There’s a school of thought out there that says when you listen to SI’s Jon Heyman, you’re really listening to Scott Boras, who whispers all of his sweet nothings into Heyman’s ear. This line of thinking was put to print in Rich Lederer’s piece over at Baseball Analysts last February, in which Rich took a fine-toothed comb to a bunch of Heyman’s writings about Boras clients and found what he believed to be a high degree of curious prescience about them.
I’m not sure if Rich’s charges aginst Heyman are true — some very bright people in the know have told me that Lederer has overstated the Boras-Heyman connection — but I’ve made light of it all the same, going so far as to call Heyman “Lord Haw Haw” (after the infamous WWII propogandist) from time to time. Why? Not because of any malice towards Heyman, really, but mostly because it’s fun to think of him waiting around for Boras to call. I guess I want it to be true more than I believe it to be true.
Whatever you think, we now have a new data point with which to test the theory: Jon Heyman is tweeting this morning that “i’ll be surprised if stephen strasburg is a washington national by the midnight deadline tonight.”
Just speculation? Informed speculation? I guess we’ll have a better idea around midnight.
It’s been a strange season for Red Sox’ third baseman Pablo Sandoval, who lost his starting role in spring training, went 0-for-6 in three regular season appearances, and underwent season-ending surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder in May. That was the last the Red Sox were supposed to hear about Sandoval until spring 2017, when he was expected to rejoin the team after a lengthy rehab stint in Florida.
On Saturday, manager John Farrell was telling a different story. Per MLB.com’s Sam Blum, Farrell hinted that Sandoval could return to the team as soon as October, albeit in a very limited capacity.
At the time of the surgery, it was all looking at the start of next Spring Training,” Farrell said. “We’re not getting too far ahead of ourselves here, but at the same time, we compliment him for the work he’s put in, the way he’s responded to the rehab, the way he’s worked himself into better condition. We’re staying open-minded.
If the 30-year-old does return in 2016, don’t expect him to look like the three-home run hitter of the 2012 World Series. Should the Red Sox lose another player to injury, Sandoval might be called on as a backup option, but he’s unlikely to see substantial playing time under any other circumstances. Despite making two appearances at DH in the instructional league, Sandoval has not started at third base since undergoing surgery, though Farrell noted that a return to third base would be the next logical step in his recovery process.
Sandoval has yet to hit his stride within the Red Sox’ organization after hitting career-worst numbers in 2015. According to FanGraphs, his Offensive Runs Above Average (Off) plummeted to -20.2, contributing approximately two wins fewer than the average offensive player in 2015. (The Diamondbacks’ Chris Owings held the lowest Off mark in 2015, with -26.3 runs below average.) Sandoval has not appeared in a postseason race since the Giants’ championship run in 2014.
Heading into Saturday evening, the Red Sox could clinch their spot in the postseason with a win over the Rays and an Orioles’ loss.
The Rangers got a bit of a breather on Saturday after clinching the division lead during Friday night’s win. Naturally, it was also a prime opportunity for another of Adrian Beltre‘s well-documented antics, as he spent his off day directing the Rangers’ infield defense with a series of signs. Even with Carlos Beltran‘s help, no one, least of all those playing the infield, appeared to have any idea what Beltre’s gestures were intended to convey.
You can add this to the list of in-game oddities Beltre has become so well-known for over the years, running the gamut from the way he kicked a ball over the foul line to his histrionics every time someone comes close to touching his head. If nothing else, it’s a convincing audition reel for the third baseman’s future in major league coaching — a career path that, I’d imagine, would end up looking something like this: