UPDATE: ESPN.com’s Buster Olney reports that Giles will earn $500,000 if he lands on the big league roster. The contract also contains another $200,000 worth of performance-based bonuses.
9:18am: According to MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick, the Dodgers have signed outfielder Brian Giles to a minor league contract.
Included in the deal is an invitation to spring training, though it’s no sure bet that Giles will crack the Dodgers’ Opening Day roster. The club already has outfielders Jason Repko, Xavier Paul and Reed Johnson headed to spring camp and Giles might just be the least valuable of the bunch. The 39-year-old left-handed swinger batted just .191/.277/.271 in 225 at-bats with the Padres last year. He was limited to 61 games due to a knee contusion and remains a major injury risk heading into the 2010 season.
Oh, and if you’re keeping score at home, Giles is also a poor defensive outfielder.
“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.