I rip Jeff Francoeur because I want him to succeed

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At least that’s the story I’m going with after reading this piece about Kevin Kouzmanoff:

And when he was in the Indians’ system, at Triple-A Buffalo, someone
told him he was a bad fielder. Well, he wasn’t told, exactly.

“I read an article that said how poor my defense was,” he said. “I
sort of took that to heart. My footwork wasn’t good, and I had stiff
hands.”

His solution to both problems? “Reps.”

“I just started working on it, and I kept at it until I got better,”
he said. “I don’t remember the guy’s name, but a shout out to whomever
wrote that.”

And you thought writers didn’t add anything to the party.

Snark aside, it’s a pretty nice writeup on Kouzmanoff, who sounds like a ballplayer who takes his craft seriously.

Report: Mariners acquire Chris Heston from the Giants

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Jon Morosi of MLB Network and FOX Sports reports that the Mariners have acquired starter Chris Heston from the Giants. The Giants will receive a player to be named later, per Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports.

Heston, 28, logged only five innings in the majors this past season as he battled an oblique injury and otherwise spent most of his time with Triple-A Sacramento. Heston was solid out of the Giants’ rotation in 2015, posting a 3.95 ERA with a 141/64 K/BB ratio in 177 2/3 innings over 31 starts.

Heston will be under team control through 2021. He’ll provide depth for the Mariners’ rotation in the meantime.

Joe Nathan wants to pitch in 2017

DETROIT, MI - AUGUST 16: Joe Nathan #36 of the Detroit Tigers pitches in the ninth inning of the game against the Seattle Mariners at Comerica Park on August 16, 2014 in Detroit, Michigan. The Tigers defeated the Mariners 4-2.  (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Leon Halip/Getty Images
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Joe Nathan‘s agent, David Pepe, says his client wants to pitch in 2017, per ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick. “He’s like the Energizer Bunny,” Pepe said.

Nathan, 42, came back from Tommy John surgery in July, pitching two scoreless innings for the Cubs with four strikeouts and two walks. The Cubs released him and the Giants picked him up, and Nathan went on to pitch 4 1/3 scoreless innings down the stretch with five strikeouts and two walks.

According to FanGraphs, Nathan’s velocity wasn’t where it used to be, which is to be expected of a pitcher in his 40’s coming back from major elbow surgery. Still, with teams always on the hunt for bullpen depth, it would be shocking if Nathan didn’t get any bites before spring training starts.