Yankees send Rule 5 pick Jamie Hoffmann back to Dodgers … for now

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Back in December the Nationals selected Dodgers minor leaguer Jamie Hoffmann with the first pick in the Rule 5 draft and then sent him to the Yankees in a pre-arranged deal for Brian Bruney.
Hoffmann was thought to be a near-lock for a spot on New York’s bench, but apparently the Yankees decided against keeping him on the 25-man roster all season (per the Rule 5 … well, rules) and sent him back to the Dodgers this afternoon.
Hoffmann had to clear waivers before becoming Los Angeles’ property again, which means no other teams were willing to keep him in the majors all season. However, according to Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News the Yankees may be trying to work out a second deal for Hoffmann outside of the Rule 5 parameters that would allow them to send him to Triple-A.
Feinsand notes “whispers in recent weeks about the Yankees sending either Chad Gaudin or Sergio Mitre to Los Angeles for Hoffmann.” Not a bad deal for the Dodgers, who essentially gave up Hoffmann for nothing by failing to protect him with a 40-man roster spot just a few months ago. Meanwhile, it looks more and more likely that the Yankees’ final bench spot will go to veteran Marcus Thames, who could end up paired with Brett Gardner as a platoon starter against left-handed pitching.

James McCann is in The Best Shape of His Life

Detroit Tigers catcher James McCann blows a bubble while warming up during a spring training baseball workout, Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016, in Lakeland, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
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As I note every spring, “Best Shape of His Life” stories aren’t really about players being in The Best Shape of Their Lives. They’re about players and agents seeking to create positive stories.

We know this because the vast majority of Best Shape of His Life claims are about guys who were either injured the season before, guys who had subpar years the season before or players whose conditioning was a point of controversy the season before. These folks, or their agents + reporters who have little if nothing to write about in the offseason = BSOHL.

James McCann hurt his ankle last season and had a subpar year at the plate. So not only is he a perfect BSOHL candidate, he went old school with the claim and hit it right on the money, verbatim:

Spring training is less than a month away, folks!

Bo Jackson is not gonna change kids’ minds

1989:  Bo Jackson #16 of the Kansas City Royals practices his swing as he prepares to bat during a game in the 1989 season.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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Last week Bo Jackson said that, if he had it to do all over again, he would have never played professional football and that he would never let his kids play. The sport is too violent, he said. “I’d tell them, ‘Play baseball, basketball, soccer, golf, just anything but football.’”

Fair enough. Thom Loverro of the Washington Times, however, thinks that Bo could do more than simply give his opinion on the matter. He thinks Bo should become an official ambassador for Major League Baseball:

Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred, pick up the phone right now and call Bo Jackson. Tell him you have a job for him — vice president of something, whatever you would call the man in charge of converting a generation of young athletes to baseball. And pay him what he wants.

You won’t find a better symbol of the differences between the two sports than Bo Jackson. After all, he was an All-Star in both. Bo knows football. Bo knows baseball.

Bo, tell the children — baseball over football.

The Children: “Who is Bo Jackson?”

Yeah, I’m being a bit flip here, but dude: Jackson is 54 years-old. He last played baseball 23 years ago. I’d personally run through a wall for Bo Jackson, but I’m 43. I was 12 when he won the Heisman trophy. While he may loom large to middle aged sports writers, a teenager contemplating what sport to play is not going to listen to someone a decade or more older than his parents.

This isn’t terribly important in the grand scheme of things, but it’s indicative of how most columnists process the world through their own experiences and assume they apply universally. It’s probably the biggest trap most sports opinion folks fall into.