Last month it was reported that former Blue Jays’ GM J.P. Ricciardi had signed on with a talent agency, looking to get a TV gig. They did a good job, it seems, as Ricciardi was just hired by ESPN to replace Steve Phillips as their GM-in-residence on “Baseball Tonight.”
I thought ESPN’s baseball coverage hit a low point when they had Phillips pretend to be a real GM and answer Buster Olney’s questions in a phony press conference five years ago. With Ricciardi on the team, however, they can sink even further if they try. How? They can set him up in a phony press conference and have him lie to the phony reporter!
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Brewers “floated” an extension offer around $20 million to infielder Jonathan Villar, but the 25-year-old turned it down.
Villar broke out last season, batting .285/.369/.457 with 19 home runs, 63 RBI, 92 runs scored, and a major league best 62 stolen bases. He also spent some time at third base and second base in the second half after shortstop prospect Orlando Arcia was promoted to the big leagues.
Villar will become eligible for salary arbitration after the 2017 season and can become a free agent after the 2020 season.
Veteran hurler Jake Peavy has not signed with a team. It’s not because he’s not still capable of being a useful pitcher — he’s well-regarded and someone would likely take a late-career chance on him — and it’s not because he no longer wishes to play. Rather, it’s because a bunch of bad things have happened in his personal life lately.
As Jerry Crasnick of ESPN reports, last year Peavy lost millions in an investment scam and spent much of the 2016 season distracted, dealing with investigations and depositions and all of the awfulness that accompanied it. Then, when the season ended, Peavy went home and was greeted with divorce papers. He has spent the offseason trying to find a new normal for himself and for his four sons.
Pitching is taking a backseat now, but Peavy plans to pitch again. Here’s hoping that things get sorted to the point where he can carry through with those plans.