While the Blue Jays lost pitching coach Brad Arnsberg to the Astros on Friday night, things are looking up with the rumors of a possible Vernon Wells-for-Milton Bradley trade.
According to the Toronto Sun, Chicago would be willing to split the
difference on the monies owed to the two players — Wells’ $107 million
and Bradley’s $21 million — for a difference of $86 million. Each side
would absorb $43 million.
It sounds far-fetched right now, especially since the Cubs are believed
to be talking to a few teams, but according to one Cubs official, the
idea “has some legs.”
At least Wells played in 158 games in 2009 (most since 2003), but he
turned in a lowly .260/.311/.400 line with 15 home runs, 66 RBI and 17
stolen bases. His .711 OPS was sixth from the bottom among outfielders
with at least 500 plate appearances. Also, according to UZR/150,
Wells has been one of the worst defensive center fielders in the sport
over the past two seasons. Bradley, of course, was suspended for the
rest of the season on September 20 after putting up a disappointing
The clear winner here would be the Blue Jays, who would only have to
pay for two years of the volatile Bradley, while Wells still has six
years left on his deal. It would also give the Cubs one of the more
expensive outfields in the sport, with Alfonso Soriano owed $90 million
over the next five seasons and Kosuke Fukudome owed $26.5 million over
the next two seasons. Each have full no-trade clauses.
It sounds improbable right now, but if the Cubs are this desperate for suitors, it would make more
sense for Jim Hendry to swallow some pride and eat the $21 million owed
to Bradley instead of taking on an increasingly unproductive and aging Wells. It’s not
like Bradley’s is a Barry Zito-type contract. They could find a find a far
more productive player than Wells for a fraction of the price.
The Royals honored former pitcher Yordano Ventura prior to their first Cactus League game against the Rangers on Saturday. Ventura was killed in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic in late January.
Rangers’ third baseman Adrian Beltre and center fielder Carlos Gomez paid their respects to the pitcher with a floral arrangement that was laid on the mound. Both teams stood along the foul lines during a pregame video tribute that highlighted Ventura’s tenure with Kansas City. Following the game, Gomez spoke to the media about his relationship with Ventura, describing their frequent conversations during the season and commending the pitcher for having “the same passion that I had early in my career” (via WFAA.com’s Levi Weaver).
A plaque dedicated to the 25-year-old was also presented to club manager Ned Yost as a more permanent commemoration of Ventura’s contributions to the sport. Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star reports that the plaque will be mounted in the club’s spring training facilities alongside tributes to members of the Royals’ 2014 and 2015 playoff teams.
The full text of the plaque is below, via MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan:
A brother and a teammate, Yordano Ventura, passed away on the morning of January 22 in his native Dominican Republic, at the age of 25. He signed with the Royals as a 17-year-old, eventually making the big league team in 2013 as a 22-year-old. On most days, he could be found laughing and joking with his baseball family in the clubhouse. However, on days when he pitched, that smile was replaced by a quiet confidence and an intense fire, which he brought to the mound for every start. He had many highlights in his abbreviated career, not the least of which was throwing eight shutout innings in Game #6 of the 2014 World Series to force a Game #7 vs. San Francisco.
Right-hander Gerrit Cole is set to take the mound for the Pirates on Opening Day, according to a team announcement on Saturday. It’s a spot that was most recently occupied by former Pirate Francisco Liriano, who made three consecutive Opening Day starts for the club before getting dealt to the Blue Jays last August.
The 26-year-old produced career-worst numbers during his fourth run with the Pirates in 2016, due in large part to bouts of inflammation in his right elbow. He finished the year with a 3.88 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 116 innings before getting shut down in September to avoid further injury to his elbow. When healthy, however, Cole has been lights-out for the Pirates. Prior to his injury-laden campaign last year, he touted a career 3.07 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 8.5 SO/9 and cumulative 10.2 fWAR from 2013 through 2015.
Cole will go toe-to-toe with the Red Sox during Boston’s home opener on Monday, April 3. Right-hander Jameson Taillon is scheduled to make the second start of the year, while fellow righty Ivan Nova will cover the Pirates’ home opener against the Braves on April 7. The Pirates’ third and fifth starters have yet to be announced.