Charlie Manuel surprised nobody on Sunday, announcing that Cliff Lee will start Game 1 of the World Series on Wednesday night,
against either the Yankees or the Angels. Lee has been everything the
Phillies hoped he would be and then some this postseason, going 2-0
with an 0.74 ERA and 0.70 WHIP over three starts.
But what was more telling was what
he didn’t say. Manuel refused to commit to Cole Hamels for the Game 2
assignment. After compiling a 4.32 ERA and 1.29 WHIP during the regular
season, last year’s World Series MVP has a 6.75 ERA over three starts
in the 2009 postseason. He has served up an alarming six home runs in
14 2/3 innings.
Though Manuel continues to hedge,
Pedro Martinez is a real possibility to start Game 2. Asked who he
would rather face in the World Series, it wasn’t hard for him to reveal his preference.
“I respect the Yankees. I love the Yankees. But I would love to beat them as bad as I look forward to them,” Martinez said.
Reminded of his long history with the Yankees, Martinez smiled and said: “Really? They have a long history with me.”
Martinez was brilliant in Game 2 of
the NLDS vs. the Dodgers, allowing just two hits over seven shutout
frames. Martinez hasn’t faced his former rivals since last June 27 as a
member of the Mets.
Angels outfielder Kole Calhoun had three more years of arbitration eligibility left, but he and the Angels decided to settle that future business at once on Wednesday, agreeing to a three-year extension worth $26 million, per SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo. The contract also includes a $14 million club option for the 2020 season.
Calhoun, 29, has been a dependable right fielder for the Angels over the last three seasons, batting an aggregate .266/.327/.436 with 61 home runs and 216 RBI in 1,895 plate appearances. According to FanGraphs, Calhoun has been the ninth-most valuable right fielder in baseball since the start of the 2014 season with 11.4 Wins Above Replacement. He ranks slightly behind Giancarlo Stanton (11.9) and just ahead of J.D. Martinez (10.9).
The Angels only have a handful of players signed beyond the 2017 season — just Albert Pujols, Mike Trout, Andrelton Simmons, and Calhoun. The club has options on Ricky Nolasco and Huston Street, while many others will be eligible for arbitration.
Nothing is happening as the baseball world waits four more hours for the Hall of Fame announcement. Question: why do it at 6pm? For MLB Network ratings? Let’s be real, there are “Golden Girls” reruns on third-tier basic cable that are gonna draw a bigger audience. Why not announce it now so people can get on with their lives? Oh well.
As we wait, let’s take a look in at Twitter, where Jim Bowden of ESPN passes along the rumor that the Washington Nationals are still interested in signing Matt Wieters and Greg Holland:
Great to know that the Nats’ baseball operations budget is dictated by its capital expenditures. Maybe they shoulda been smart like the Braves and suckered — er, I mean negotiated the local government to pay more for it? GO BRAVES!
Anyway, Bryce Harper had a response to that:
I take that to mean that he’d take the money used to construct the team store and give to Wieters and Holland. I haven’t seen the budget breakdown for the new spring training facility, but that would probably mean a major pay cut for Wieters and Holland. And where would we buy our “Make Baseball Great Again” caps? Think ahead, Bryce. Play the long game here.