It seems like every time a pitcher goes through a slump, or has a bad game, someone eventually brings up the idea of pitch-tipping. Welcome to the party, Cole Hamels.
According to the Philadelphia Daily News (via Sporting News), “sources” were concerned that Hamels was giving something away in his poor-but-effective-enough outing against the Dodgers in Game 5 of the NLCS. The solution? Wear a bigger glove.
The sources said the lefthander might have been tipping his pitches by the placement of his wrist. So the plan was to have Hamels use a bigger model of his TPK glove to conceal his wrist.
Daily News writer Paul Hagen writes, “Phillies personnel wouldn’t confirm the switch. ‘But that would make sense,’ one insider allowed with a knowing smile.”
I’m not sure how much sense that makes. Wouldn’t you just hold your wrist differently? If you’re hungry, would you solve the problem by grabbing a bigger napkin?
Personally, I’ve always been skeptical of the old pitch-tipping excuse. It always seems like just that: an excuse.
That being said, the Dodgers did tee off on Hamels at times in Wednesday’s game. And according to this story, some teams do put quite a bit of effort into examining the actions of opposing pitchers. So maybe there is something to this.
I guess we’ll have to wait until the World Series and see how Hamels does with his new glove. I think he’s set to start sometime in February.
Free agent first baseman James Loney has reportedly signed a minor league deal with the Rangers, per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The deal includes an invite to spring training and a $1 million salary if he makes the major league roster in 2017.
Loney picked up a one-year stint and starting role with the Mets in 2016, slashing .265/.307/.397 with nine home runs in 336 PA. While his numbers were down a hair from the .280/.322/.357 batting line he produced with the Rays in 2015, he provided the Mets with a necessary, if underwhelming upgrade over an injured Lucas Duda through most of the season.
The 32-year-old infielder is expected to have some competition at first base, with at least five other candidates in the mix: Jurickson Profar, Ronald Guzman, Ryan Rua, Joey Gallo and Josh Hamilton. Rumor has it that the team is planning on platooning Rua and Profar in 2017, barring any impressive breakouts or injuries during spring training, though Loney could still provide the club with some veteran depth and a decent left-handed bat off the bench.
Comments from an anonymous team official suggest that Rangers right-hander Tyson Ross will not be expected to join the rotation until May or June, per a report from Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Both Ross and GM Jon Daniels favor a conservative approach for the 29-year-old as he works his way back up to full health after undergoing surgery last October to relieve thoracic outlet syndrome.
The delay is reportedly being implemented so that Ross will be have the strength and stamina to contribute during the stretch run. Per Daniels:
We would rather err on a little extra time up front with the goal being to finish strong, pitching in big spots, meaningful games down the stretch and hopefully past 162.
Ross signed a one-year deal with the team on Thursday after pitching through an injury-riddled season with the Padres in 2016. If all goes according to plan, he’ll slot into a rotation that includes Yu Darvish, Cole Hamels, Andrew Cashner and Martin Perez. The Rangers are expected to narrow down their fifth starter alternatives in spring training.