Roy Halladay took out an ad in the Toronto Sun thanking Blue Jays fans for their “overwhelming passion and devotion.” I assume he meant during those times when it wasn’t Leafs season.
Seriously though, nice move by Halladay, a man about whom I’ve never read or heard a discouraging or disparaging word.
Fun: The linked article does a quick rundown of other athletes who have done the full page ad thing. Johnny Damon, Trevor Hoffman, Mike Sweeney, Drew Bledsoe and even Pacman Jones. I seem to remember a whole bunch more. Makes me think that the gesture, however nice it is, is a bit passe.
I mean, really, Akinori Iwamura took out a full-page ad when he got traded from the Rays to Pirates last month, and he played there for only a couple of seasons for cryin’ out loud. If that doesn’t put us in mid-air over the shark, we’ve certainly strapped on the skis, haven’t we? All of which makes me wonder who will be the first person to escalate things. I mean, newspapers are dying, right? At some point an athlete is going to really up the ante in the “thanks for your support” race.
My guess: Derek Jeter takes out thirty minutes of TV time when he announces his retirement. A full-blown Obama-style deal, where he’s on all of the major networks. Except he’s so smooth with the P.R. stuff he knows that no one wants to hear him talk that long so he speaks for ten minutes and the uses the rest of the time to air previously unseen footage from the 1932 World Series the he bought from some old widow or something.
Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports that the Tigers are in discussions with free agent starter Jordan Zimmermann. His sources have told him that the talks have become “serious”.
Zimmermann, 29, has a career 3.32 ERA across parts of seven seasons in the majors. He finished fifth in National League Cy Young Award balloting in 2014, finishing with a 2.66 ERA and a 182/29 K/BB ratio over 199 2/3 innings.
Among starters who have amassed at least 1,000 innings since 2009, only Cliff Lee, Dan Haren, Madison Bumgarner, and Zack Greinke have compiled a better strikeout-to-walk ratio than Zimmermann’s 4.09. While he doesn’t have the star power of other free agents such as Greinke or David Price, the Tigers would certainly improve their rotation by bringing him on board.
Having already added Jesse Chavez and J.A. Happ to the mix and re-signing Marco Estrada early in the offseason, Blue Jays interim GM Tony LaCava said the team will continue to pursue pitching upgrades, as Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports. Nicholson-Smith added that LaCava declined to comment on free agent ace David Price. It is believed that the Jays will not pursue Price and other big-name free agent starting pitchers given their November activity.
The Jays re-signed Estrada to a two-year, $26 million deal on November 13, acquired Chavez from the Athletics in exchange for reliever Liam Hendriks on November 20 and signed Happ to a three-year, $36 million deal on Friday.
Nicholson-Smith notes in a column on Sportsnet that the Jays need to address the bullpen in particular. That is especially true after swapping Hendriks, who had a career-best 2.92 ERA out of the Jays’ bullpen in 2015, for a back-end starting pitcher.
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports spoke to an anonymous baseball executive, who said that Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon is “untradeable”. The Nationals are hoping to trade both Papelbon and the man he displaced, Drew Storen.
Papelbon has a poor reputation in baseball, particularly after a dugout altercation with superstar outfielder Bryce Harper. Focusing strictly on what he does on the field, Papelbon still gets the job done. The 35-year-old finished the last season with a combined 2.13 ERA, 24 saves, and a 56/12 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings between the Phillies and Nationals.
The Nationals owe Papelbon $11 million for the 2016 season.
Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper reports that corner infielder Mike Hessman has retired from professional baseball after 20 seasons. Hessman hit 433 home runs in the minor leagues, an all-time record. He broke Buzz Arlett’s record this past August and with style as #433 was a grand slam.
Hessman, 37, was selected in the 16th round of the 1996 draft by the Braves and remained with the organization through the 2004 season. He then went to the Tigers from 2005-09, the Mets in 2010, then drifted into the Astros and Reds’ farm systems before returning to the Tigers for the last two years.
Hessman took 250 plate appearances at the major league level, batting .188/.272/.422 with 14 home runs and 33 RBI.