Mark Ellis may be finished in Oakland after nine seasons

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Mark Ellis has spent his entire nine-year career in Oakland, making him the longest-tenured A’s player on the active roster, but as Joe Stiglich of the San Jose Mercury News writes he may not be back in 2011.
Ellis is finishing up a two-year, $11 million contract and the A’s have a $6 million option or $500,000 buyout for next season. Ellis is 33 years old, will fail to be healthy for 125-plus games for the seventh time in nine seasons, and is hitting just .268/.339/.345 for the lowest OPS of his career and the third-worst OPS among AL second basemen, so Oakland choosing the buyout seems likely.
“Numbers-wise, it hasn’t been good,” Ellis told Stiglich. “There’s no doubt about that. They’re going to do what they want to do. Obviously I like it here. This is where I want to be. I just do what I can to help the team win, and that stuff will work itself out.”
Stiglich speculates that the A’s could decline Ellis’ option and then attempt to re-sign him at a lesser price, but his age and declining performance may be as big a factor as the money. Plus, the A’s have several young second basemen like Adrian Cardenas, Jemile Weeks, and Eric Sogard who could be close to MLB ready.

The Braves will be serving some insane food this season

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Lots of teams have crazy concession items and lots of them will circulate photos of the more gonzo ones in the coming week leading up to the baseball season. The Braves, however, have been one of the more aggressive players in the gimmick concession item game in recent years, and they just sent around a release talking about some of the stuff they, and their concessionaire, Delaware North, will be serving at their new ballpark, Sun Trust Park, in 2017.

Among them:a blackened catfish po boy, which is a blackened 6-ounce filet of catfish cut up among three tacos, with a cajun remoulade. Some BBQ beef brisket sliders. A double burger. An ice cream bar. They’re also going to have a regionally-inspired thing called “The Taste of Braves Country,” showcasing southern cooking from Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama. Which they’re calling “Braves Country.” Accurate enough, I guess, even if some of us are old enough to remember when they aspired to be a national team. Alas.

The big item, though, is this one:

It’s called the “Tomahawk Chop” sandwich. It’s a fried pork chop with collard green slaw and white BBQ sauce. It serves four and costs $26. I’m guessing it tastes fantastic, but I think the name is pretty cringeworthy for the same reason the cheer which gives it its name is. And, given the dynamics of the Braves move to their new stadium, the choice of BBQ sauce is . . . amusing? I dunno.

Anyway, enjoy, Braves fans.

Max Scherzer will not be ready for Opening Day

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Ten days ago Nationals ace Max Scherzer said he’d be ready for the start of the regular season. “I’m gonna do it,” Scherzer said.

[Ron Howard from “Arrested Development” voice] — No, he’s not:

Nationals manager Dusty Baker said that Max Scherzer is not on track to be the team’s opening day starter, and will most likely open the season as the third pitcher in the rotation.

He’s still projected to make it to the opening rotation, taking the hill, most likely, on Thursday April 6 against the Marlins. At least if the schedule doesn’t slip any more.

Scherzer, as you probably know, has a stress fracture in the knuckle of his right ring finger, which has messed with his preparation and has caused him to alter his grip a bit. As of now Stephen Strasburg will get the Opening Day nod.