I mentioned a long time ago that I was participating in a simulation league for media guys. The game: Rob Neyer Baseball. It’s a historical league based on the Diamond Mind platform, and I am owner/general manager/manager of the Matewan Massacre. Other owners include Neyer himself, Jonah Keri, ESPN Boston’s Gordon Edes, Baseball Prospectus’ Rany Jazayerli, Josh Wilker of Cardboard Gods fame, FanGraphs’ Carson Cistulli and many others. It’s been a load of fun, but the season is almost over.
I’ve done well: I beat Mr. Neyer’s very own team to advance to the World Series, but
make no mistake about it: I’m an underdog against Jazayerli’s team, The Process, which finished the year with the best record in the league. He’s up 1-0 after a gem by his ace, Brett Saberhagen, and probably has a better top-to-bottom club than I do, but I have not yet given up.
The Massacre won its division with an 88-74 record, powered by an MVP season by Barry Bonds (.299/.421/.585 43 HR, 124 RBI in what turned out to be a really low-offense league). Don’t look at me that way; the Massacre does not have a morals clause in its player contracts. Heck, my backup shortstop is former Chicago Black Sox Swede Risberg for cryin’ out loud. My rotation — which surprisingly became a strength as the season wore on — is populated by several fat, alcoholic 1940s and 50s pitchers. The closest thing I have to model citizens on the team are Luis Sojo and Clint Hurdle, but they were bench warmers all year. We’re all about winning in Matewan.
Game 2 of the World Series will take place later today, with three games tomorrow and the final two on Saturday if necessary. I’ll let you know how my fellas do. If they win, Katie bar the door, because they know how to celebrate right-proper down in Matewan.
Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle shares the bad news …
One of the Astros’ big bats won’t be taking hacks when the Astros hold their first full workout on Feb. 23.
Astros designated hitter Evan Gattis recently underwent surgery to repair a hernia, the Chronicle has learned, taking away most of his spring training at a minimum. The recovery is four to six weeks but fortunately for Gattis and the Astros, the injury is not considered severe.
Gattis was working hard on his overall conditioning this winter, even telling MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart in late January that he had already dropped 18 pounds. It sounds like the big slugger might have gone a bit overboard with those workouts, and now he is in real danger of missing the first couple weeks of the 2016 regular season.
Gattis batted .246/.285/.463 with 27 home runs and 88 RBI in 153 games last season for the Astros. The 29-year-old is arbitration-eligible for the first time in his career and has a hearing with the Astros scheduled for February 16 to determine his salary for 2016. He requested $3.8 million and was offered $3 million when figures were exchanged a little over three weeks ago.
Suddenly the Astros’ front office might have a new talking point for those arbitrators.
At last check, new Cardinals reliever Seung-Hwan Oh was still awaiting a work visa from the United States Embassy in South Korea and there was some worry that he might not be able to arrive on time to spring training in Jupiter, Florida.
But that is now officially a non-story.
Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Oh has recieved his work visa and is expected to report to Cardinals camp next week along with the rest of the club’s pitchers and catchers. Oh might even show up a bit earlier than the Cardinals originally asked him to, per Goold.
Oh saved 357 games in 11 seasons between Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball and the Korea Baseball Organization before inking a one-year contract with St. Louis this winter. He also registered a stellar 1.81 ERA and 772 strikeouts across 646 total innings in Asia, earning the nickname “The Final Boss.”
Oh is expected to work in a setup role this year for Cardinals closer Trevor Rosenthal.
John Lamb was part of the Reds’ return package in last July’s Johnny Cueto trade and he had a strong showing at the Triple-A level in 2015. But the young left-hander posted a 5.80 ERA in a 10-start cup of coffee with Cincinnati late last season — his first 10 appearances as a major leaguer — and now comes word from MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon that Lamb will probably have to get off to a late start in 2016.
Lamb underwent surgery in December to repair a herniated disc in his back — a surgery that went unreported by the Reds until Tuesday afternoon. Reds manager Bryan Price acknowledged on MLB Network that Lamb is behind the team’s other starting pitchers and will likely open the coming season on the disabled list. The hope is that he might be ready by mid-April.
It’s a small but frustrating blow for a rebuilding Reds team that will be looking to establish some foundational pieces in 2016. Once he is recovered, Lamb will be expected to fill the Reds’ fifth rotation spot behind Raisel Iglesias, Anthony DeSclafani, Brandon Finnegan, and Michael Lorenzen.
This is going to be an ugly year for Cincinnati baseball fans.
Rangers ace Yu Darvish missed the entire 2015 season after undergoing Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery last March 17. Most starting pitchers take 13-15 months to fully recover from that procedure, and the Rangers aren’t counting on Darvish until sometime this May.
His rehab so far has gone on without issue.
Darvish offered some very positive updates Tuesday to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram …
Darvish, 29, boasts a 3.27 ERA and 1.196 WHIP in 83 career major league starts. He can also claim a whopping 680 strikeouts in 545 1/3 career major league innings.
Texas has him under contract for $10 million in 2016 and $11 million in 2017.