After over a year of working on this blog I thought I have pretty much figured out what to expect when it comes to certain subjects. Yankees-Red Sox stuff? Oh, so predictable. Steroids threads? I can chart out how the comments are going to go with those like I was Hari Seldon with a TI-84 calculator. The Phillies fan insecurity-fests are a much newer phenomenon, but I’m even starting to grok those pretty well too.
But I gotta tell ya, I’ve been rather surprised at how the comments in the Ken Griffey Jr. thread are going so far today. If you would have asked me how I thought it would have gone before I posted it, I would have figured that about 95% of the comments would be of the “he needs to hang it up and give his job to someone who cares” variety, with a smattering of “he was so good once, sad to see him go” offerings.
Imagine my surprise when I was met with a great number of comments wondering if he had a thyroid problem or some other medical condition or otherwise trying to rationalize or explain away the fact that he was snoozing during a ballgame. What happened to all of the “he’s paid top play a kids game!” comments? Where is all the outrage we typically see when A-Rod does something less than godly? Man, if A-Rod had fallen asleep in the clubhouse he’d probably need to be under police protection right now.
All of which brings us to our comment of the day. It was really the most baffling — and hilarious — comment I’ve seen in some time. Does it attack Griffey? No. Does it defend him? Not really. Instead, it goes after the anonymous players who told the reporter about the incident itself:
The entire generation born after 1980 are just a bunch of rat fink
ba—–s. I work kids that age….so i know…snitches.
Look, on some level I understand that being a generally likable guy for the past 20 years has bought Junior a lot more leeway than your average ballplayer, but I figured that at some point — and that point being simply unprepared to play the game of baseball on a given day — likability wouldn’t matter and people would at least go through the motions of tut-tutting Griffey over this. Guess not.
And with that I’m getting out of the comment thread prediction business. Because you guys are way more unpredictable than I had given you credit for.
MASN’s Roch Kubatko is reporting that the Orioles have “some level” of interest in free agent outfielder Denard Span. The Nationals did not make a $15.8 million qualifying offer to Span, which means he doesn’t come attached with draft pick compensation unlike other free agents such as Alex Gordon and Dexter Fowler.
Span, who turns 32 in February, hit a solid .301/.365/.431 with five home runs, 22 RBI, 38 runs scored, and 11 stolen bases, but took only 275 plate appearances due to back and hip injuries. He underwent season-ending hip surgery in September but is expected to be ready to participate in spring training.
The Mets and Royals have also reportedly shown interest in Span’s services.
ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that the Blue Jays are on the prowl for relievers with closing experience. Ryan Madson is one of the names on their list.
Madson, 35, had a career rebirth with the Royals in 2015. He signed a minor league deal with the club that paid him a salary of $850,000 if he made it back to the majors. Due to a plethora of arm injuries, Madson hadn’t pitched in the majors since Game 5 of the 2011 NLDS against the Cardinals as a member of the Phillies. For the Royals, he wound up becoming a crucial member of the bullpen, finishing with a 2.13 ERA and a 58/14 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings.
While Madson allowed five runs in 8 1/3 post-season innings, he pitched well when it mattered most, as he hurled three scoreless frames in three appearances in the World Series against the Mets.
Madson has closing experience, with 55 career saves. 32 of them came in 2011 when he took over the closer’s role from Brad Lidge.
After signing Marco Estrada and J.A. Happ, and trading for Jesse Chavez, the Jays have bolstered their rotation but it was reported on Saturday that interim GM Tony LaCava is still focused on upgrading the pitching staff.
ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that free agent pitcher Trevor Cahill is looking for a one-year, bounce-back deal. The Pirates are one of the potential teams he is considering.
It’s no surprise that the Pirates are on Cahill’s list. Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage has garnered a reputation as a miracle worker after turning around the careers of a handful of pitchers, including Edinson Volquez, Francisco Liriano, and J.A. Happ. Volquez parlayed a one-year, $5 million deal with the Pirates into a two-year, $20 million deal with the Royals last December. Liriano signed with the Pirates on a one-year, $1 million contract and turned that into a three-year, $39 million deal. Happ, dealt to the Pirates from the Mariners at the most recent trade deadline, just signed a three-year, $39 million contract with the Blue Jays.
Cahill, once a highly-regarded pitching prospect, has scuffled over parts of seven seasons in the majors. The 27-year-old owns a career 4.13 ERA with a 754/427 K/BB ratio in 1,083 2/3 innings. Cahill had some brief success after signing with the Cubs as a free agent in mid-August, compiling a 2.12 ERA in 11 appearances out of the bullpen.
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that the Blue Jays have narrowed their search for a new general manager down to two candidates: current interim GM Tony LaCava, and Indians vice president of player personnel Ross Atkins. Former Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos resigned last month.
LaCava was promoted to interim GM on November 2 and has already made a handful of moves along with new president Mark Shapiro. The club acquired Jesse Chavez in a trade and signed pitchers Marco Estrada and J.A. Happ to multi-year deals.
Atkins worked under Shapiro in the Indians organization for 15 seasons, so it is no surprise that he is a finalist for the open GM position.