Random observations from Game Six

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You saw it, and even if you didn’t, Matthew has told you all of the details (any he missed can be found here). Now’s the time for some random impressions:

An obviously gutsy performance from Andy Pettitte on short rest. He didn’t seem to suffer much for it, which is amazing considering the mileage on that left arm of his.

A just as gutsy performance from Pedro, even in defeat. He certainly knew before anyone — and probably well before the game
started — that he had nothing last night. He’s Pedro, though, and he
did his vain best to figure out a way to work around it. It’s weird: for a
Hall of Famer, I’ve always thought that Pedro’s character as a
pitcher was better defined by his losses than his wins. In the 2003
ALCS, last night, and many other times, I’ve come away strangely more
impressed by him when he leaves a game in defeat, and I’m not sure why
that is. Your theories are welcome.

Matsui. What can you really say? For a guy who often looks like he’s in
pain when he’s hitting, he made it look rather easy last night. He was
as good an MVP choice as anyone else.

Nine years ago is when Jeter, Posada, Rivera and Pettitte last won it
all. I know that beyond them there has been massive roster turnover
since 1996, but I’m struggling to come up with an example of a team
with at least a handful of core players winning World Series outside
the context of a continuing dynasty. This would be like Mickey Mantle
and Whitey Ford hanging around to win one with the 1971 Yankees, or
Chipper, Maddux and Smoltz doing it in 2004. I suppose this is mostly a
function of them being so young when they were winning them back in the
90s, but it is kind of odd to think about it.

Factoid I found on ESPN: “Wednesday’s clincher marked the sixth time
New York has defeated the defending champ in the World Series.” Without looking it up, I’ll say the Phillies last night, the Braves
in 1996, the Braves in 1958, the Dodgers in 1956, Cardinals in 1943,
and, um . . . I’m blanking. First one to figure it out wins a fully paid subscription to Circling The Bases.

I, along with all of you, wait with great anticipation to hear what the “PHILLIES IN __! MARK MY WORDS!” guy writes in the comments today.  Don’t disappoint us, dude.

After an offseason of terrible predictions, I’m rather pleased with myself. I picked the Yankees in six based on the strength of their rotation, but noted that Cliff Lee will get his.  Hey, even a blind pig finds an acorn once in a while, right?

151 days until Opening Day.  I wish it would hurry up already.

Tigers in discussions with Jordan Zimmermann

Jordan Zimmermann
AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports that the Tigers are in discussions with free agent starter Jordan Zimmermann. His sources have told him that the talks have become “serious”.

Zimmermann, 29, has a career 3.32 ERA across parts of seven seasons in the majors. He finished fifth in National League Cy Young Award balloting in 2014, finishing with a 2.66 ERA and a 182/29 K/BB ratio over 199 2/3 innings.

Among starters who have amassed at least 1,000 innings since 2009, only Cliff Lee, Dan Haren, Madison Bumgarner, and Zack Greinke have compiled a better strikeout-to-walk ratio than Zimmermann’s 4.09. While he doesn’t have the star power of other free agents such as Greinke or David Price, the Tigers would certainly improve their rotation by bringing him on board.

Blue Jays still focused on upgrading their pitching

Marco Estrada
AP Photo/LM Otero

Having already added Jesse Chavez and J.A. Happ to the mix and re-signing Marco Estrada early in the offseason, Blue Jays interim GM Tony LaCava said the team will continue to pursue pitching upgrades, as Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports. Nicholson-Smith added that LaCava declined to comment on free agent ace David Price. It is believed that the Jays will not pursue Price and other big-name free agent starting pitchers given their November activity.

The Jays re-signed Estrada to a two-year, $26 million deal on November 13, acquired Chavez from the Athletics in exchange for reliever Liam Hendriks on November 20 and signed Happ to a three-year, $36 million deal on Friday.

Nicholson-Smith notes in a column on Sportsnet that the Jays need to address the bullpen in particular. That is especially true after swapping Hendriks, who had a career-best 2.92 ERA out of the Jays’ bullpen in 2015, for a back-end starting pitcher.

Report: Jonathan Papelbon is “untradeable”

Jonathan Papelbon
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports spoke to an anonymous baseball executive, who said that Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon is “untradeable”. The Nationals are hoping to trade both Papelbon and the man he displaced, Drew Storen.

Papelbon has a poor reputation in baseball, particularly after a dugout altercation with superstar outfielder Bryce Harper. Focusing strictly on what he does on the field, Papelbon still gets the job done. The 35-year-old finished the last season with a combined 2.13 ERA, 24 saves, and a 56/12 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings between the Phillies and Nationals.

The Nationals owe Papelbon $11 million for the 2016 season.

Minor league home run king Mike Hessman retires

NEW YORK - JULY 29:  Mike Hessman #19 of the New York Mets bats against the St. Louis Cardinals on July 29, 2010 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. The Mets defeated the Cardinals 4-0.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper reports that corner infielder Mike Hessman has retired from professional baseball after 20 seasons. Hessman hit 433 home runs in the minor leagues, an all-time record. He broke Buzz Arlett’s record this past August and with style as #433 was a grand slam.

Hessman, 37, was selected in the 16th round of the 1996 draft by the Braves and remained with the organization through the 2004 season. He then went to the Tigers from 2005-09, the Mets in 2010, then drifted into the Astros and Reds’ farm systems before returning to the Tigers for the last two years.

Hessman took 250 plate appearances at the major league level, batting .188/.272/.422 with 14 home runs and 33 RBI.