UPDATE: It’s not Zambrano, according to Feinsand. The Cubs haven’t asked him to waive his no-trade clause as of this evening, which would seem to be a precursor to any serious talks. I’m starting to get more enamored of the Javy Vazquez stuff. For one thing, the Braves are about the only other team in a position to trade starting pitching. For the reasons we’ve said, Lowe makes little sense. The only thing that doesn’t make sense re: Vazquez from the Yankees’ perspective is that he was there once and didn’t pitch all that great. But haven’t the Bombers given up such provincial thinking? He’s a lot better now than he used to be.
11:14 P.M: No news, but let’s speculate. That “this is not a salary dump” stuff could be interpreted loosely, right? I mean, Derek Lowe is owed $45 million, but Nick Swisher is owed $16.75 million on his deal. Braves kick in a little money and maybe we’re out of salary dump land? OK, yeah, that’s dumb and I still see no reason the Yankees would want Derek Lowe. Chalk it up to boredom and wishful thinking. New guess: Javy Vazquez’s triumphant return to Gotham . . .
10:24 P.M.: Mark Feinsand doesn’t know who it is, but he says that it’s not a salary dump deal, so there goes my Derek Lowe-for-Nick Swisher fantasies. Zambrano? That’s my guess for now. Zambrano. Guesses will change every seven minutes until I run out of pitchers.
9:52 P.M.: Rosenthal is on it too, though he says it’s not Aaron Harang.
8:46 P.M.: Buster Olney tweets “Heard this:
Yankees working very hard tonight on deal for starting pitcher.
Remember that they came close to deal for Aaron Harang in summer.”
Not sure why he’d mention Harang if the deal they’re working on wasn’t for Harang.
“When Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept for there were no more worlds to conquer.”
Or: “When Theo Epstein won World Series championships with the two most championship-starved franchises in baseball history, he got bored, and decided to run for the Senate or something.”
That latter bit is the premise of a Politico piece speculating that the Cubs president could go into politics one day. The story features an interview with former Obama chief strategist David Axlerod, who thinks Theo has what it takes. Mostly what he has is fame, popularity, good looks and money. No idea what his positions on issue are, but that other stuff goes a long way in politics these days.
Bonus: given what we just elected last fall, a guy who once had a little temper tantrum and dressed up in a gorilla suit is just as viable a candidate as anyone.
When you promote a player from the minors, the first and foremost consideration is whether or not he can help your ball club. But, assuming that’s taken care of, teams should really, really make it a priority to call up dudes with cool sounding names because it makes life more interesting for the rest of us.
The Pirates are doing that. The other night Dovydas Neverauskas made his big league debut. In addition to being the first Lithuanian born-and-raised player in major league history, it’s a solid, solid name. Now the Pirates are making another promotion: Gift Ngoepe.
Yep, Gift Ngoepe. He’s an infielder from South Africa, making the leap to the bigs due to David Freese‘s hamstring injury. Ngoepe, 27, was batting just .241/.308/.379 through 66 plate appearances this season with Triple-A Indianapolis, his ninth in the minors, so he’s not exactly a prospect. But man, that’s a killer name.
It’s also worth mentioning that Gift and Neverauskas were arrested together in a bar fight last August in Toledo, so there is already a good basis for some bonding here.
Good luck, Gift. Gift Ngoepe. Mr. Ngoepe. G-Ngo. Man, I could do this all day.