Ozzie Guillen had his presser at the time time Terry Francona was talking. Why anyone would listen to Terry Francona when Ozzie Guillen is talking I have no idea. The highlights:
- Before he sits down he goes to the stenographer and asks “you gonna record me? You better get those fingers moving fast.”
- As he sits, he switches off his cell phone: “I gotta put this on vibrate. Make sure Obama doesn’t call me when I’m talkin’ to you guys.”
- Ozzie, you going to be busy during the meetings? “Ask Kenny. I’m not doin’ nothin. Kenny’s doin’ all the work.”
- Asked about Omar Vizquel’s role on the team: “He’s not going to be a coach. All you guys say he’ll be a coach or something. I got coaches. He’s gonna play third base, shortstop, second base. Joey Cora hits the fungoes.”
- Asked about Bobby Jenks: “When you got have a body like Bobby — I’m not going to use that word, fat, — but when you’re a big guy, people are going to say things when you play bad and won’t say nothin’ when you play good. That’s just how it goes.”
- Asked if he’s talked to Jenks much this offseason: “I don’t talk to players in the winter. I don’t talk to nobody. I get enough of players all summer.”
- Guillen was asked about his starting outfield, and he started naming guys . . .Quentin in right . . . Andruw Jones will play . . . and then he paused. “Ah, I don’t know all our players. Ask Joey Cora. He knows all of our players.”
- There’s this one Japanese reporter who is going to every manager and asking first, what did you think of Hideki Matsui’s postseason, and then follows up by asking if they’d consider adding Matsui this winter. Guillen: “Talk to Kenny. I don’t tell Kenny who to sign or who to release. Wait, that’s not true. I asked him to release a couple of guys.”
- Ozzie goals for the Winter Meetings: “I don’t have any goals. I come to hang out in the lobby. Talk to you guys. Stay away from my wife.”
- What’s your thoughts on replay, Ozzie? “I like to see the umps do their jobs and I don’t like delays. But if there is replay it will save me money because every time I argue it costs me $500 or $1000.”
As he leaves he says that he’s going to succeed Bud Selig as Commissioner in 2012. “And they’ll be no more Winter Meetings. And no more spring training.”
There’s certainly never a bad time to hit a home run, but when you get the opportunity to crush a triple-deck, 493-foot shot off of Tyler Duffey, you should take it. With the Mariners down 2-0 to the Twins in the fourth inning, Cruz hammered a fastball to deep left field for his 39th long ball of the season — and the second-longest home run hit in 2016, to boot.
It doesn’t hurt that the Mariners are 1.5 games back of a playoff spot, although they’ll have to oust the Blue Jays, Orioles, or Tigers to get a wild card. They’ve gone 3-3 in the last week, dropping two consecutive series to the Astros and Blue Jays and taking their series opener against Minnesota 10-1 on Friday night.
Cruz, for his part, entered Saturday’s game with a .299/.337/.610 batting line and six home runs in September. According to ESPN.com’s Home Run Tracker, Cruz sits behind Edwin Encarnacion and Mike Napoli with 13 “no-doubt” home runs in 2016, third-most among major league sluggers. It’s safe to say he can add Saturday’s moonshot to that list.
Marlins’ outfielder and undisputed home run king Giancarlo Stanton remains untouched at the top of the Statcast leaderboard with a 504-ft. home run, and it’s difficult to envision any slugger reaching beyond that before the end of the season. Even so, Cruz won’t need to clear 500 feet to extend an impressive hitting record. One more home run will put the 36-year-old at 40 on the year, making 2016 his third consecutive season with at least 40 homers, and his second such season doing so in Seattle.
It’s been a strange season for Red Sox’ third baseman Pablo Sandoval, who lost his starting role in spring training, went 0-for-6 in three regular season appearances, and underwent season-ending surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder in May. That was the last the Red Sox were supposed to hear about Sandoval until spring 2017, when he was expected to rejoin the team after a lengthy rehab stint in Florida.
On Saturday, manager John Farrell was telling a different story. Per MLB.com’s Sam Blum, Farrell hinted that Sandoval could return to the team as soon as October, albeit in a very limited capacity.
At the time of the surgery, it was all looking at the start of next Spring Training,” Farrell said. “We’re not getting too far ahead of ourselves here, but at the same time, we compliment him for the work he’s put in, the way he’s responded to the rehab, the way he’s worked himself into better condition. We’re staying open-minded.
If the 30-year-old does return in 2016, don’t expect him to look like the three-home run hitter of the 2012 World Series. Should the Red Sox lose another player to injury, Sandoval might be called on as a backup option, but he’s unlikely to see substantial playing time under any other circumstances. Despite making two appearances at DH in the instructional league, Sandoval has not started at third base since undergoing surgery, though Farrell noted that a return to third base would be the next logical step in his recovery process.
Sandoval has yet to hit his stride within the Red Sox’ organization after hitting career-worst numbers in 2015. According to FanGraphs, his Offensive Runs Above Average (Off) plummeted to -20.2, contributing approximately two wins fewer than the average offensive player in 2015. (The Diamondbacks’ Chris Owings held the lowest Off mark in 2015, with -26.3 runs below average.) Sandoval has not appeared in a postseason race since the Giants’ championship run in 2014.
Heading into Saturday evening, the Red Sox could clinch their spot in the postseason with a win over the Rays and an Orioles’ loss.