Buster Olney tweeted something really interesting a few minutes ago:
Heard this: The
Giants might wind up sending as few as one member of their front office
to the Lincecum hearing. The heavy lifting on management’s side of the case will be done by MLB, and not the Giants.
This follows up on the news that union head Michael Weiner will be at the arbitration as well.
In light of all that this proceeding seems less like a dispute about the value of Tim Lincecum’s services to the Giants and more like a proxy war with the union and MLB playing the role of the Soviets and the U.S. — take your pick as to who’s who — and Lincecum and the Giants playing the role of some rightest regime and leftist insurgency. It’s more about politics than it is about the conditions on the ground.
Which is understandable, I suppose. Major League Baseball obviously wants to do everything it can to keep
a high-salary precedent from being set and the union obviously wants a new
high-salary bogey benchmark. In light of that I assume that all of five minutes will be spent on Lincecum’s stats with the rest of it being spent in intellectual debate as to what, in an ideal world, the best arbitration-eligible player should make.
Which may be fun — livin’ on an abstract plain can be fun — but I can’t help but think that the arbitration process was designed to avoid these sorts of political disputes and, rather, to provide a streamlined mechanism for Player A and Team B to agree on a salary without all the drama.
According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Nationals infielder Danny Espinosa declined to attend the team’s annual Winterfest because of his dissatisfaction with management following their trade for outfielder Adam Eaton.
A source told Castillo that Espinosa’s unhappiness stemmed from a belief that the acquisition would jeopardize his starting role in 2017. With Eaton in center field, Trea Turner will likely return to his post at shortstop, leaving Espinosa out in the cold — or, as the case may be, on the bench. The move shouldn’t come as a big surprise to Espinosa, however, as Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo spoke to the possibility of trading the infielder or reassigning him to a utility role back in early November.
Offensively, the 29-year-old had a down year in 2016, slashing just .209/.306/.378 with 24 home runs in 601 PA. Defensively, he still profiles among the top shortstops in the National League, with eight DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) and 8.3 Def (Defensive Runs Above Average) in his seventh year with the club.
Espinosa will reach free agency after the 2017 season.
The Red Sox might be trying to move the wrong pitcher, according to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo. Cafardo revealed that while the Sox have been trying to market right-hander Clay Buchholz, more teams would be interested in trades involving southpaw Drew Pomeranz.
The club appears reluctant to deal Pomeranz, especially because his price tag comes in at a cool $4.7 million to Buchholz’s $13.5 million in 2017. Those who have already expressed interest in the veteran hurlers, including the Twins, Mariners and Royals, also seem put off by Buchholz’s salary requirements as he enters his 32nd year.
Health could be another factor preventing teams from jumping to make trade offers, as Cafardo quotes an AL executive who believes the “medicals on both Pomeranz and Buchholz probably aren’t that great.” Neither pitcher suffered any major injuries during the 2016 season, though Pomeranz missed just over a week of play due to forearm soreness.
Pomeranz outperformed his fellow starter in 2016, pitching to a 3.32 ERA and career-best 9.8 K/9 through 170 2/3 innings with the Padres and Red Sox. He got off to an exceptionally strong start in San Diego, where his ERA dropped to 2.47 through the first half of the year before the Padres dealt him to Boston for minor league right-hander Anderson Espinoza. Buchholz, on the other hand, struggled with a 4.78 ERA and saw a decline in both his BB/9 and K/9 rates as he worked out a career-low 1.69 K/BB through 139 1/3 innings with the Sox.