Mets owner Fred Wilpon spoke with the media during the first day of workouts for pitchers and catchers, calling the recent offseason “torture.” I’m sure a lot of this emotion had to do with the strife surrounding the dispute with Carlos Beltran, but he also sympathizes with fans who are understandably frustrated that the team failed to land a single starting pitcher:
“I understand from the fan’s point of view because I am one myself and
I’m very, very sensitive to what their feelings are and I understand
some of it,” Wilpon said. “I think that we have to be guided by our
baseball people and our baseball people evaluated for example some of
our pitchers as good or better than what was on the market, our
baseball (people) evaluated other positions and we went by what they did. Jeff
followed them. Jeff and I don’t pick the baseball players. So that’s
what they wanted to do. They think that the guys we have will prove to
be better guys than some of the guys we would have gotten.”
Of course, a recent piece by Ken Rosenthal begs to differ. Wilpon also insisted that Bernie Madoff did not have any impact on the team’s operations (never mind that the team’s payroll actually went down this winter) and that he intends to keep the franchise under family control “for generations.” Does that kill anyone else’s buzz?
Leonys Martin, outfielder for the Seattle Mariners, testified yesterday that he feared for his life after he was smuggled from Cuba by a group of men prosecutors say worked for a sports agent and a baseball trainer currently on trial for human trafficking in Miami.
Martin took the stand at the trial of Bartolo Hernandez and Julio Estrada, who face felony charges. He said that, after getting to Mexico from Cuba, men threatened to take him away. There was a kidnapping attempt against one of the men who had taken him from Cuba as well. Martin said that, eventually, he crossed the U.S.-Mexico border into Texas without any valid papers because his life was in danger and his safety was at risk.
Players like Martin who fled Cuba often hole up in Mexico while waiting to be declared free agents by Major League Baseball. There is pitched competition to sign agreements with the players in question, seeking to obtain promises of a cut of future baseball earnings for their services. Those promises can come under the threat of violence. Eventually, Martin promised to pay Hernandez and Estrada, but ceased paying them later, fomenting a lawsuit from them. In the wake of the suit, the allegations of threats and smuggling arose, leading to this trial.
Martin has been late to Mariners camp as a result of having to testify. He’ll likely report in the next day or so. The trial continues.
Josh Hamilton was already a long shot to make the Texas Rangers roster, but his shot got even longer today, as he left camp to have his reconstructed left knee examined after experiencing pain.
As Jeff Wilson reports, Hamilton felt discomfort in the knee during the Rangers’ first full-squad spring training workout yesterday. Hamilton has had 10 knee operations in career. Which is a lot of knee operations in case you were unaware.
You have to wish good luck to Hamilton, but at the same time you have to be realistic. The guy has not played in the major leagues since 2015 and even then he didn’t play well, hitting .253 with eight home runs and 25 RBIs in 50 games. He appeared in one game last year for Double-A Frisco, on April 30. He’ll be paid $24 million this year, mostly by the Angels. One suspects that this will likewise be his last spring training.