I agree with Craig that signing Chan Ho Park for just $1.2 million is a very good deal for the Yankees. He has a 3.29 ERA and 101/44 K/BB ratio in 120 innings as a reliever over the past two seasons and at the very least can be a good second-tier setup man behind either Phil Hughes or Joba Chamberlain.
Park was available at such a discount because earlier this offseason he turned down a one-year deal worth $3.25 million to re-sign with the Phillies, who then used that money on Danys Baez instead. Once returning to Philadelphia was no longer an option Park was apparently left to choose between lesser offers from the Cubs and Nationals, until his asking price dropped enough that the Yankees swooped in. Here’s Park to explain his decision:
I was deliberating on the Cubs and the Yankees, but their history and championship contention resulted in me picking the Yankees. Until last night, I was leaning toward the Cubs. I wanted to play for a champion-caliber team this year again. I am not certain how much longer I will play baseball, but it will be huge experience and memory to play with the Yankees.
Park has earned approximately $85 million in salary during his 16-season career, so the Nationals probably never had a chance.
The Kansas City Star has covered the death of Yordano Ventura and its aftermath in a thorough, thoughtful, respectful and admirable fashion and it has all been compelling to read, even if it’s often been difficult to read. Their latest story may be the most difficult, though it is nonetheless essential.
It covers the final year of Ventura’s life which, sadly, was tumultuous. He had become estranged from his family. He was married to a woman who, at the time of the ceremony, was still married to her first husband and whose family, allegedly, later made threats against Ventura that we’re only now learning about. This includes allegations of armed men accosting Ventura at his home near the Royals spring training facility a year ago. An incident which led to him missing time due to “flulike symptoms,” but which, in reality, caused him considerable mental distress. He was again threatened, it is claimed, in Kansas City during the season. There is also an allegation that Ventura attempted suicide via an overdose of Benadryl, though that is disputed.
Beyond that, there is an arc to the end of Ventura’s life which sounds unfortunately familiar. It’s a story of a young man whose life changed dramatically in a very, very short period of time and who struggled at times to process the changes. Were it not for a fateful drive on a dark and winding road one night in late January, they all could’ve been things that, as his career matured, he could look back on as learning experiences. Now that he’s gone, however, they form the final, tragic chapter.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Royals and first baseman Eric Hosmer have discussed a long-term contract extension. However, Hosmer also indicated that he will head into free agency if a deal is not consummated by Opening Day.
Hosmer, 27, avoided arbitration with the Royals last month, agreeing to a $12.25 million salary for the 2017 season. He is one of four key Royals players who can become a free agent after the season along with Mike Moustakas, Alcides Escobar, and Lorenzo Cain. If Hosmer does reach free agency, he would arguably be the top free agent first baseman.
Hosmer finished the past season hitting .266/.328/.433 with 25 home runs and 104 RBI while making his first All-Star team.