If you’re like me, the airwaves just haven’t been the same since Steve Phillips got fired. But never fear! My corporate parent has seen to it that you’ll get your fix on Monday:
Steve Phillips, fired late last October from ESPN over an embarrassing extramarital affair with a young staffer at the network, will go public with his story for the first time Monday during a “Today” show interview with Matt Lauer.
Sources said the Phillips interview is expected to air during the early portion of the show.
I’m going to go out and a limb here and guess that the grovelling-to-informing ratio is going to be on the high side. Because really, there isn’t much for Phillips to tell here. He got busted for an inappropriate workplace relationship. Again. While the behavior of the young lady in question was rather nuts, it’s a pretty simple story from Phillips’ perspective.
So the grovelling will be really important here. Why? Employment. No, not with ESPN or in baseball or anything like that. Because really, his behavior has made him more or less unemployable either as a media personality or as someone in a position of authority in a Major League Baseball office. And that’s just because of the affair-with-an-underling stuff. If you bring his awfulness as a media personality and fecklessness as a GM into the equation, the dude is positively radioactive.
However, if he can muster some real tears for Lauer on Monday he may yet be able to parlay a book deal or a series of paid speaking engagements out of this. And if that happens, we all win, don’t we?
Jon Morosi of MLB Network said yesterday that the Detroit Tigers and Chicago Cubs have been engaged in trade talks involving starting pitcher Justin Verlander and catcher Alex Avila. Morosi also noted that the Los Angeles Dodgers have shown interest in Verlander as well. Whether this is idyl chitchatting of serious dispute is unclear, of course. Everything is unclear in the leadup to the deadline.
The veteran right-hander is carrying a 4.50 with a 120/57 K/BB ratio over 124 innings. Verlander impressed last year, finishing second in AL Cy Young Award balloting, but he has fallen back to Earth in 2017. His velocity remains high, however, and it’s not hard to imagine him going on a solid run in a way that could help a contender. He is owed $56 million over the next two seasons, however, and has a $22 million option that could vest for 2020, so negotiations for him could be tough. If the Tigers want talent back, they’ll have to eat salary.
Verlander got an ovation from a Detroit crowd last night which seemed to sense that, yes, it’s possible he pitched his last game for the Tigers. Given that he has 10/5 rights, allowing him to veto any trade, that decision is ultimately up to him. It’s not hard to imagine him accepting a trade to a contender, however.
We wait see.
The Dodgers beat the Twins last night thanks to a Cody Bellinger three-run homer. But Bellinger was not the only Dodgers rookie who had a notable game. A far more unconventional one is worth mentioning as well.
That rookie is reliever Edward Paredes, who made his big league debut last night. What makes him unconventional: he’s 30. Turns 31 in September, actually. Paredes pitched professionally for 12 years before making it to The Show. Most of that time was in the affiliated minors in the Mariners, Indians, Angels and Dodgers organizations. He spent time in the independent Atlantic League in 2013-15 as well.
Paredes did not do anything heroic last night. It was more of a right place/right time kind of appearance, retiring the side in order with a fly out, line out and a ground out and remaining the pitcher of record while Bellinger hit that three-run homer. That’s enough for a W, though. A W that Paredes waited a lot longer for than most pitchers who notch one in the bigs.