It’s been eleven months since Bud Selig announced that the Athletics’ future would be decided by a committee. Specifically, a committee that would determine whether Oakland remained viable, whether San Jose would be better and what in the world to do about the fact that the Giants claim Santa Clara County as their territory. That committee is expected to complete its work this week and issue it’s report to the Budster. Monte Poole of the Mercury-News thinks its conclusions were forgone:
In the 11 months that have
passed since Selig convened a committee to examine future prospects for
a ballpark in Oakland, Wolff has been about as patient as his
superficial exasperation will allow. He wants it known that he doesn’t
understand why it’s taken so long for his college fraternity brother to
abide by a basic fraternal oath: Thou shall always find a way to “hook
up” his frat brother — even if the Giants claim territorial rights.
it takes time for the commish to pull this off without making it look
as if the plot was hatched years ago, in the private room of a
steakhouse, sealed with the secret frat bro handshake.
Poole goes on to note that Selig has long been on record of (a) helping Wolff; and (b) dissing Oakland, so it’s not like Wolff isn’t going to ultimately get what he wants here.
Of course, if it was that simple this would have been done months ago. The fact that the City of San Francisco and the Giants have grown increasingly vocal about their claims to San Jose complicates things, and it would not surprise me at all if the bulk of the commission’s time has been spent trying to figure out the best way to buy them off as opposed to looking at surveys of ballpark sites in Oakland and San Jose.
Ultimately I think this gets done. It makes too much sense for Oakland to be in San Jose, the non-Giant owners probably agree, and ultimately the Giants — like the Orioles before them — will get some kind of payoff to agree to a the move.
Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports that the Tigers are in discussions with free agent starter Jordan Zimmermann. His sources have told him that the talks have become “serious”.
Zimmermann, 29, has a career 3.32 ERA across parts of seven seasons in the majors. He finished fifth in National League Cy Young Award balloting in 2014, finishing with a 2.66 ERA and a 182/29 K/BB ratio over 199 2/3 innings.
Among starters who have amassed at least 1,000 innings since 2009, only Cliff Lee, Dan Haren, Madison Bumgarner, and Zack Greinke have compiled a better strikeout-to-walk ratio than Zimmermann’s 4.09. While he doesn’t have the star power of other free agents such as Greinke or David Price, the Tigers would certainly improve their rotation by bringing him on board.
Having already added Jesse Chavez and J.A. Happ to the mix and re-signing Marco Estrada early in the offseason, Blue Jays interim GM Tony LaCava said the team will continue to pursue pitching upgrades, as Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports. Nicholson-Smith added that LaCava declined to comment on free agent ace David Price. It is believed that the Jays will not pursue Price and other big-name free agent starting pitchers given their November activity.
The Jays re-signed Estrada to a two-year, $26 million deal on November 13, acquired Chavez from the Athletics in exchange for reliever Liam Hendriks on November 20 and signed Happ to a three-year, $36 million deal on Friday.
Nicholson-Smith notes in a column on Sportsnet that the Jays need to address the bullpen in particular. That is especially true after swapping Hendriks, who had a career-best 2.92 ERA out of the Jays’ bullpen in 2015, for a back-end starting pitcher.
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports spoke to an anonymous baseball executive, who said that Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon is “untradeable”. The Nationals are hoping to trade both Papelbon and the man he displaced, Drew Storen.
Papelbon has a poor reputation in baseball, particularly after a dugout altercation with superstar outfielder Bryce Harper. Focusing strictly on what he does on the field, Papelbon still gets the job done. The 35-year-old finished the last season with a combined 2.13 ERA, 24 saves, and a 56/12 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings between the Phillies and Nationals.
The Nationals owe Papelbon $11 million for the 2016 season.
Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper reports that corner infielder Mike Hessman has retired from professional baseball after 20 seasons. Hessman hit 433 home runs in the minor leagues, an all-time record. He broke Buzz Arlett’s record this past August and with style as #433 was a grand slam.
Hessman, 37, was selected in the 16th round of the 1996 draft by the Braves and remained with the organization through the 2004 season. He then went to the Tigers from 2005-09, the Mets in 2010, then drifted into the Astros and Reds’ farm systems before returning to the Tigers for the last two years.
Hessman took 250 plate appearances at the major league level, batting .188/.272/.422 with 14 home runs and 33 RBI.