Keeping with this morning’s historical theme, we turn to Derek Jeter’s imminent eclipsing of Lou Gehrig’s Yankees hit record (he was 0-4 yesterday). A great record to be sure, currently held by a great man. So great, in fact, that as is often the case, people seem to want to make him greater than maybe he really was. Some interesting accuracy from a guy who literally wrote the book on Gehrig:
He was not universally beloved. Some reporters found him dull. Children
in the Bronx complained that he would sneak in and out of Yankee Stadium
to avoid signing autographs. He almost never picked up a dinner tab or
tipped a delivery boy. Even some of his teammates thought he could have
been friendlier. (He invited only one Yankee, Bill Dickey, to his wedding) . . .
. . . Some of the writers suggested that Gehrig was such a stoic that he did
not care about records. Whenever Gehrig approached or set a record,
reporters pounding at their portable typewriters made it sound as if
the shy slugger was unaware or unconcerned with the feat. When Gehrig and Babe Ruth battled in 1927 for the single-season home
run record, the writers described it as a friendly contest. But Gehrig took those things seriously, especially when Ruth was involved.
The author of the piece isn’t slamming Gehrig. He’s just showing that he was human as opposed to the selflessly stoic and godlike figure he’s so frequently made out to be.
Which, in my mind, makes him more interesting and no less great. I’ve always thought the same thing applied to Derek Jeter too.
(Thanks to YankeeFan Len for the link)
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.
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.