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!
Brewers’ right-hander Phil Bickford received a 50-game suspension after testing positive for a drug of abuse, per the Los Angeles Times’ Bill Shaikin. This is the second time Bickford has been suspended for recreational drug use, as he was previously penalized in 2015 after testing positive for marijuana prior to the amateur draft.
Bickford was selected by the Giants in the first round of the 2015 draft and was later dealt to the Brewers for lefty reliever Will Smith at the 2016 trade deadline. He finished his 2016 campaign in High-A Brevard County, pitching to a 3.67 ERA, 10.0 K/9 rate and 5.0 BB/9 over 27 innings.
Two other suspensions were handed down on Friday, one to Toronto minor league right-hander Pedro Loficial for a positive test for metabolites of Stanozolol and one to Miami minor league outfielder Casey Soltis for a second positive test for drugs of abuse. Loficial will serve a 72-game suspension, while Soltis will serve 50 games. All three suspensions are due to start at the beginning of the 2017 season for each respective minor league team.
Brewers’ GM David Stearns issued a statement after the Commissioner’s Office announced Bickford’s suspension (via Vince Lara-Cinisomo of Baseball America):
We are very disappointed to learn of Phil’s suspension, but we fully support the Minor League Baseball Drug Prevention and Testing Program and its enforcement by the Commissioner’s Office. Phil understands he made a mistake, and we fully anticipate that he will learn from this experience.
Confirming a report from Tuesday, the Diamondbacks officially signed right-hander Fernando Rodney to a one-year, $2.75 million contract on Friday. The 39-year-old stands to receive up to $4 million in incentives, per Jack MacGruder of FanRag Sports, with $250,000 kicking in when the veteran reaches 40, 50 and 60 appearances and $500,000 if he reaches 70.
Rodney came three games shy of the 70-appearance mark in 2016 during back-to-back stints with the Padres and Marlins. He put up a cumulative 3.44 ERA on the year, which effectively disguised the extreme split during his performances in San Diego and Miami. The Diamondbacks aren’t anywhere close to contending in 2017, but Rodney should stabilize the back end of their bullpen while providing Arizona GM Mike Hazen with a potential trade chip during next year’s deadline.
Hazen issued a statement following the signing:
With Fernando, we’re getting an established Major League closer and a veteran presence in the bullpen. It is helpful to have someone with his experience on the back end to slow the game down and get the final three outs.