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 Kansas City Star has covered the death of Yordano Ventura and its aftermath in a thorough, thoughtful, respectful and admirable fashion and it has all been compelling to read, even if it’s often been difficult to read. Their latest story may be the most difficult, though it is nonetheless essential.
It covers the final year of Ventura’s life which, sadly, was tumultuous. He had become estranged from his family. He was married to a woman who, at the time of the ceremony, was still married to her first husband and whose family, allegedly, later made threats against Ventura that we’re only now learning about. This includes allegations of armed men accosting Ventura at his home near the Royals spring training facility a year ago. An incident which led to him missing time due to “flulike symptoms,” but which, in reality, caused him considerable mental distress. He was again threatened, it is claimed, in Kansas City during the season. There is also an allegation that Ventura attempted suicide via an overdose of Benadryl, though that is disputed.
Beyond that, there is an arc to the end of Ventura’s life which sounds unfortunately familiar. It’s a story of a young man whose life changed dramatically in a very, very short period of time and who struggled at times to process the changes. Were it not for a fateful drive on a dark and winding road one night in late January, they all could’ve been things that, as his career matured, he could look back on as learning experiences. Now that he’s gone, however, they form the final, tragic chapter.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Royals and first baseman Eric Hosmer have discussed a long-term contract extension. However, Hosmer also indicated that he will head into free agency if a deal is not consummated by Opening Day.
Hosmer, 27, avoided arbitration with the Royals last month, agreeing to a $12.25 million salary for the 2017 season. He is one of four key Royals players who can become a free agent after the season along with Mike Moustakas, Alcides Escobar, and Lorenzo Cain. If Hosmer does reach free agency, he would arguably be the top free agent first baseman.
Hosmer finished the past season hitting .266/.328/.433 with 25 home runs and 104 RBI while making his first All-Star team.