$100 million over five years will not lock up Prince Fielder

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prince fielder hr celebration.jpgThere are no offers on the table and no negotiations afoot — hell, Prince Fielder isn’t even eligible for free agency until the 2011 season is complete — but the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Gary Howard is daydreaming about the Brewers locking him up all the same, building up to this:

So I figure a sweet, five-year, $100 million offer (even you can’t
afford seven, like his agent, Scott “Pay Me!” Boras, would prefer) with
incentives might, just might, get ‘er done. He’s not the “I” in team,
no; he’s just the T, the E, the A and the M . . . It’s just that – without any inside dope on his intentions – I
feel he would take a five-year deal at $20 million per to see what he
could do with the Brewers. Every great baseball player wants to be the
straw. And by anyone’s standards, Prince is just that for this Crew but
maybe not for another club, incentive enough to re-sign with Milwaukee.

I like the optimism, but the odds of the Scott Boras-repped Prince Fielder accepting a $100 million deal two years before he reaches the market is absurd.  He’ll be 27 when he reaches free agency.  The last under-30, Scott Boras free agent first baseman — a fellow by the name of Mark Teixeira — got $180 million.  Sure, Teixeira is the better defender and may age better than the stout young man in Milwaukee, but you can bet your life on the fact that $180 million will be Fielder’s starting point.

Will he get that? Heck, I don’t know, but I think the odds of it happening are greater than the odds of him even responding to a $100 million offer at this early date.

Royals pay tribute to late Yordano Ventura during spring training opener

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 12: Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals delivers a pitch against the Minnesota Twins during the first inning of the game on August 12, 2016 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
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The Royals honored former pitcher Yordano Ventura prior to their first Cactus League game against the Rangers on Saturday. Ventura was killed in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic in late January.

Rangers’ third baseman Adrian Beltre and center fielder Carlos Gomez paid their respects to the pitcher with a floral arrangement that was laid on the mound. Both teams stood along the foul lines during a pregame video tribute that highlighted Ventura’s tenure with Kansas City. Following the game, Gomez spoke to the media about his relationship with Ventura, describing their frequent conversations during the season and commending the pitcher for having “the same passion that I had early in my career” (via WFAA.com’s Levi Weaver).

A plaque dedicated to the 25-year-old was also presented to club manager Ned Yost as a more permanent commemoration of Ventura’s contributions to the sport. Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star reports that the plaque will be mounted in the club’s spring training facilities alongside tributes to members of the Royals’ 2014 and 2015 playoff teams.

The full text of the plaque is below, via MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan:

A brother and a teammate, Yordano Ventura, passed away on the morning of January 22 in his native Dominican Republic, at the age of 25. He signed with the Royals as a 17-year-old, eventually making the big league team in 2013 as a 22-year-old. On most days, he could be found laughing and joking with his baseball family in the clubhouse. However, on days when he pitched, that smile was replaced by a quiet confidence and an intense fire, which he brought to the mound for every start. He had many highlights in his abbreviated career, not the least of which was throwing eight shutout innings in Game #6 of the 2014 World Series to force a Game #7 vs. San Francisco.

Gerrit Cole named Pirates’ Opening Day starter

BRADENTON, FL - FEBRUARY 19: Gerrit Cole #45 of the Pittsburgh Pirates poses for a photograph during MLB spring training photo day on February 19, 2017 at Pirate City in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
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Right-hander Gerrit Cole is set to take the mound for the Pirates on Opening Day, according to a team announcement on Saturday. It’s a spot that was most recently occupied by former Pirate Francisco Liriano, who made three consecutive Opening Day starts for the club before getting dealt to the Blue Jays last August.

The 26-year-old produced career-worst numbers during his fourth run with the Pirates in 2016, due in large part to bouts of inflammation in his right elbow. He finished the year with a 3.88 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 116 innings before getting shut down in September to avoid further injury to his elbow. When healthy, however, Cole has been lights-out for the Pirates. Prior to his injury-laden campaign last year, he touted a career 3.07 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 8.5 SO/9 and cumulative 10.2 fWAR from 2013 through 2015.

Cole will go toe-to-toe with the Red Sox during Boston’s home opener on Monday, April 3. Right-hander Jameson Taillon is scheduled to make the second start of the year, while fellow righty Ivan Nova will cover the Pirates’ home opener against the Braves on April 7. The Pirates’ third and fifth starters have yet to be announced.