Tony Massarotti reports on the little dustup the Red Sox are having with Jacoby Ellsbury over his injury. Short version: Ellsbury is still out of the lineup and says he’s hurting. The Sox are downplaying it and wondering just how hurt Ellsbury really is. Massarotti is siding with the team and is questioning Ellsbury’s desire to play:
Has Jacoby now become to the Sox what (medical) Bill Cartwright once was
to the New York Knicks? Is it Ellsbury – or DLsbury? . . . In the minds of the Sox – and others – Ellsbury has a reputation,
something only he can be responsible for. Earlier this month, Mike
Lowell openly wondered whether he still had a role on the Red Sox, but
at least Lowell’s remarks were motivated by the desire to play,
something that hardly makes him different from the majority of athletes. In Ellsbury’s case, the problem seems to be the opposite.
Does he want to play or doesn’t he?
I can’t say that partake in enough Red Sox Kremlinology to know whether or not Ellsbury is malingering or has questionable intestinal fortitude or what. This smells to me, however, like something of an unfair broadside, if for no other reason than Massarotti cites the imagined pleas of “the pink hats in Camp Jacoby” and everyone’s favorite villain, Scott Boras in furtherance of his argument.
I don’t know if Ellsbury truly is well enough to play or not, but I don’t see how anything Massarotti cites in his article helps us figure that out. This is one of those situations where an anonymous source who actually knows what’s going on medically-speaking could be useful. Short of that, Massarotti is just knocking Ellsbury’s character, isn’t he?
Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports that the Tigers are in discussions with free agent starter Jordan Zimmermann. His sources have told him that the talks have become “serious”.
Zimmermann, 29, has a career 3.32 ERA across parts of seven seasons in the majors. He finished fifth in National League Cy Young Award balloting in 2014, finishing with a 2.66 ERA and a 182/29 K/BB ratio over 199 2/3 innings.
Among starters who have amassed at least 1,000 innings since 2009, only Cliff Lee, Dan Haren, Madison Bumgarner, and Zack Greinke have compiled a better strikeout-to-walk ratio than Zimmermann’s 4.09. While he doesn’t have the star power of other free agents such as Greinke or David Price, the Tigers would certainly improve their rotation by bringing him on board.
Having already added Jesse Chavez and J.A. Happ to the mix and re-signing Marco Estrada early in the offseason, Blue Jays interim GM Tony LaCava said the team will continue to pursue pitching upgrades, as Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports. Nicholson-Smith added that LaCava declined to comment on free agent ace David Price. It is believed that the Jays will not pursue Price and other big-name free agent starting pitchers given their November activity.
The Jays re-signed Estrada to a two-year, $26 million deal on November 13, acquired Chavez from the Athletics in exchange for reliever Liam Hendriks on November 20 and signed Happ to a three-year, $36 million deal on Friday.
Nicholson-Smith notes in a column on Sportsnet that the Jays need to address the bullpen in particular. That is especially true after swapping Hendriks, who had a career-best 2.92 ERA out of the Jays’ bullpen in 2015, for a back-end starting pitcher.
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports spoke to an anonymous baseball executive, who said that Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon is “untradeable”. The Nationals are hoping to trade both Papelbon and the man he displaced, Drew Storen.
Papelbon has a poor reputation in baseball, particularly after a dugout altercation with superstar outfielder Bryce Harper. Focusing strictly on what he does on the field, Papelbon still gets the job done. The 35-year-old finished the last season with a combined 2.13 ERA, 24 saves, and a 56/12 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings between the Phillies and Nationals.
The Nationals owe Papelbon $11 million for the 2016 season.
Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper reports that corner infielder Mike Hessman has retired from professional baseball after 20 seasons. Hessman hit 433 home runs in the minor leagues, an all-time record. He broke Buzz Arlett’s record this past August and with style as #433 was a grand slam.
Hessman, 37, was selected in the 16th round of the 1996 draft by the Braves and remained with the organization through the 2004 season. He then went to the Tigers from 2005-09, the Mets in 2010, then drifted into the Astros and Reds’ farm systems before returning to the Tigers for the last two years.
Hessman took 250 plate appearances at the major league level, batting .188/.272/.422 with 14 home runs and 33 RBI.