Satire: Joe Morgan's very special advice to the Reds

Leave a comment

It took a few hours of digging, but HardballTalk has uncovered Joe Morgan’s first memo to GM Walt Jocketty issued under his new title as Special Adviser to Baseball Operations.
Apparently typed by the same person who used to handle his ESPN chats, it reads as follows:

Dearest Walter,
While our 2010 Reds are undoubtedly a fine team, I can’t help but remember how the 1975 Reds were 13-1 after 14 games. We have the game’s greatest manager in Dusty, so it’s time for you to go get us some players.
1. Trade Chris Dickerson to Mets for Gary Matthews Jr.
Matthews is a great defensive outfielder and he gets things done. Some guys seem to focus better when the game’s on the line. Dickerson just strikes out a lot.
2. Trade Drew Stubbs to Mariners for Ken Griffey Jr.
Griffey’s old man hit .330 with 25 homers for the 1975 Reds. The Kid’s still got it. Stats don’t tell you about heart, determination and mental attitude.
3. Trade Homer Bailey to the Rangers for Julio Borbon
No pitcher with the name Homer is ever going to be a winner. Why I remember when we went and picked up a pitcher named Woodie Fryman and we never won another World Series. Don’t downplay intangibles. Derek Jeter is the best example that you can get of a guy that helps you win championships with his intangibles. Now, Julio isn’t actually related to our old ace reliever Pedro Borbon, who had 45 saves for the 1975 Reds, but we don’t have to tell anyone that.
4. Trade for Alex Concepcion and Concepcion Rodriguez
I just asked Mark Simon and he told me there were two Concepcions playing in the minors right now. We need them both. Doesn’t matter who you have to give up, Walt. Follow my plan and we’re not going to have use for that Bruce fella anymore anyway.
You go ahead and get started on these and then we’ll see about getting some pitchers. I know you’re pretty much hopeless there after you missed out on Livan over the winter, but I have my eye on a few guys. I’m told Tommy Hanson will be starting on Sunday night, and he reminds me of a young Gary Nolan. I’ll do you a solid and talk him down a bit.
Joe Morgan
Hall of Famer
2 World Championships
2 MVPs
5 Gold Gloves
P.S. Russ Ortiz is available. Not every day you can acquire a 20-game winner.
P.P.S. I’d just like to congratulate my daughter for winning her gymnastics competition last weekend.
P.P.P.S. None of this is real, if that wasn’t abundantly clear already.

Erik Johnson likely to open 2016 in the White Sox rotation

DENVER, CO - APRIL 09:  Starting pitcher Erik Johnson #45 of the Chicago White Sox delivers against the Colorado Rockies during Interleague play at Coors Field on April 9, 2014 in Denver, Colorado. The Rockies defeated the White Sox 10-4.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
Leave a comment

With the White Sox losing Jeff Samardzija to free agency, Erik Johnson will likely get a shot to contribute out of the rotation to open up the 2016 season, GM Rick Hahn said in a conference call on Wednesday, per a report from’s Scott Merkin.

“As we sit here today, I think it will be an opportunity for Erik Johnson to convert on sort of the return to form he showed back in 2015 when he was International League pitcher of the year for [Triple-A] Charlotte,” Hahn said. “Obviously, he got some starts in September and continued to show the progress in Chicago he had shown in the Minor Leagues over the course of the last season.

“So if Opening Day were today, then I think Johnson is penciled in to that spot in the rotation right now. In all probability, once we get closer to spring, there will be some competition for him to earn that spot. But if we were strictly looking at today, then I would think Johnson has the inside track on filling Samardzija’s innings.”

Johnson was called up from Triple-A Charlotte in September and made six starts, allowing 14 runs (13 earned) on 32 hits and 17 walks with 30 strikeouts in 35 innings. That followed up an impressive five months in the minors where he compiled a 2.37 ERA and a 136/41 K/BB ratio across 132 2/3 innings.

Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus, and each included Johnson on their top-100 prospect lists, ranking him 63rd, 67th, and 70th, respectively. The right-hander was selected by the White Sox in the second round of the 2011 draft.

Major League Baseball will investigate Yasiel Puig for his role in Miami nightclub brawl

Yasiel Puig
AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi

It was reported on Friday afternoon that Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig was involved in a brawl at a Miami nightclub. Details were scant at the time, but he reportedly left with a bruise on his face.

Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times reports that Major League Baseball plans to investigate Puig under the league’s new domestic violence policy for his role in the brawl. Citing a report from TMZ, Hernandez notes that Puig shoved his sister, “brutally sucker-punched” the manager of the bar, and instigated the brawl.

The Dodgers and Puig’s agent have thus far refused to comment on the situation.

Rockies shortstop Jose Reyes was the first player to be investigated under the league’s new domestic violence policy earlier this month, as he allegedly assaulted his wife. Reyes has pleaded not guilty after he was charged with domestic abuse in Hawaii.

As our own Craig Calcaterra pointed out, commissioner Rob Manfred does not need to wait for Puig to plead guilty or to be found guilty to levy a punishment.

Dayan Viciedo close to signing with Japan’s Chunichi Dragons

Dayan Viciedo
AP Photo/Carlos Osorio
Leave a comment

Patrick Newman is reporting that the Chunichi Dragons of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball and outfielder Dayan Viciedo are close to an agreement on a contract. Newman notes that the Dragons are close to signing pitcher Jordan Norberto as well.

Viciedo, 26, has struggled since making his major league debut in 2010 with the White Sox, batting an aggregate .254/.298/.424 with 66 home runs and 211 RBI in 1,798 plate appearances. He spent the 2015 season with Triple-A Charlotte (White Sox) and Nashville (Athletics), hitting a composite .287/.348/.450. While Viciedo can hit the occasional home run, he hasn’t shown the ability to do much else at the big league level. Given his age, he could prove himself in Japan and parlay that into a renewed shot in the majors in the future.

The White Sox signed Viciedo out of Cuba in December 2008, agreeing to a four-year, $10 million deal. The club re-signed him to one-year deals in 2013 and ’14 for $2.8 million each and $4.4 million ahead of the 2015 season.

Blue Jays sign J.A. Happ to a three-year, $36 million contract

J.A. Happ
AP Photo/David Zalubowski

Update (8:45 PM EST): Per Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi, Happ will get $10 million in 2016 and $13 million each in 2017 and ’18.

*’s Gregor Chisholm reports that the Blue Jays have signed lefty J.A. Happ to a three-year deal worth $36 million.

Happ, 33, had a rebirth as a member of the Pirates last season after starting the season with 20 subpar starts with the Mariners. He made 11 starts for the Buccos, boasting a 1.85 ERA with a 69/13 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings.

Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported this past August that Happ’s newfound success had to do with a delivery tweak suggested by Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage. The Blue Jays are certainly hoping that adjustment is the full explanation for his success.

The Jays’ signing of Happ most likely signifies they won’t be pursuing free agent lefty David Price.

This will be Happ’s second stint with the Blue Jays. The Astros dealt him to Toronto in a July 2012 trade. He posted a 4.39 ERA with a 256/113 K/BB ratio in 291 innings with the Jays, then went to the Mariners in a trade this past December that brought outfielder Michael Saunders to the Jays.