Red Sox, Mets join list of teams linked to Lackey

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Not surprisingly, various reports following the general manager meetings in Chicago earlier this week note that the Mets and Red Sox were among teams to have talks with John Lackey’s agent.
Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald describes the Red Sox as “still in the fact-gathering stage” while David Lennon of New York Newsday suggests that the Mets are “testing waters.” Meanwhile, MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy reported previously that the Brewers met with Lackey’s agent.
Toss in the Angels’ interest in re-signing Lackey, the Yankees’ presumed interest in adding him to their rotation, plus the various other interested teams not yet heavily linked to him and … well, there’s a reason why he’s the consensus No. 1 free agent pitcher available. In writing last month about Lackey’s upcoming free agency I noted that he’s typically been one of the 10-15 best starters in the American League each season, making him a mid-level No. 1 starter.
Back then I wondered whether or not he’d top the five-year, $82.5 million deal that A.J. Burnett received from the Yankees last offseason. If the usual big spenders like the Red Sox, Yankees, Angels, and Mets are truly all in the mix that seems like a lock at this point. Lackey is a good, solid top-of-the-rotation starter, but it also looks like he stands to benefit more than anyone from this offseason’s weak crop of free agents. Can a 31-year-old pitcher with 102 career wins, a lifetime 3.81 ERA, and just one All-Star appearance get $100 million on the open market? It’s starting to look that way.

Jered Weaver dealing with “dead arm”

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Padres starter Jered Weaver lasted just two-thirds of an inning in Wednesday afternoon’s Cactus League appearance against the Royals. He yielded four runs on three hits, throwing 31 pitches before getting pulled. His spring ERA now sits at an ugly 10.13.

Weaver said he’s been dealing with a “dead arm” since his last bullpen session, but added he’s dealt with the issue in previous springs, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.

The Padres signed Weaver to a one-year, $3 million contract last month. The right-hander is coming off of the worst season of his 11-year career. His fastball averaged a career-low 83 MPH and he put up a 5.06 ERA with a 103/51 K/BB ratio in 178 innings.

Ian Kinsler doesn’t think Puerto Rico or Dominican Republic players play the game the right way

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Update: Whoops…

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Earlier, Craig wrote about Dan Duquette’s dogwhistle language in his criticism of Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista. We have some more dogwhistling, this time coming from Tigers (and Team U.S.) second baseman Ian Kinsler. Via Billy Witz of The New York Times:

I hope kids watching the W.B.C. can watch the way we play the game and appreciate the way we play the game as opposed to the way Puerto Rico plays or the Dominican plays. That’s not taking anything away from them. That just wasn’t the way we were raised. They were raised differently and to show emotion and passion when you play. We do show emotion; we do show passion. But we just do it in a different way.

The goal of the World Baseball Classic, created by Major League Baseball, is to promote baseball across the globe. It’s players like Puerto Rico’s Javier Baez who are doing the best job in that regard, not boring white guys from the U.S. Potential baseball fans are not swayed into liking the sport when a player hits a home run and solemnly puts his head down to stroll the bases. They get excited and energized when players show emotion, flip their bats, celebrate. Baez did more to make baseball appeal to new and lapsed audiences with his premature celebration tag than the entire U.S. team has done this tournament.

Furthermore, it is hypocritical to want to diversify the sport’s audience while squelching incoming cultures.

Jim Leyland also got in on the action:

Go Puerto Rico.