Cell Phone

HBT Weekend Wrapup

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I had an excuse for missing baseball news this weekend: I got a new phone that is perhaps the scariest bit of technology I have ever encountered. I’m still traumatized, frankly, and all I’ve done is figure out how to change the ring tone. You guys who spent all weekend watching football have way less of an excuse. That’s just a sad sport, frankly, and if you can’t get everything you need from Florio, Rosenthal and the rest, God help you. You don’t need to actually watch it.

OK, sorry. That was hostile. I’m just a bit phone-shocked. I’ll be better as the morning wears on.  The weekend wrap:

  • Sticking with the Mets, the kabuki theater they are going through in order to satisfy the rabid portions of their fan base that they’re really considering Wally Backman for the job when they totally don’t plan on hiring him is something to behold.
  • Bad news: an elbow injury has likely ended Jamie Moyer’s career. Good news: He can get some simple surgery to fix it now, but if he had suffered this injury during the early part of his career they would have shot him to ease his suffering. See, because medical science has advanced so much in the past . . . oh, just forget it. I’m just sad that this may be my last chance to make a Jamie Moyer is old joke.
  • Derek Jeter and the Giants? Nah, but you know, even though I’m 100% certain Jeter goes back to the Yankees, a Giants uniform is the one non-Yankees uniform I can imagine him looking the least out-of-place in. Just aesthetically speaking. It’s the one uni that looks good and classic enough so that it wouldn’t diminish his historical stature, while at the same time not breaking some rivalry or cultural taboo like the Red Sox or Dodgers would. OK, maybe the Tigers, but I’d prefer it if Alan Trammell remained the most famous Tiger shortstop of all time, thank you.
  • Edgar Renteria wants to come back in 2011. The one guy who could have gotten around the old “all things end badly or else they’d never end” maxim is gonna blow it. Oh well. And hey: another Tiger shortstop.

Hey, I think I figured out how to make my phone make fart noises!  Progress.

Shapiro, Murray defend Dellin Betances after arbitration feud

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 12:  Dellin Betances #68 of the New York Yankees and the American League pitches against the National League during the 87th Annual MLB All-Star Game at PETCO Park on July 12, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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The dust hasn’t quite settled after right-hander Dellin Betances‘ arbitration hearing with the Yankees on Saturday. The case was decided in the team’s favor, awarding Betances with a $3 million salary for the 2017 season instead of the $5 million he initially requested. Yankees’ president Randy Levine held a press conference to voice his outrage over the figure presented by Betances and his agency, saying it had “no bearings in reality” since Betances does not have the elite closer status required for a salary bump of that magnitude.

Needless to say, the comments caused some consternation within Betances’ camp. The reliever publicly addressed the outburst, telling the press that he was prepared to put his differences with the team aside until he heard what Levine had to say. Via MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch:

Players union executive Rick Shapiro and Betances’ agent, Jim Murray, also spoke out in the right-hander’s favor. Shapiro presented Betances’ case during the hearing on Saturday and called Levine’s comments “an absolute disgrace to the arbitration process and to all of Major League Baseball.” In a report from FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, Shapiro added: “The only thing that has been unprecedented in the last 36 hours is that a club official, after winning a case, called a news conference to effectively gloat about his victory – that’s unprecedented.”

Murray spoke exclusively to Rosenthal, accusing the president of effectively bullying the 28-year-old during the arbitration process and claiming that Levine had both mispronounced Betances’ name throughout the hearing and blamed the reliever for “declining ticket sales and their lack of playoff history.” Like Betances, Murray said that the agency was ready to accept the arbiter’s decision and move on before Levine’s decision to air his grievances to the media. “The only person overreaching in this entire situation is Randy,” Murray told Rosenthal. “He might as well be an astronaut because nobody on earth would agree with what he is saying. Even the others in the room would disagree with him.”

Royals will experiment with Alex Gordon in all three outfield spots this year

CLEVELAND, OH -  MAY 7: Alex Gordon #4 of the Kansas City Royals reacts to a fan while on first base during the sixth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on May 7, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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Royals’ manager Ned Yost is shaking things up in 2017, starting with left fielder Alex Gordon. Yost told MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan that “every scenario is open,” and expects to utilize Gordon in right and center field this spring while he figures out where to position Jorge Soler and Brandon Moss.

Gordon, 33, hasn’t manned right field since a three-game experiment with the Royals back in 2010 and has yet to play center field during any regular season to date. The focus, however, isn’t on Gordon’s capabilities. Among the three outfielders, he carries the best defensive profile and appears to be the most versatile of the bunch.

According to Flanagan, Soler and Moss are average on defense and will continue working closely with Royals’ coach Rusty Kuntz as the season approaches. One arrangement could see Gordon in center field, flanked by Soler in right field and Moss in left, though Yost foresees Soler taking some reps at DH if his defensive chops aren’t up to snuff.

While Moss is prepared to see starts at either outfield corner, Yost appears to be set on keeping Soler in right field, at least for the time being. The club is hoping for a bounce-back season from the 24-year-old outfielder, who was acquired from the Cubs in December after batting a lackluster .238/.333/.436 and sustaining a slew of minor injuries throughout the 2016 season.