More dirt from the increasingly fascinating case of Mets clubhouse manager Charlie Samuels. The Daily News reports that Samuels was essentially a clubhouse mole for the Wilpons for years, with both Willie Randolph and Jerry Manuel believing that he was reporting on them — and passing along players’ gripes — to the front office. He was able to do this, they report, because he became closely involved with certain players, who came to rely on him for housing and the handling of all manner of personal matters. The best quote in the article reflects this:
“One thing you have to realize is no matter how much money you have or how big of a star you are, you need help to manage your life if you are a player,” one source says. “These guys wake up at 11, spend some time with their family, and then they are off to the park. They can’t take batting practice and say, ‘Skip, I gotta run some errands, I’ll be back in an hour.’ The smart ones hire a personal assistant who does this stuff for them. The dumb ones rely on equipment guys. The equipment guys get deeply involved in their lives.”
And Samuels, it seems, got deeper than most. Really, even if the guy wasn’t accused of stealing from the team and being involved in illegal gambling, this is a guy who would have needed to be canned anyway for the sake of an organization ruled by sanity as opposed to palace intrigue.
There’s also some fun stuff in there about how Samuels’ alleged pilfering of game-used equipment to sell on the memorabilia market had a severely depressing effect on that market. I used to represent some clients in that world. They’re a fun, colorful, and on occasion, scary bunch. I can just imagine what they’re saying about Samuels.
Update #2 (6:21 PM EST): Make that $37.5 million, per Heyman.
Update (6:02 PM EST): The deal is for “around” $37 million with deferrals that lower the present-day value, per Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that free agent 1B/OF Mark Trumbo is close to a deal with the Orioles. He first reported that the two sides were back in touch earlier on Thursday afternoon. According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, the deal is expected to be for three years and under $40 million.
Trumbo’s market hasn’t developed as he expected. The slugger turned down the Orioles’ $17.2 million qualifying offer back in November. Then the Orioles reportedly made a four-year contract offer to him in December but pulled it off the table. Most recently, a report indicated that Trumbo lowered his expectations to a three-year deal in the $40-50 million range.
Trumbo, 31, led the majors with 47 homers for the Orioles this past season. He also hit a solid .256/.316/.433 with 108 RBI in 667 plate appearances. With Trumbo back in the fold and some slight offensive upgrades made, the Orioles figure to have a formidable offense in 2017.
The Astros avoided arbitration with pitcher Mike Fiers, agreeing on a $3.45 million salary for the 2017 season, per Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle. The right-hander was in his first of three years of arbitration eligibility.
Fiers, 31, made 30 starts and one relief appearance for the Astros in 2016. He finished the year with a 4.48 ERA and a 134/42 K/BB ratio in 168 2/3 innings.
Fiers had a much better showing in 2015 as well as in limited action in 2014, so the Astros are hoping he rediscovers that effectiveness going forward. He’ll slot into the back of the starting rotation.