had just three hits (though one was a homer), three walks, and 11(!) strikeouts.
- A generic Winter Meetings preview from the Cubs’ perspective. A generic Winter Meetings preview from the national perspective.
- It sounds like Pedro Martinez is officially retiring. Pedro at his absolute best – from 1997 to 2000, which was the height of the steroid era, no less – may have been the best of all-time. Pedro’s 2000 season featured a must-be-a-mistake 0.737 WHIP. That is, of course, the single-season record, which is followed in the record books by four guys who pitched before the first World War. (The only other guy in the top 13 who didn’t pitch before 1920? Greg Maddux in 1995 with a 0.811 WHIP.) Pedro Martinez was silly good.
- A reminder (not a shameless plug – a reminder) to those of you who want to get Bleacher Nation shirts before Christmas, be aware: the deadline to put in an order and get it by Christmas (with standard shipping) is next Thursday, December 15. So, plan ahead (they’ve also got a deal going this month where you can get free shipping on orders over $50 (code is SHIPFREEUS)).