Kent on Bonds: 'I had to help him'

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kent_jeff_090824.jpgBy the time his career came to a close, Jeff Kent was widely known as a cranky old cuss who played the game 1,000-mph and would chew the rear of anyone who didn’t do the same.

No one was off limits, not even Barry Bonds. Which makes it hardly surprising that the two didn’t get along, what with their enormous egos constantly bumping into each other in the clubhouse.

The two even got caught on camera fighting in the dugout once in 2002. Kent said at the time it wasn’t a big deal, that they had scuffled before, and that that sort of thing happened sometimes on good teams with competitive players.

Fast forward to Monday, when Kent spoke at length about Bonds, steroids and other topics in the lead-up to his being installed on the Giants’ “Wall of Fame.” Pretty interesting stuff, from Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury-News:

“Tell me, does Barry have any close friends that are baseball players? I don’t mean that as a crack against Barry. Do I have any friends that are baseball players? We were in our own world when we played. We were similar in the sense we understood each other. We just didn’t hit it off for some reason. We talked motorcycles. Heck. We talked religion a couple times. But after work, we didn’t get a sandwich.”

Would love to have heard those talks on religion between the two non-friends, but there was more, including the revelation that they – in Kent’s view anyway – pushed each other to be great.

“We got after it a few times. You saw it on TV one time. That was just one of many times we got after it. Barry was so good, he had no competitor. He needed somebody to push him in order to play better and care more. I played the role of the guy who stuck a nail in his shoe every once in awhile, get him to jump. Barry motivated himself but sometimes he just didn’t care. And I had to help him.”

Interesting comments for sure, and I can’t help but wonder what one of Kent’s “motivational” sessions would’ve gone like. Something like this, perhaps?

Kent: Hey Barry, you need to hustle out there.

Bonds: (bleep) you.

Kent: I’m not kidding. Stop slacking. You need to run out those fly balls. And I think you coulda run down that liner in the gap if you had tried harder.

Bonds: (bleep) you.

Kent: Alright buddy, it’s go time!

******

If you Twitter, and can lift more than Izzy Mandelbaum, feel free to follow me at @Bharks.

Danny Espinosa reportedly skipped Nationals Winterfest because of Adam Eaton

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 13: Danny Espinosa #8 of the Washington Nationals celebrates after teammate Chris Heisey #14 (not pictured) hits a two run home run in the seventh inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers during game five of the National League Division Series at Nationals Park on October 13, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Nationals infielder Danny Espinosa declined to attend the team’s annual Winterfest because of his dissatisfaction with management following their trade for outfielder Adam Eaton.

A source told Castillo that Espinosa’s unhappiness stemmed from a belief that the acquisition would jeopardize his starting role in 2017. With Eaton in center field, Trea Turner will likely return to his post at shortstop, leaving Espinosa out in the cold — or, as the case may be, on the bench. The move shouldn’t come as a big surprise to Espinosa, however, as Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo spoke to the possibility of trading the infielder or reassigning him to a utility role back in early November.

Offensively, the 29-year-old had a down year in 2016, slashing just .209/.306/.378 with 24 home runs in 601 PA. Defensively, he still profiles among the top shortstops in the National League, with eight DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) and 8.3 Def (Defensive Runs Above Average) in his seventh year with the club.

Espinosa will reach free agency after the 2017 season.

Nick Cafardo: Red Sox should deal Pomeranz, not Buchholz

BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 18: Drew Pomeranz #31 of the Boston Red Sox pitches during the first inning against the New York Yankees at Fenway Park on September 18, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Red Sox won 5-4. (Photo by Rich Gagnon/Getty Images)
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The Red Sox might be trying to move the wrong pitcher, according to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo. Cafardo revealed that while the Sox have been trying to market right-hander Clay Buchholz, more teams would be interested in trades involving southpaw Drew Pomeranz.

The club appears reluctant to deal Pomeranz, especially because his price tag comes in at a cool $4.7 million to Buchholz’s $13.5 million in 2017. Those who have already expressed interest in the veteran hurlers, including the Twins, Mariners and Royals, also seem put off by Buchholz’s salary requirements as he enters his 32nd year.

Health could be another factor preventing teams from jumping to make trade offers, as Cafardo quotes an AL executive who believes the “medicals on both Pomeranz and Buchholz probably aren’t that great.” Neither pitcher suffered any major injuries during the 2016 season, though Pomeranz missed just over a week of play due to forearm soreness.

Pomeranz outperformed his fellow starter in 2016, pitching to a 3.32 ERA and career-best 9.8 K/9 through 170 2/3 innings with the Padres and Red Sox. He got off to an exceptionally strong start in San Diego, where his ERA dropped to 2.47 through the first half of the year before the Padres dealt him to Boston for minor league right-hander Anderson Espinoza. Buchholz, on the other hand, struggled with a 4.78 ERA and saw a decline in both his BB/9 and K/9 rates as he worked out a career-low 1.69 K/BB through 139 1/3 innings with the Sox.