Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com has an interesting article about longtime big leaguer Royce Clayton, who after retiring in 2008 auditioned for a part in the upcoming “Moneyball” movie and was cast as Miguel Tejada. Seriously.
Clayton didn’t speak Spanish, but tried to learn enough to sound authentic for his scenes with Brad Pitt. And then when it came time to actually start filming director Bennett Miller told him to drop the accent and just speak naturally.
Clayton told Crasnick that he enjoyed the movie-making experience, but said it’s not quite as glamorous as you might think:
In my sport, you make a good play and see thousands of people go crazy. For actors, there’s very little fanfare when you’re shooting a movie. It’s tedious work. You sit around for long hours, and if you’re a main guy, you know the results of that movie pretty much hinge on your performance. It’s definitely not all glamour and glitz like people think it is. We’d have a 6 p.m. call time, and three days later you’d get a 6 a.m call time and totally switch your clock. It’s tough. I definitely have an appreciation now for what these guys do–their talent and their craft.
Also of note: Crasnick reports that Paul DePodesta “asked to have his name removed from the film,” so instead the “Moneyball” movie will have a character named “Peter Brand” as Billy Beane’s right-hand man. Perhaps he, like everyone else, thought it was absurd that Jonah Hill had been cast to portray him despite what is probably a 100-pound difference.
To the surprise of, well, very few, the Mariners didn’t make the cut for the postseason this year. While they threw their hats in the ring for a wild card berth, their pitching staff just couldn’t stay healthy, from the handful of pitchers who contracted season-ending injuries in spring training to Felix Hernandez‘s shoulder bursitis to structural damage in Hisashi Iwakuma‘s right shoulder. Left-hander James Paxton missed 79 days with a lingering head cold, strained left forearm and pectoral strain. Heading into the 2018 season, the lefty told MLB.com’s Greg Johns that he plans to “nerd out big-time” in order to prepare for a healthy, consistent run with the club.
So far, Johns reports, that entails a new diet and workout program, hot yoga sessions and blood testing. “I just think there’s more I can do,” Paxton said. “I haven’t done the blood testing before. Finding out if there’s something I don’t know about myself. It’s just about learning and trying to find what works for me.”
When healthy, the 28-year-old southpaw was lights-out for the Mariners. He helped stabilize the front end of the rotation with a 12-5 record in 24 starts and supplemented his efforts with a 2.98 ERA, 2.4 BB/9 and 10.3 SO/9 through 136 innings. Despite taking multiple trips to the disabled list, he built up 4.6 fWAR — the most wins above replacement he’s compiled in any season of his career to date. Had he not been felled by a pectoral injury in mid-August — one that came with a five-week trip to the disabled list — the club might have been been able to make a bigger push for the playoffs.
Of course, even if Paxton manages to stay healthy next season, the Mariners still have the rest of the rotation to worry about. They cycled through 17 starters in 2017 and tied the 2014 Rangers with 40 total pitchers over the course of the season. Per GM Jerry Dipoto, their top four starters (Paxton, Hernandez, Iwakuma, and Tommy John candidate Drew Smyly) only contributed 17% of total innings pitched, just a tad below the 40% average. Finding adequate big league arms and compensating for injured aces (both current and former) will be tough. Still, getting a healthy, dominant Paxton back on the mound for 30+ starts would be a huge get for the team — whether or not the postseason is in their future next year.