One of the reasons I am a bit less optimistic about the Phillies this year? Given his age, Raul Ibanez is way more likely to put up a full season of his second half production from last year than he is to put up even a half season of what he did in April and May last year. Buster Olney talks to scouts who agree:
There is a lot of buzz among scouts about what is perceived to be the
diminished bat speed of Raul Ibanez, the Phillies’ left fielder. “The good thing is that they can
hide him in that lineup,” one scout said. “He’s a smart hitter, so
he’ll guess right enough to do some damage. But he’s vulnerable now to
hard stuff inside — you should pound him with fastballs. I can’t see
them keeping him in the No. 6 spot for the whole year; [Shane] Victorino
is a better hitter.”
Worth mentioning that every scout’s answer for everything is “you should pound him with fastballs in” but I do agree that anyone banking on yet another career year from Ibanez this season is of a particularly optimistic disposition about such things.
Jon Heyman reports that the Cardinals do not plan to exercise Matt Holliday‘s $17 million option for 2017.
And, not surprisingly, will not extend him a similarly priced qualifying offer, either.
Holliday will be 37 when spring training begins and he is finishing his worst season as a major leaguer, having hit .242/.318/.450 with 19 homers over 424 plate appearances.
Injuries have not helped him — he’s missed the last six weeks with a fractured thumb — but it’s not like guys het healthier the older they get. Holliday will likely be looking at a massive pay cut for next year and a competition to make an Opening Day roster.
The Blue Jays are poised to make the playoffs for the second year in a row and are playing a critical series with the Orioles, the outcome of which will likely determine who gets to play at home for that one-and-done game next week. Big stakes! Must keep focused!
Or, alternatively, maybe it’s time to have a silly, juvenile feud with the press. Here’s Steve Buffery of the Toronto Sun, asking why the Jays are doing stuff like this while fighting for the playoffs:
Why, for example, would the leaders on the team allow someone to put up on a wall photos of two Toronto sports writers with an ‘X’ scratched on their face and the a message written on top reading, ‘Do not grant them interviews’ (or words to that effect)? . . . Things like: Someone cranking up the music just when the media arrives to conduct pre-game interviews.
Not that the Jays have been treated wonderfully by the press themselves:
There was an incident the other night when a couple of journalists tried to corral struggling closer Roberto Osuna for an interview, but he kept blowing them off. Finally, one reporter followed him right into a private part of the clubhouse and told him off.
That’s . . . not what you’re supposed to do.
Still, there is zero point to get into silly feuds with the media. If they overstep their bounds, there are a TON of Jays officials and, I suspect, newspaper editors, who will quickly and eagerly discipline the reporter. You don’t have to make wanted posters and act like children. Partially because it’s just a bad look. But also, because it leads to news stories about it like the one in the Toronto Sun.