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Derek Jeter, six-year deals, and how HBT makes sense of the hot stove rumor mill

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Jon Heyman is reporting that Derek Jeter is asking for a six year deal. Oh noes! That’s crazy!  But hey, before we get into this, let me say a few words to those of you who weren’t reading HBT last winter — or those of you who forgot — about how we deal with rumors around these parts:

Between now and spring training, there will be at least one new rumor every day.  Often dozens, but even on Christmas freakin’ Morning, some Johnny Sportswriter will say that they heard this, that or the other about Freeagent Smith being linked with the Whereverthehell Gray Sox.  You’ll be surprised to learn that there’s not a lot of merit to most of them. They’re not made up — really, it’s rare that someone passes along word about these things without having some basis for it — but a ton of them just aren’t credible, either on their face or upon some scrutiny.

That’s where we come in. We post about a lot of rumors. Not all, but most. But just because we mention a rumor, doesn’t mean we think there’s anything to it. To the contrary, we often mention rumors in order to explain why we think they make no sense. Or why they do make sense. Or what six things would have to happen before said rumor could become a reality. Rather than merely aggregate them here, we view ourselves as filters of sorts, trying to help you make sense of where any given rumor fits into the grand scheme of things. Not because we have special expertise necessarily — we don’t talk to as many baseball people as a lot of the reporters do — but because we have the time and experience and wicked search engine skills to put those things into context so you don’t have to. You could debunk this stuff just as easily if you didn’t have real jobs and lives. Which we don’t, when it comes right down to it.

So: Jon Heyman tweets thusly:

jeter could take awhile. #yanks may be thinking 2-3 yrs. but industry sources suggest he could ask to stay ’til hes 42 (6 yrs), a la arod.

And we respond thusly: interesting, but implausible in our minds. Why? Because Jeter has never made an irrational, ill-considered business move in his baseball life, and we can’t see him starting now.  If he insisted on six years, the Yankees would tell him to go away. Even Derek Jeter.  They’re not going to commit to him that long because it makes zero sense for them to do so.

Does this mean that Heyman is wrong? No. I have no doubt that he heard what he heard. But if Jeter is asking for six years, there has to be more to it than we’re getting in this little tweet. Say, three years guaranteed plus a three year commitment that is convertible to a personal services contract with the team in the event he retires.  Or it could mean that Heyman heard it from someone who misunderstood what he heard. Or it could mean that Jon Heyman has a very low threshold for what he considers to be actionable gossip and that he has been accused in the past of being a tool of agents seeking to plant negotiation points in the press. You know, the normal grapevine dynamic.

What we can feel confident in saying, however, is that if Derek Jeter goes in looking for a straight six year contract, he’s kind of nuts, and we don’t have any reason to believe that Jeter is anything but shewed in terms of business and P.R. savvy.

So that’s how we operate here.  We hope you find it helpful.

Buddy Carlyle named the Braves new replay assistant

Buddy Carlyle
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The Braves have been terrible with respect to replay challenges this year. Almost improbably terrible. Fredi Gonzalez has challenged calls seven times and he’s been unsuccessful on all seven challenges. Given how these things work, it’s likely because he’s getting bad advice from the Braves employee designated to watch the replays and suggest when challenges should be made.

Now Gonzalez is going to have a new guy in that role. A familiar name too: Buddy Carlyle, who Mark Bowman of MLB.com reports, will join the Braves as a coaching assistant who will handle the replay review decisions.

Carlyle, of course, spent nine seasons as a major league pitcher and nearly 20 as a professional overall. Most recently with the Mets last season before calling it a career. He pitched for the Braves as well, from 2007-09.

Now he’ll provide a new and, hopefully, more discerning set of eyes for the Braves’ replay operation.

Garrett Richards needs Tommy John surgery, Andrew Heaney has UCL damage too

Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Garrett Richards throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Texas Rangers in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Oct. 4, 2015. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
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Bad, bad news for the Los Angeles Angels: their best starter needs Tommy John surgery and their most promising young starter has UCL damage as well.

Jeff Passan reports that Garrett Richards has a torn right ulnar collateral ligament and is expected to need Tommy John surgery. Richards was scratched from today’s start due to fatigue and dehydration, but Passan says they found the UCL tear while examining him yesterday. Richards is the Angels’ ace, having won 13 games in 2014 and 15 games a year ago. So far this year he a 2.34 ERA in six starts.

Heaney, meanwhile, has damage to his left ulnar collateral ligament, Passan reports. He was diagnosed with a flexor muscle strain after he was placed on the disabled list following his first start of the season, but this is obviously more serious. Unlike Richards, the plan at the moment is for Heaney to rehab rather than go under the knife. Sometimes that works. Often it doesn’t and Tommy John happens later. We’ll see.

These twin blows are huge and terrible for the Angels, who already had serious depth issues basically everywhere on the roster. The conventional wisdom before the year started was that, if everything broke right and everyone stayed healthy, they could possibly contend in an often volatile AL West, but that they didn’t have a big margin for error. This is a lot of error. The Angels are 13-15 and four games out in the division as it is. Without two starters on whom they were counting big, it’s hard to see how the rest of the Angels’ season isn’t going to be a total slog.

Willie Mays gets a cable car named after him

Major League Baseball hall of famer  Willie Mays, who spent the majority of his career as a center fielder with the New York and San Francisco Giants, smiles as President Barack Obama honors the 2012 World Series Champion San Francisco Giants baseball team, Monday, July 29, 2013, during a ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington. The team beat the Detroit Tigers in the 2012 World Series, their second championship since the franchise moved to San Francisco from New York in 1958. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
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This is not exactly stunning news, but it’s Willie Mays’ 85th birthday today and any excuse to talk about Willie Mays is a good one. Happy Birthday, Willie!

The pretext is a story in the San Francisco Chronicle about how The Greatest Baseball Player of All Time (my view anyway) is getting an iconic cable car named after him. An icon named after an icon, I guess. The cable car is, appropriately, number 24.

Next month I’m taking my kids on vacation to California and we’re spending a few days in San Francisco. It’ll be a shame when I tell them we have to cancel half of a day’s plans while I make them wait for one particular cable car to come by so they can take my picture with it, but that’s just what they have to deal with given that I’m their dad.

Carlos Gomez calls out a hit piece-writing columnist

Houston Astros' Carlos Gomez (30) reacts after hitting a double in the second inning of a baseball game against the Minnesota Twins, Tuesday, May 3, 2016, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)
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Yesterday I wrote about a column written by Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle. It was about Astros outfielder Carlos Gomez, who has had a poor start to the year.

The column, as I noted, was a hatchet job, blaming Gomez for the Astros’ problems despite the fact that Gomez is by far from the biggest of the Astros’ problems. It was particularly bad in that it presented an unedited bit of broken English from Gomez which seemed calculated to cast Gomez in a bad light. Many journalists were critical of Smith in this regard, noting that he could’ve used a translator, could have paraphrased or could’ve done some mild correction via brackets, as is often done with quotes from non-native English speakers.

Last night Gomez took to Twitter to call out Smith himself:

It’s possible to write a column about how a player hasn’t lived up to expectations without being an insensitive jackass. It’s possible to do so even in the sharpest of ways. Smith didn’t do that, however, and didn’t make an effort to try, it seems. Gomez is right to take issue with it. And I suspect that Gomez’s teammates and organization take issue with it too. Which likely doesn’t bode well for Smith getting cooperation from others in the Astros family.