Fascinating stuff in the Smoking Gun today regarding the Yankee Clipper: Joe DiMaggio’s army records, which paint him an a pretty unflattering light:
Despite a cushy job as a physical instructor in the Army’s Special
Services division, DiMaggio–who saw no combat, was never shipped
overseas, and spent many months stationed in Hawaii–exhibited a
“defective attitude toward the service” and a “conscious attitude of
hostility and resistance” when it came to his Army duties.
These withering critiques of DiMaggio came from two officers in the
Army’s Medical Corps. In separate reports written shortly before
DiMaggio’s discharge in September 1945, Major Emile G. Stoloff and Major
William G. Barrett each portrayed DiMaggio, then 30, as someone whose
“personal problems appeared to be of more consequence to him than his
obligations to adjust to the demands of the service.”
To be fair, the records indicate that DiMaggio had some personal issues at the time, most notably a recent divorce and some trouble with one of his brothers. There are also references to some belief that the army was exploiting him for P.R. purposes, which may have been true and may have sat with the notoriously complicated DiMaggio wrong. Less excusable, it seems, are references in the records to DiMaggio’s alleged malingering with stomach ailments and other things that army doctors could not confirm.
I’m sure that anyone who could shed more light on these reports or place them into a larger context based on first hand information is dead by now, but it’s odd stuff to be sure. Also stuff that, I’m guessing, won’t make it into any updates into those Yankee hagiographies you see on YES Network.
Over the winter there was serious talk about the Pirates trading Andrew McCutchen to the Washington Nationals. His move to left field to allow Starling Marte to take over center further served to make McCutchen a less important part of the Pirates long term plans.
Then the season began, Marte got suspended for PEDs and, after a bumpy start, McCutchen caught fire. He hit .411/.505/.689 in June he has a .333/.444/.561 line in the month of July. For the year he’s now at .292/.384/.507 with 17 homers and 57 RBI. Even with Marte back on the roster, McCutchen is the Pirates’ center fielder. What’s more, the Pirates, after beginning the season slowly have righted the ship somewhat and are now only three games back in the NL Central.
All of which makes this, from Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, unsurprising:
That option is a quite reasonable $14.5 million, so it seems sorta crazy that they wouldn’t pick it up. Of course if they remain coy enough about it for now perhaps someone will bowl them over with an offer. Letting McCutchen walk seems insane. Unloading him for a hefty haul would, well, still be kinda crazy given how popular McCutchen is with the fan base, but not truly insane.
The Brewers were rumored last week to have been “aggressive” in talks for Tigers reliever Justin Wilson. ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports, however, that the talks are a bit more wide-ranging than that.
Crasnick says that the two clubs are also discussing Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler, potentially in a package deal with Wilson. Crasnick says that the Brewers “would love to have Kinsler,” but their main focus at the moment is pitching help. Of course, the Brewers current second baseman — Jonathan Villar — is hitting a meager .223/.285/.348 in 334 plate appearances.
Kinsler is having a down season for him — .237/.331/.400 — but he’s better than that and, of course, would represent an improvement. He’s under contract through the end of this year but he has a very affordable, $10 million club option for 2018. Wilson will be arbitration-eligible this offseason, so he’s still under team control as well. As such a Kinsler/Wilson package would likely cost the Brewers a high price, so you have to think they’d try to exhaust cheaper options before making such a deal.
The Brewers had been in first place in the NL Central since June 7, but the Cubs caught them yesterday. They’re in a virtual tie, with Chicago percentage points ahead. This should prove to be a very interesting week for the Brewers’ front office.