Litigation over a falling fat guy at Shea Stadium enters year four

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The New York Post reports today
on a lawsuit filed against the Mets by a woman named Ellen Massey who,
in 2007 was more or less crushed by a fat guy who came hurtling out of
his seat in her direction, breaking her vertebrae. Massey says the fat
guy was drunk. The fat guy said he was pushed. No word on whether Roger
McDowell has been subpoenaed yet.

My interest in this case is more one of personal blogging history, as it led to one of my first blog posts over at ShysterBall back in May of 2007
when it first arose.  My take on it then echoes the rule we were taught
over and over in law school:  if you’re going to sue a ballclub and the
beer vendor for overserving a fat guy who later falls on you and breaks
your back, you’d better be able to prove he wasn’t fit to be served in
the first place. It’s hornbook law, as they say.

By all accounts, Ms. Massey didn’t identify the falling fatty until
well after the event (back in 2007 it was still a John Doe complaint)
and if she didn’t know who he was at the time, I have no idea who she’s
supposed to establish that he was drunk and overserved at the time. And
that’s really the only basis for the Mets to have liability here.  I
mean sure, the fat guy or his shovey friend could get sued
individually, but they’re not big and rich like the Mets are, so why
would any self-respecting plaintiff’s lawyers sue them?

But I think the best thing about the Post story is the way they portray one
of the Mets’ defenses — a boilerplate contributory negligence
allegation — as the kind of thing only a souless and heartless
victim-blaming monster could concoct. It’s a standard defense guys.
Lighten up, smarten up or stick to the wedding announcement business.

(thanks to Jason at IIATMS for the heads up)

Astros sign Carlos Beltran to one-year, $16 million deal

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 9: Carlos Beltran #36 of the Texas Rangers hits an RBI against the Toronto Blue Jays in the first inning during game three of the American League Division Series at Rogers Centre on October 9, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
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The Astros have reportedly agreed to terms with free agent DH/outfielder Carlos Beltran for a one-year, $16 million contract, per ESPN’s Buster Olney. The deal includes a complete no-trade clause, according to a report from Bob Nightengale of USA Today.

Beltran elected to return to the Astros after fielding offers from the Yankees, Blue Jays, and Red Sox. He appeared in Houston during the second half of 2004, batting .258/.368/.559 with 23 home runs in 399 PA and making his first postseason run to the tune of a .435 average and eight homers as the Astros battled their way through to a seven-game loss in the Championship Series. Beltran also played with Houston manager A.J. Hinch and bench coach Alex Cora in separate stints with the Royals and Mets, which the Houston Chronicle’s Jake Kaplan cited as possible influences in the Astros’ decision to pursue the free agent.

In 2016, Beltran split the season between the Yankees and Rangers after getting dealt at the deadline for a package of right-handed pitching prospects. He was stationed in right field for the majority of his time in New York, but was almost exclusively utilized as a designated hitter over 52 games in Texas. Between the two clubs, he batted an impressive .295/.337/.513 with 29 homers and earned his ninth career All-Star designation to boot.

The veteran slugger is expected to fill a similar role on the Astros, who need a full-time DH but could use some additional support in the outfield corner. Olney envisions a lineup with Beltran in the five-spot, per an earlier report:

Rays and Braves reportedly interested in Welington Castillo

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 27: Welington Castillo #7 of the Arizona Diamondbacks hits an RBI double in the third inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on September 27, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Matt Hazlett/Getty Images)
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Catcher Welington Castillo was non-tendered by the Diamondbacks on Friday, making him one of 35 additional players to enter the free agent pool. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reported that Castillo was drawing interest from the Rays, among a bevy of major league clubs, and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s David O’Brien added that the Braves have “some interest” as well.

The Rays’ trifecta of catchers — Curt Casali, Luke Maile, and Bobby Wilson — did little to inspire confidence behind the plate in 2016, and with top free agent Wilson Ramos sidelined after suffering a torn ACL in September, it makes sense that they’d explore more affordable options. Castillo profiled well at the plate during his first full season with the Diamondbacks, slashing .264/.322/.423 with 14 home runs in 457 PA. Behind the dish, he placed third among all qualified major league catchers with seven DRS (Defensive Runs Saved), though his league-leading 10 passed balls weren’t anything to write home about.

Unlike the Rays, the Braves have a serviceable catching platoon in Tyler Flowers and Anthony Recker. Beyond that, their catching depth is fairly shallow despite the recent addition of former Mariners’ outfield prospect Alex Jackson. Jackson, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Mark Bradley, has not played behind the plate since high school, though GM John Coppolella is reportedly interested in trying him there again. A.J. Pierzynski is also rumored to be seeking a deal elsewhere in free agency, which could open the door for a multi-year deal with Castillo.