Kenny Williams to Bobby Jenks: slim down, fatty

Leave a comment

Over the weekend, Bobby Jenks complained that the White Sox brass keep getting on him for being out of shape.  Kenny Williams isn’t all that interested in backing off:

“If he’s upset that it’s continuously brought up, then he should work on it and get it to where it’s not an issue . . . It is an issue. I’ve told him this directly to his face. If he’s going to have an extended career of effectiveness at a high level, like he certainly is capable of doing, then he has to take better care of himself.”

Kenny Williams is absolutely right to expect that his players be in tip-top shape and to accept no excuses when they fail to take care of themselves.  These guys have one job, and that’s to perform in physical competition with other athletes.  If someone isn’t on board with that, Heaven help them.

Kenny Williams is absolutely wrong, however, to say word one about this in public.  For one thing, it’s rude and unprofessional to call your own players out, just as it would be rude and unprofessional for any employer to call out his own employees’ shortcomings in a public forum.  Your TPS reports may not always have a cover sheet on them, but you don’t want your boss telling the newspaper about it, do you?

But it’s dumb on an even more basic level than that.  The GM’s primary job is to build his roster. One of the primary ways to build the roster is through trades.  Kenny Williams, it has been said, is even interesting in trading Bobby Jenks if given the right offer.  Fact: other GMs read newspapers.  Fact: when Kenny Williams slams his own player in public, other GMs will draw the inescapable conclusion that Kenny Williams doesn’t value Bobby Jenks all that much. Fact: because of that, Kenny Williams will get fewer and/or lower offers for Bobby Jenks as a result of him running down the guy in the Sun-Times or wherever.

Insist on the best, Kenny, but keep your criticisms in-house. To do otherwise only hurts the ballclub.

The Tigers are trying to convert Anthony Gose into a pitcher

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Tigers’ center fielder Anthony Gose wants to try his hand at pitching, according to comments made by manager Brad Ausmus on Sunday. Gose is poised to start the year in Triple-A Toledo after receiving a midseason demotion to Double-A last summer following an altercation with Triple-A manager Lloyd McClendon.

While the experiment won’t detract from Gose’s outfield work in Triple-A, the 26-year-old is expected to take on additional bullpen sessions throughout the year. According to MLB.com’s Jason Beck, the left-handed hitter last took the mound in high school, where his fastball was clocked as fast as 97 m.p.h. Gose ultimately rejected the idea of starting his professional career as a pitcher, despite receiving favorable assessments from scouts.

Ausmus said the idea first surfaced at the end of the 2016 season. It appears to be a fallback option for the outfielder, who has struggled at the plate over his five-year career in the majors. Via Chris McCosky of the Detroit News:

Doolittle in Oakland did it and he was in the big leagues a couple of years later,” Ausmus said. “It’s going to take some time. He’s going to have to be a sponge and catch up on experience fast. But we feel it’s worth investigating.

Stephen Strasburg is the Nationals’ Opening Day starter

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Nationals’ right-hander Stephen Strasburg will take the mound for the club on Opening Day, manager Dusty Baker said on Sunday. The news is hardly surprising given Max Scherzer’s questionable status this spring, though it had yet to be confirmed by the club.

Strasburg is approaching his eighth run with the club in 2017. He went 15-4 in 2016, finishing the year with a 3.60 ERA, 2.7 BB/9 and 11.2 SO/9 in 147 2/3 innings. This will mark his fourth Opening Day assignment with the Nationals.

Scherzer, the Nationals’ Opening Day starter in both 2015 and 2016, is scheduled to make his season debut sometime during the first week of the season. The right-hander is expected to take things more slowly this spring as he finishes rehabbing a stress fracture in his finger.

The Nationals will open their season against the Marlins on April 3.