Scott Podsednik said yesterday that he’d like to re-sign with the Royals “because we’re moving in the right direction” and “I like the challenge that’s presented here in terms of getting things turned around.”
That’s admirable, I suppose, but a big part of the Royals actually “getting things turned around” will be ridding themselves of veteran mediocrity like Podsednik and replacing them with younger, better players.
The average AL left fielder has a .431 slugging percentage and .772 OPS this season. Podsednik has a .378 slugging percentage and .725 OPS. Yes, he has 25 steals, but he’s also been caught stealing 12 times and in order to get his overrated speed in the lineup the Royals have sacrificed 50 points of slugging percentage and 50 points of OPS at an offense-driven position.
Oh, and he’s also 34 years old.
Of course, Jeffrey Flanagan of FOXSportsKansasCity.com wrote the article about Podsednik wanting to re-sign with the Royals and curiously omits any of his hitting statistics while instead writing things like this:
Podsednik, 34, still has excellent speed and can disrupt defenses. He also plays above average in left field. Perhaps most important of all, Podsednik plays like a winner. He has been through meaningful Septembers. He has a walk-off World Series home run. He’s not going to wilt under pressure.
Whatever the hell that means. In reality Podsednik hasn’t been on a winning team since 2006, and even then the White Sox finished in the third place. In the four seasons since then Podsednik’s teams are 41-53, 79-83, 74-88, and 72-90 for a combined record of 266-314, which works out to a nifty .458 winning percentage.
But hey, he’s “scrappy” and one time a bunch of years ago he had a big hit in the World Series!
The Royals honored former pitcher Yordano Ventura prior to their first Cactus League game against the Rangers on Saturday. Ventura was killed in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic in late January.
Rangers’ third baseman Adrian Beltre and center fielder Carlos Gomez paid their respects to the pitcher with a floral arrangement that was laid on the mound. Both teams stood along the foul lines during a pregame video tribute that highlighted Ventura’s tenure with Kansas City. Following the game, Gomez spoke to the media about his relationship with Ventura, describing their frequent conversations during the season and commending the pitcher for having “the same passion that I had early in my career” (via WFAA.com’s Levi Weaver).
A plaque dedicated to the 25-year-old was also presented to club manager Ned Yost as a more permanent commemoration of Ventura’s contributions to the sport. Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star reports that the plaque will be mounted in the club’s spring training facilities alongside tributes to members of the Royals’ 2014 and 2015 playoff teams.
The full text of the plaque is below, via MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan:
A brother and a teammate, Yordano Ventura, passed away on the morning of January 22 in his native Dominican Republic, at the age of 25. He signed with the Royals as a 17-year-old, eventually making the big league team in 2013 as a 22-year-old. On most days, he could be found laughing and joking with his baseball family in the clubhouse. However, on days when he pitched, that smile was replaced by a quiet confidence and an intense fire, which he brought to the mound for every start. He had many highlights in his abbreviated career, not the least of which was throwing eight shutout innings in Game #6 of the 2014 World Series to force a Game #7 vs. San Francisco.
Right-hander Gerrit Cole is set to take the mound for the Pirates on Opening Day, according to a team announcement on Saturday. It’s a spot that was most recently occupied by former Pirate Francisco Liriano, who made three consecutive Opening Day starts for the club before getting dealt to the Blue Jays last August.
The 26-year-old produced career-worst numbers during his fourth run with the Pirates in 2016, due in large part to bouts of inflammation in his right elbow. He finished the year with a 3.88 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 116 innings before getting shut down in September to avoid further injury to his elbow. When healthy, however, Cole has been lights-out for the Pirates. Prior to his injury-laden campaign last year, he touted a career 3.07 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 8.5 SO/9 and cumulative 10.2 fWAR from 2013 through 2015.
Cole will go toe-to-toe with the Red Sox during Boston’s home opener on Monday, April 3. Right-hander Jameson Taillon is scheduled to make the second start of the year, while fellow righty Ivan Nova will cover the Pirates’ home opener against the Braves on April 7. The Pirates’ third and fifth starters have yet to be announced.