Dusty Baker has the Reds in first place and headed to the playoffs for the first time since 1995, but the veteran manager seems fed up with fans and media members questioning his decisions.
Francisco Cordero has struggled of late, blowing a pair of saves while allowing six runs in his last four outings, and when asked yesterday about the possibility of Aroldis Chapman replacing Cordero as closer Baker responded:
There were some people who didn’t like the s*** I was doing from the time we started. They didn’t like my lineup. They didn’t like this. They didn’t like whatever the hell they didn’t like. I can’t worry about those people. Those people don’t manage this ball club. Those people don’t understand the psychological dynamics of your ball club. Let’s enjoy what we have instead of thinking about what we don’t have. How about that?
Mark Sheldon of MLB.com called it “a spirited defense” of Cordero, while John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer wrote that the question “set Baker off.” Whatever the case, I don’t necessarily blame Baker for lashing out a bit, because rightly or wrongly he’s received a ton of criticism in recent years and now he’s managing a playoff-bound team that has dramatically out-performed expectations.
With that said, there’s never really anything to gain by essentially calling a segment of the fan base stupid. If they’re as stupid as Baker thinks, it’s not like they’ll say, “You know, he makes an excellent point, let’s focus on being more reasonable and positive going forward.”
The Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on starting pitcher Sonny Gray, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The Astros have added Charlie Morton this offseason, but the club has been trying to add a big-name starting pitcher to put at the top of the rotation behind Dallas Keuchel.
Gray, 27, was limited to 22 starts in the 2016 season due to a forearm issue. His stats left a lot to be desired, as he finished with a 5-11 record, a 5.69 ERA, and a 94/42 K/BB ratio over 117 innings. Considering how Gray pitched in the previous three years, he’s a good bet to bounce back.
Gray is under team control through 2019, which is a big draw for the Astros. Needless to say, the Athletics would want a haul in terms of prospects. Gray will earn $3.575 million in 2017, having avoided arbitration in his first year of eligibility.
As we noted last week, The Chicago Cubs took the unusual step of not waiting until the summer after winning the World Series to make their customary White House visit to meet the president. They did it today, seeing President Obama a few short days before he leaves office.
Despite the fact that Obama is a White Sox fan, he met the Cubs with diplomacy and grace. It’s almost as if he’s been in that business for the past eight years. In return, he was given some gifts by the Cubs: Theo Epstein presented Obama with a No. 44 Cubs jersey, a tile from the center field scoreboard at Wrigley Field, and a lifetime pass to Wrigley as well.
Obama is staying in D.C. after he leaves office this week, hanging around so his daughter can finish high school in the same place she started. Even so, he’s likely going to be back to Chicago a good bit over the rest of his life, so he’ll likely be able to put the free pass to work. Assuming it comes with, like, six companion passes for his Secret Service detail.