I’m sure dozens of unconsummated trade proposals happen ever year that, if followed up on a few years later, would make people utterly sick. MVP candidates who could have been had for a song when they were kids, prospect-for-prospect deals that could have totally changed the face of the game if someone had actually pulled the trigger. People tend not to talk about those things too often, however, be it due to a failure of memory or a very human unwillingness to dwell on roads not taken.
But ESPN’s Keith Law remembers a doozy from back when he was J.P. Ricciardi’s assistant in Toronto. Would you believe the Mets offering up a young David Wright for a soon-to-be free agent Jose Cruz Jr.?
I’ve been asked about that trade rumor for three years but never answered while Ricciardi was still GM. The offer was made, though; I was there when the call came in. It was the first time I’d heard of Wright, since I wasn’t with Toronto in 2001 nor had I followed the draft when Wright was in it. JP’s reaction was, “I’m not trading a major league player for some guy in the Sally League.” And that was pretty much that.
Now, to be fair, at the time the Blue Jays had Eric Hinske manning third base. He was 24, went on to win the Rookie of the Year award that year, and was generally expected to be The Man at the hot corner in Toronto for a long time. Wright was playing third for the Capital City Bombers, hitting .266 with minimal power. I have no clue how he was thought of then, but it’s not like he was getting the press of a can’t-miss-stud or anything. If the Mets were shopping him to Toronto, they were probably shopping him elsewhere too, and everyone else took a pass, so it’s not like we should pile on Ricciardi for this. Especially when there are so many better reasons to pile on.
Just an interesting insight into front office life. The kind of insight that, if Keith decides he doesn’t want to work in a front office again, would fit really nicely into a big book about front office life. Hint hint, Keith.
Video: Undercover David Ortiz drives a Lyft in Boston
David Ortiz did one of those “Undercover Lyft” spots for, well, Lyft, in which famous people disguise themselves while driving passengers around. Yes, they’re ads, but they’re still pretty funny. At least this one was.
Best parts: (1) the woman who says she has two David Ortiz shirts to which Undercover Ortiz responds, “actually, all my shirts are his shirts”; and (2) when Ortiz agrees with someone that baseball games are “so loooong.” Oh, and at one point he tells a woman who said she was going to the Red Sox game that night that he was too. After he unmasked himself, she explains his own joke to him. Which, ooohhkay.
In other news, people who take Lyfts in Boston either don’t watch much baseball, because Ortiz’s costume is NOT very concealing, or else they simply don’t look at their Lyft driver while in the car, at all.
Scouting in Venezuela: “Someone is going to get killed. It’s just a matter of time”
Ben Badler of Baseball America has a story about how major league scouts who cover Venezuela are unhappy with the rules imposed upon them by the league. Rules, they say, which unreasonably prohibit them from scouting Venezuelan players in centralized, team-controlled locations or, alternatively, flying them to team facilities in the Dominican Republic or elsewhere.
The result: international scouts are forced to travel all over Venezuela to evaluate prospect. And, given how destabilized and dangerous Venezuela has become, they believe their safety is at risk:
“MLB’s rules that limit our ability to travel a Venezuelan guy to the Dominican Republic, that limit our ability to get them in a complex at different ages, all these rules are solely contributing to the risks that all of us are taking traveling from complex to complex, facility to facility in the streets,” said one international director. “Someone is going to get killed. It’s just a matter of time, and it’s on MLB when it happens, because they’re the ones who created these rules.”
As Badler notes, Major League Baseball itself has moved its annual national showcase out of the country due to safety concerns. It will not, however, relax scouting rules — which seem arbitrary on their surface in the first place — in order to make the job of international scouts safer.
It seems that Rob Manfred and the league owe their employees better than this. Or at the very least owe them an explanation why they don’t think they do.