Not long ago, a couple of guys got together and started printing up shirts with stylized likenesses of Ron Washington on the front, and a Ron Washington quote — “that’s the way baseball go” — on the back. Seems that Major League Baseball doesn’t take kindly to that sort of thing, and they’ve sent a cease and desist letter shutting it down.
This happens a lot. Happened with that Los Doyers thing not too long ago. Happened to Phillies blogger Zoo With Roy recently when he made up shirts with Roy Halladay’s quote about it only getting “funner” from now on. Every other year or so you hear about this sort of thing. And I get it, because that’s the way the law go.
Still, I get a little sad every time some native enthusiasm gets squished by the IP lawyers. Maybe it’s impractical, but I wish the first impulse of baseball in these instances was to strike a deal with the creators of these kinds of products where baseball gets to protect its copyrights and stuff, the creator gets some nominal compensation for his inspiration and the fans get to buy a fun, quirky shirt or bumper sticker or whatever that captures the zeitgeist of the moment.
And really, these things are ephemeral. Ron Washington is going to be fired one day because all managers are fired. The whole “funner” thing with the Phillies probably died the moment Ryan Howard struck out looking. Would anyone really have been harmed if, in the meantime, some people had some fun?
According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Nationals infielder Danny Espinosa declined to attend the team’s annual Winterfest because of his dissatisfaction with management following their trade for outfielder Adam Eaton.
A source told Castillo that Espinosa’s unhappiness stemmed from a belief that the acquisition would jeopardize his starting role in 2017. With Eaton in center field, Trea Turner will likely return to his post at shortstop, leaving Espinosa out in the cold — or, as the case may be, on the bench. The move shouldn’t come as a big surprise to Espinosa, however, as Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo spoke to the possibility of trading the infielder or reassigning him to a utility role back in early November.
Offensively, the 29-year-old had a down year in 2016, slashing just .209/.306/.378 with 24 home runs in 601 PA. Defensively, he still profiles among the top shortstops in the National League, with eight DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) and 8.3 Def (Defensive Runs Above Average) in his seventh year with the club.
Espinosa will reach free agency after the 2017 season.
The Red Sox might be trying to move the wrong pitcher, according to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo. Cafardo revealed that while the Sox have been trying to market right-hander Clay Buchholz, more teams would be interested in trades involving southpaw Drew Pomeranz.
The club appears reluctant to deal Pomeranz, especially because his price tag comes in at a cool $4.7 million to Buchholz’s $13.5 million in 2017. Those who have already expressed interest in the veteran hurlers, including the Twins, Mariners and Royals, also seem put off by Buchholz’s salary requirements as he enters his 32nd year.
Health could be another factor preventing teams from jumping to make trade offers, as Cafardo quotes an AL executive who believes the “medicals on both Pomeranz and Buchholz probably aren’t that great.” Neither pitcher suffered any major injuries during the 2016 season, though Pomeranz missed just over a week of play due to forearm soreness.
Pomeranz outperformed his fellow starter in 2016, pitching to a 3.32 ERA and career-best 9.8 K/9 through 170 2/3 innings with the Padres and Red Sox. He got off to an exceptionally strong start in San Diego, where his ERA dropped to 2.47 through the first half of the year before the Padres dealt him to Boston for minor league right-hander Anderson Espinoza. Buchholz, on the other hand, struggled with a 4.78 ERA and saw a decline in both his BB/9 and K/9 rates as he worked out a career-low 1.69 K/BB through 139 1/3 innings with the Sox.