I’m going tux shopping this weekend (I’m not just bein’ fancy, I’m getting married in June) – does anybody have last minute bits of advice? Things to avoid? Styles that are no longer stylish?
Once you get the ‘Dumb and Dumber’ orange and blue tuxedo jokes out of your system, drop a comment and let me hear what you think. [Brett: I was gonna say the ‘Dumb and Dumber’ thing, so you kinda stole my overused, hacky thunder.]
But before that, let’s talk about some news from around the league …
- Upon learning that he was being traded to the reigning World Series champion Houston Astros, Gerrit Cole was understandably excited, but made some comments that could be read as an indictment of the Pittsburgh Pirates (emphasis, mine): “It’s really special,” Cole said in his debut press conference yesterday. “Obviously, the organization puts — values me very high, and that always feels good as a player. And it’s refreshing to come to an environment where the team is willing to continually put resources into the club and continue to move forward and try to provide the best possible product for its fans.” I’m not entirely sure that was meant to be as pointed as it may read, but Elizabeth Bloom (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) suggests we can read between the lines. What do you think?
- It’s funny – Although I know the Pirates are rarely one of the more spending teams in baseball, I’ve often considered them a formidable team in terms of organizational planning, scouting, strategy, etc. over the past five to eight years, at least. Not unlike the Rays, the Pirates of this decade always seem to have a good inflow of young players and repurposed veterans. I know the last five years of competitiveness didn’t amount to much in the trophy case, but it’s hard for me to square the results with reports that “thousands sign petition urging Pirates owner Bob Nutting to sell the team.” Over 40,000 fans have signed a petition to remove Nutting, who is being labeled a “greedy owner,” and who is not willing to put competitive teams on the field year in and year out. The Andrew McCutchen trade was apparently the final straw. It’s not like a new owner can magically make Pittsburgh a better/bigger market, but you’re going to increasingly hear these types of calls as more teams strip down in an era of surging league-wide revenues.
- Moving on …
— MLB (@MLB) January 17, 2018
- At MLB.com, Mike Petriello writes about the various future Hall-of-Famers playing in 2018, separating them into buckets with the four you see above listed as “the absolute locks.” Indeed, all four of those players are absolute locks, and yet I can already tell you that none of them will be unanimous, which is representative of a much bigger HOF voting problem. Check out Petriello’s list, because he goes 45 players deep making the case for various levels of players (including two great years or less). Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant both make an appearance, and it’s pretty easy to see how the latter especially, after three unbelievably great years to start his career, is on the right path.
- Speaking of those sure-fire Hall-of-Famers, Albert Pujols is planning on adjusting his playing time a bit next year to accommodate Shohei Ohtani (remember him?). Basically, Pujols will probably have to play in the field a bit more, so that Ohtani can DH more frequently. Of course, the last time Pujols played first base regularly was back in 2015, so we’ll see how that goes. Reminder, Pujols is entering 2018 just 32 hits shy of 3,000, and just 16 homers shy of surpassing Ken Griffey Jr. for 6th all-time. More on him, Ohtani, and the Angels plans at MLB.com.
- Also at MLB.com, Mike Petriello writes about how the Yankees bullpen is shaping up to be one of the very best of all-time. We already checked in on their projections earlier this year, and, yeah, they’re going to be really, really good.
- Sticking with the AL East, the Boston Red Sox ZiPS projections have been released and they look very solid once again. It seems obvious, to me, that the Yankees have a bit of an edge, but the Red Sox are likely to continue adding this offseason (J.D. Martinez?) to positions of weakness (DH and first base are both projected for just 1 WAR), so they could make another jump forward soon enough.
- The Cubs ZiPS have still not been released, by the way – they’re one of the nine teams remaining.
- Do you remember the Cubs’ former back-up catcher Dioner Navarro? He was really dominant at the plate for the Cubs back in 2013 (139 wRC+, 2.1 WAR *as a backup*) and last played for the Blue Jays in 2016. He didn’t play last season, but not because he wasn’t good enough. Navarro’s wife, Sherley, suffered a severe stroke and was not expected to survive. Navarro took the year off to be with and support her. Since then, Sherley has recovered from her coma and is conscious, but cannot walk or talk (and is not likely to ever again). Still, Navarro is holding out hope. He may return to baseball, but at this point it’s very unclear. It goes without saying that we’re pulling for both and wish Sherley the best of luck in her recovery. Count your blessings today.
- In what will be a candidate for my favorite headline of the year at The Hardball Times, Brian Reinhart asks if Prince Fielder is the Next Anthony Bourdain?
Hardball Times: Is Prince Fielder the Next Anthony Bourdain? https://t.co/X9vkAPc5CL
— FanGraphs Baseball (@fangraphs) January 17, 2018
- Oh, Prince. The write up on his TV show is both informative and hilarious.
- And finally, have you ever seen this video of a guy hitting a home run while spinning around backwards at the plate? It’s infuriatingly easy for him and amazing to watch. Where does this guy keep his horseshoe?
— Baseball is Fun (@flippingbats) January 18, 2018