Remember that guy who left your office last year, and when they went and cleaned out his office they found all those files he’d been screwing up for the past couple of years without anyone really knowing it? Yeah, the Mets had one of those dudes:
Sources say [Tony] Bernazard, who oversaw minor-league development, was so
insistent on players hitting the ball to the opposite field that minor
leaguers were scolded for pulling the ball, sometimes even when they
got a hit . . . The intentions were good but the methods were extreme. In spring
training players took 80 swings a day against curve balls from a
pitching machine, hitting the ball the other way. The drills, which
continued at a modified number during the season, were emphasized to
the point that players eventually thought they were silly, and perhaps
There could be some value in emphasizing opposite field hitting — Jeff Francoeur notes in the article that it may have helped him, which makes some sense for a guy who tries to jump on every pitch — but a one-size fits all approach to hitting is moronic. Do you really want to turn David Wright into a slap hitter? How much of his problems last year were the result of those 80 opposite-field swings a day?
Between this and all the other stuff he did after his buddy Omar Minaya hired him, Bernazard stands as the best argument there is against giving jobs to your friends simply because they’re your friends.
The Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on starting pitcher Sonny Gray, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The Astros have added Charlie Morton this offseason, but the club has been trying to add a big-name starting pitcher to put at the top of the rotation behind Dallas Keuchel.
Gray, 27, was limited to 22 starts in the 2016 season due to a forearm issue. His stats left a lot to be desired, as he finished with a 5-11 record, a 5.69 ERA, and a 94/42 K/BB ratio over 117 innings. Considering how Gray pitched in the previous three years, he’s a good bet to bounce back.
Gray is under team control through 2019, which is a big draw for the Astros. Needless to say, the Athletics would want a haul in terms of prospects. Gray will earn $3.575 million in 2017, having avoided arbitration in his first year of eligibility.
As we noted last week, The Chicago Cubs took the unusual step of not waiting until the summer after winning the World Series to make their customary White House visit to meet the president. They did it today, seeing President Obama a few short days before he leaves office.
Despite the fact that Obama is a White Sox fan, he met the Cubs with diplomacy and grace. It’s almost as if he’s been in that business for the past eight years. In return, he was given some gifts by the Cubs: Theo Epstein presented Obama with a No. 44 Cubs jersey, a tile from the center field scoreboard at Wrigley Field, and a lifetime pass to Wrigley as well.
Obama is staying in D.C. after he leaves office this week, hanging around so his daughter can finish high school in the same place she started. Even so, he’s likely going to be back to Chicago a good bit over the rest of his life, so he’ll likely be able to put the free pass to work. Assuming it comes with, like, six companion passes for his Secret Service detail.