Red Sox reportedly place waiver claim on Johnny Damon

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UPDATE: Jon Heyman of SI.com reports that the mystery team submitting a waiver claim for Johnny Damon was … the Red Sox. Seriously.

Of course, Joel Sherman of the New York Post notes that Damon has a no-trade clause that includes Boston, so that may be a hang-up even if the Red Sox and Tigers can work out a deal (he also can’t be “assigned” there, to get around the “trade” part).

Obviously the Red Sox could use the outfield help given their many injuries, but it may be too little too late considering they’re 6.5 games back in the AL East and 5.5 back in the Wild Card.

Plus, it’s possible Theo Epstein and company simply claimed Damon to block him from going to the Yankees or Rays.

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Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that an unknown team has claimed Johnny Damon off waivers, which means he can only be traded to that one team.

Detroit has 48 hours to potentially work out a deal, at which point they can either pull him back off waivers and keep Damon for the remainder of the season or simply let the claiming team assume his contract.

He’s owed about $2 million for the rest of the season, so giving him away for nothing could actually be an option with the Tigers all but out of contention at 61-63.

As for the identity of the mystery team, Buster Olney of ESPN.com speculates that the White Sox, Red Sox, Rays, and Rangers “make the most sense as a fit for Damon.”

Theo Epstein named The World’s Greatest Leader

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Fortune Magazine has put out a list of The World’s Greatest Leaders. Not the greatest business leaders, not the greatest leaders in a given industry, but the Greatest Leaders, full stop. The greatest according to Fortune: The Cubs’ Theo Epstein.

For some context, Pope Francis was third. Angela Merkel was 10th. Lebron James was the next greatest sports leader, ranked 11th. Take Fortune’s methodology with a grain of salt, however, given that it has John McCain above Merkel — what, exactly, does he lead now? — and Samantha Bee in the top 20.

So what makes Theo the world’s best leader according to Fortune?

The Cubs owe their success to a five-year rebuilding program that featured a concatenation of different leadership styles. The team thrived under the affable patience of owner Tom Ricketts, and, later, under the innovative eccentricity of manager Joe Maddon. But most important of all was the evolution of the club’s president for baseball operations, Theo Epstein, the wunderkind executive who realized he would need to grow as a leader in order to replicate in Chicago the success he’d had with the Boston Red Sox.

I don’t want to take anything away from what Theo has done — he’s a Hall of Fame executive already in my view — but I feel like maybe one needs to adjust for the fact that this is a baseball team we’re talking about. They’re the whole world to us and their brands are nationally and even world famous, but as an organization, sports teams are rather small. There are guys who run reasonably-sized HVAC companies with more employees than a baseball team and they don’t get the benefit of an antitrust exemption and a rule which allows them to get their pick of the best new employees if they had a bad year the year before.

Really, not trying to throw shade here, just thinking that being the spiritual father for 1.2 billion Catholics or running a foundation that serves 55 million needy children — like the woman who comes in at number 14 — is a bit of a tougher trick.

But this will make a great framed magazine article on Theo’s wall in Wrigley Field.

 

 

Marcus Stroman named World Baseball Classic MVP

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United States starter Marcus Stroman was named Most Valuable Player of the World Baseball Classic after helping lead the U.S. to its first ever WBC title on Wednesday night in an 8-0 victory over Puerto Rico. Stroman flirted with a no-hitter through six innings, but gave up a double to lead off the seventh before being relieved by Sam Dyson.

Stroman also pitched 4 2/3 scoreless innings against the Dominican Republic in Pool C play on March 11. He struggled in Pool F play against Puerto Rico last Friday, surrendering four runs in 4 2/3 innings.

The WBC MVP award understandably goes to a player of the winning team. However, Wladimir Balentien of the Netherlands deserves special mention. In 26 at-bats during the WBC, he hit a double and had a WBC-high four home runs, 12 RBI, and 12 runs scored while putting up a .615/.677/.1.115 batting line. That’s MVP-esque as far as this tournament is concerned.