Report: the Tigers are close to signing Victor Martinez

7 Comments

A report from Ignacio Serrano of ESPN Deportes has the Tigers on the verge of signing Victor Martinez for four-years, $50 million. Serrano says that it’s all but done and is pending a physical. Ken Rosenthal is confirming the report.

Rosenthal adds that the Tigers outbid the Red Sox (which we discussed the other day), the White Sox and the Orioles. The Red Sox offer was two-years, $21 million. It’s unclear if the Orioles or White Sox came closer in terms of dollars or years.  And the years may be more important for Martinez.  He was more emotional when he was traded away from Cleveland last year than any player in that situation that I can recall.  He appears to really value stability and keeping family close, and the ability for him to stay in one place — at least theoretically speaking — is probably high on his list.

As for the Tigers: Martinez would certainly be valuable as a middle-of-the-order bat and, as everyone is obligated to note when discussing him, having him around gives them added flexibility.  He won’t be playing a ton of first base in Detroit with Miguel Cabrera hanging around, but he will certainly be useful shuttling between catcher and DH and can spell Cabrera at first when necessary.  What this deal also seems to do is to take the Tigers out of the running for Adam Dunn. That is, unless Detroit is silly enough to put him Comerica Park’s left field.  If they thought Johnny Damon was an adventure out there, just wait until they get a load of Dunn’s “range.”

(link and translation via Bless You Boys)

The Nats are going to sign Francisco Rodriguez for some reason

Getty Images
2 Comments

The Nationals bullpen is a tire fire. They’re about to add another tire. Per Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, Washington is about to sign free agent reliever Francisco Rodriguez.

K-Rod was released by the Tigers last week after posting an ERA of 7.82 over 28 appearances this season. He has a 1.658 WHIP, is allowing 11.9 hits per nine innings and is posting his highest walk rate in five years. Also worth noting: the Detroit Friggin’ Tigers decided that he was not good enough to be in their bullpen.

So, yeah, good luck with that Washington.

The Giants chemistry is suffering because a guy they all hated is gone

Getty Images
8 Comments

I’ve spent years arguing with people about team chemistry. You know the battle lines on all of that now: people who talk a lot about team chemistry tend to attribute winning or losing to good or bad chemistry, respectively. I tend to think that characterizing chemistry is a retroactive exercise in which teams that win are happy and then cite their happiness as the reason and vice versa. Jim Leyland agrees with me, for what it’s worth, so I’m pretty happy with my take.

Not that I’ll claim a monopoly on wisdom here. I’ve never played on a professional baseball team. I don’t know what it’s like to try to prepare to play baseball while surrounded by jackwagons who don’t get along with anyone. I can’t imagine that makes life easier. Indeed, based on the testimony of players I have spoken to, I will grant that there is at least some intangible yet real benefit if everyone is happy an gelling. I dismiss team chemistry arguments for the most part, but if I ran a team I’d at least try to get rid of bad seeds if their bad seeding was not outweighed by seriously outstanding on-the-field play. You want your workers happy, folks.

All of which makes me wonder what the heck to do about this passage from Ken Rosenthal’s latest column. It’s about the reeling San Francisco Giants. They have all kinds of issues — their offense is putrid, their pitching isn’t much better and they’ve been without their ace most of the year — but today Rosenthal looks at their team chemistry. It’s a quiet and subdued clubhouse, he notes, and it has a lot of people wondering if something is wrong there. What could it be?

Sandoval, who was an often noisy and boisterous presence during his time with the club, departed as a free agent after that season. Pence has suffered a number of injuries in recent years and declined offensively, making it difficult for him to be as vocal as he was in the past. Some with the Giants muse that the team even misses Angel Pagan, who created an odd sort of unity because most of the players disliked him.

Read that last sentence again. And then go on with your talk about how team chemistry is a legitimate explanatory concept regarding what makes teams win or lose as opposed to a post-hoc rationalization of it.

Not that it’s not a good article overall. There’s some interesting stuff about the Giants’ bullpen culture. And, of course, we now know why no one signed Pagan last winter.