Almost everyone thinks Rusty Staub is a nice guy

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Over at MLB Trade Rumors, Howard Megdal has a nice little writeup on the career of Rusty Staub.  He uses Staub as an example of a guy who was traded a whole bunch of times but, unlike the Gary Sheffields of the world, wasn’t considered a horse’s patootie.  Megdal’s opening paragraph ends thusly:

But baseball teams managed to trade Rusty Staub five different times – even though anyone who has
ever met the man describes him as a terrific teammate and better human
being.

I’ve heard the same thing too, but not unanimously. There was a lone dissent, and it was a weird one. It came from Mickey Lolich, who — as I wrote a few years ago — I had the pleasure of meeting when I was a kid.

I won’t say Lolich was over the top about it or anything, but when my brother and I started asking him about players he liked and players he didn’t like, he brought up Staub in the latter camp. It was a weird little rant, but according to Lolich, Staub would use new batting gloves for almost
every at bat, throwing away the old one, and because of that people thought he was a prima donna.

Given that Staub and Lolich were never teammates — in fact, they were traded for one another — I can only assume Lolich got this second hand from guys he played with on the Mets. And its entirely possible that the story was infused with some weird resentment over the fact that Lolich flamed out almost immediately after the trade while Staub had several more productive years. No idea, really.

No point here, other than that Megdal’s Staub thing reminded me of the time I met Lolich, and for some reason it was the ballplayer meet-up I’ve had that I think about the most.

Mets tell Jay Bruce they plan on having him start in right field

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 22:  Jay Bruce #19 of the New York Mets reacts after striking out in the ninth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field on September 22, 2016 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
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The Mets told Jay Bruce that the club plans on having him open the season as the everyday right fielder, Ken Davidoff of the New York Post reports. This comes as no surprise after the Mets failed to get any bites after dangling Bruce as a trade chip. The Mets reportedly wanted a pair of prospects in exchange for Bruce.

With Bruce in right, Yoenis Cespedes back in left, and Curtis Granderson in center, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out. He’ll either warm the bench or head back to Triple-A Las Vegas for regular at-bats.

Bruce, who turns 30 years old in April, had a rough final two months of the 2016 season after joining the Mets in a trade from the Reds. He hit a paltry .219/.294/.391 with eight home runs and 19 RBI in 187 plate appearances. Bruce, apparently, wanted to go anywhere but in New York.

Angels sign Eric Young, Jr. to a minor league contract

ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 11:  Eric Young Jr. #4 of the Atlanta Braves slides safely into third base on a RBI triple in the fifth inning against the New York Mets during the Braves opening series at Turner Field on April 11, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia.  Andrelton Simmons #19 scored on the triple.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels have inked outfielder Eric Young, Jr. to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Young, 31, played in just six games and logged one plate appearance in the majors this past season with the Yankees. He last played regularly in 2014. While Young doesn’t do much with the bat, he could provide value as a pinch-runner. He also offers versatility, having played all three outfield positions along with second base.

The Angels have Ben Revere as their fourth outfielder and Jefry Marte behind him, so Young would need to have a very impressive showing in spring training to find a spot on the Angels’ roster.