ANAHEIM, Calif. — I heard they were going to be serving hot dogs wrapped in bacon at the All-Star game in Anaheim, so naturally I had to go.
In addition to the bacon-wrapped goodness, they’ll have a sampling of foods from other MLB ballparks, including Crab Dogs from Baltimore, Blake Street Burritos from Denver (no Rocky Mountain oysters?), and pulled pork BBQ nachos from Houston.
But I’m not just here for the food, but to take in the sites and pass them on to you, the faithful HBT reader. First things first, the weather is gorgeous in Anaheim. The clouds/smog burned off around noon, leaving sunny weather in the low 70s with the hint of a breeze.
Taking in the Futures Game now, with much of the buzz surrounding Angels prospect (naturally) Mike Trout, an 18-year-old playing in the Class-A Midwest League. Another Angels minor leaguer, AAA catcher Hank Conger, blasted a 3-run homer in what has become a U.S, rout.
Random things seen/heard:
- The Rangers sold 14,000 walk-up tickets for Cliff Lee’s debut on Saturday night. And even though they gave up a lot in the trade with the Mariners, the word is that they didn’t mind because their system is so deep. Also, I’m guessing they smell blood in the water with the Angels struggling.
- Erin Andrews is more attractive in person. So is Peter Gammons.
- The last All-Star game in Anaheim was in 1989, when Bo Jackson stole the show with a mammoth home run and ended up being named the game’s MVP.
But did you know that the only other All-Star game in Anaheim was in 1967, a 2-1 victory for the NL that lasted 15 innings. Catfish Hunter pitched 5(!) innings in relief and took the loss. Wonder what Bruce Bochy would do to Charlie Manuel is Manuel pitched Tim Lincecum five innings on Tuesday. Things have changed a bit, I guess.
- More on Bo Jackson: He’s playing in the Legends and Celebrity Softball Game tonight, which will also include Mike Piazza, Rickey Henderson and Dave Winfield, among others. The list of celebrities includes MC Hammer, Michael Clarke Duncan, and an actor named Marcus Giamatti, who is the son of Bart, and brother of Paul. Maybe Marisa Miller can save the show.
- There are now approximately 80 players on the All-Star rosters due to injuries and withdrawals. Thank goodness this isn’t T-ball where everyone has to get a turn to bat.
- Don’t forget to check out the big home run derby contest here, where you can win the right to be a big-time sports blogger for one whole post. It’s glamorous, trust us.
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Mets reliever Jenrry Mejia was permanently suspended on Friday after testing positive for a third time for a performance-enhancing drug. The right-hander is maintaining his innocence, as ESPN’s Adam Rubin notes in quoting Dominican sports journalist Hector Gomez. Mejia said, “It is not like they say. I am sure that I did not use anything.”
Mejia has the opportunity to petition commissioner Rob Manfred in one year for reinstatement to Major League Baseball. However, he must sit out at least two years before becoming eligible to pitch in the majors again, which would mean Mejia would be 28 years old.
Over parts of five seasons, Mejia has a career 3.68 ERA with 162 strikeouts and 76 walks over 183 1/3 innings. He was once a top prospect in the Mets’ minor league system and a top-100 overall prospect heading into the 2010 and ’11 seasons.
Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper is at least three years away from free agency, but people are already contemplating just how large a contract the phenom will be able to negotiate, especially after taking home the National League Most Valuable Player Award for his performance this past season.
When the likes of David Price and Zack Greinke are signing for over $200 million at the age of 30 or older, it stands to reason that Harper could draw more as a 26-year-old if he can maintain MVP-esque levels of production over the next several seasons. $400 million might not be enough for Harper, though, as MLB.com’s Jamal Collier reports. He said, “Don’t sell me short,” which is a fantastic response.
During the 2015 season, Harper led the majors with a .460 on-base percentage and a .649 slugging percentage while leading the National League with 42 home runs and 118 runs scored. He also knocked in 99 runs for good measure. Harper and Ted Williams are the only hitters in baseball history to put up an adjusted OPS of 195 or better (100 is average) at the age of 22 or younger.
Per Eric Stephen of SB Nation’s True Blue LA, the Dodgers announced that pitching prospect Frankie Montas will be out two to four months after undergoing rib resection surgery to remove his right first rib.
The Dodgers acquired Montas from the White Sox in a three-team trade in December 2015 that also involved the Reds. The 22-year-old made his big league debut with the Pale Hose last season, allowing eight runs on 14 hits and nine walks with 20 strikeouts in 15 innings across two starts. Montas had spent the majority of his season at Double-A Birmingham, where he posted a 2.97 ERA with 108 strikeouts and 48 walks in 112 innings.
MLB.com rated Montas as the 95th-best prospect in baseball, slipping a few spots from last year’s pre-season ranking of 91.
The Brewers’ rebuild continues, as the club announced on Twitter the trade of outfielder Khris Davis to the Athletics in exchange for catcher Jacob Nottingham and pitcher Bubba Derby. MLB.com’s Jane Lee reports that the A’s have designated pitcher Sean Nolin for assignment to create room on the 40-man roster for Davis.
Davis, 28, was the Brewers’ most valuable remaining trade chip. He blasted 27 home runs while hitting .247/.323/.505 in 440 plate appearances this past season in Milwaukee. Adding to his value, Davis won’t become eligible for arbitration until after the 2016 season and can’t become a free agent until after the 2019 season. In Oakland, Davis will give the Athletics more reliability as Coco Crisp was injured for most of last season and is now 36 years old. Though he doesn’t have much of a career platoon split, Davis split time in left field with the left-handed-hitting Gerardo Parra last season. It’s unclear if the A’s will utilize him in a platoon as well.
With Davis out of the picture, Domingo Santana is a leading candidate to start in left field for the Brewers, GM David Stearns said, per Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Nottingham, 20, started the 2015 season in the Astros’ system but went to the Athletics in the Scott Kazmir deal. He hit an aggregate .316/.372/.505 at Single-A, showing plenty of promise early in his professional career. With catcher Jonathan Lucroy on his way out of Milwaukee, the Brewers are hoping Nottingham can be their next permanent backstop.
Derby, 21, made his professional debut last season after the Athletics drafted him in the sixth round. Across 37 1/3 innings, he yielded seven runs (five earned) on 24 hits and 10 walks with 47 strikeouts. He’s obviously a few years away from the majors, but the Brewers are looking for high upside.