Derek Jeter triple

The state of the Jeter negotiations

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We haven’t had any new twists or turns in the Derek Jeter negotiations for, like, 18 hours, and frankly I’m starting to get the shakes. So, in the absence of anything happening at the moment, let us review how we got to where we are, figure out where things stand, and figure out where we’re going from here:

  • Casey Close double-dog-dared Cashman to put his tongue on a flag pole (note: may not have actually happened, but would not be at all surprising).

There have been no talks for a week, partially because of Thanksgiving I assume, but also because everyone likely feels the need to cool it.  That may change soon, however, as Eric Boland and Ken Davidoff are reporting that the Yankees want to restart talks with Jeter this week in the hopes of making some progress and squelching some of the breathless speculation in the runup to the Winter Meetings. Of course, there are even conflicts on that, as the Post is reporting that the Yankees are going to move on to other business first.  Personally I believe Davidoff because he’s a better reporter than George King, but really, your guess is as good as mine.

For all of the drama, I still believe one thing: Jeter will stay with the Yankees. He will do so at a contract that is far closer to what the Yankees are offering than what he’s currently asking, because there is simply no logical basis for what he’s currently asking and no hope that he can do better elsewhere.

I believe that the Yankees do have some work to do, however, and it’s this:  finding a way to gussy-up the $45 million offer to make it look a bit better than it is so that Jeter can save face. Which is something that the Yankees likely do have an interest in doing. Not a giant one — they probably won’t give him $20 million more for P.R. purposes — but if Jeter can come out of this by saying “hey, it was a negotiation, we gave some, they gave some,” it’s the best thing for everyone. To the extent negotiations get humming soon, that will be their focus, I believe.

But let’s hope it drags on some more. Because this has been a laugh riot so far.

Royals pay tribute to late Yordano Ventura during spring training opener

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 12: Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals delivers a pitch against the Minnesota Twins during the first inning of the game on August 12, 2016 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
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The Royals honored former pitcher Yordano Ventura prior to their first Cactus League game against the Rangers on Saturday. Ventura was killed in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic in late January.

Rangers’ third baseman Adrian Beltre and center fielder Carlos Gomez paid their respects to the pitcher with a floral arrangement that was laid on the mound. Both teams stood along the foul lines during a pregame video tribute that highlighted Ventura’s tenure with Kansas City. Following the game, Gomez spoke to the media about his relationship with Ventura, describing their frequent conversations during the season and commending the pitcher for having “the same passion that I had early in my career” (via WFAA.com’s Levi Weaver).

A plaque dedicated to the 25-year-old was also presented to club manager Ned Yost as a more permanent commemoration of Ventura’s contributions to the sport. Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star reports that the plaque will be mounted in the club’s spring training facilities alongside tributes to members of the Royals’ 2014 and 2015 playoff teams.

The full text of the plaque is below, via MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan:

A brother and a teammate, Yordano Ventura, passed away on the morning of January 22 in his native Dominican Republic, at the age of 25. He signed with the Royals as a 17-year-old, eventually making the big league team in 2013 as a 22-year-old. On most days, he could be found laughing and joking with his baseball family in the clubhouse. However, on days when he pitched, that smile was replaced by a quiet confidence and an intense fire, which he brought to the mound for every start. He had many highlights in his abbreviated career, not the least of which was throwing eight shutout innings in Game #6 of the 2014 World Series to force a Game #7 vs. San Francisco.

Gerrit Cole named Pirates’ Opening Day starter

BRADENTON, FL - FEBRUARY 19: Gerrit Cole #45 of the Pittsburgh Pirates poses for a photograph during MLB spring training photo day on February 19, 2017 at Pirate City in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
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Right-hander Gerrit Cole is set to take the mound for the Pirates on Opening Day, according to a team announcement on Saturday. It’s a spot that was most recently occupied by former Pirate Francisco Liriano, who made three consecutive Opening Day starts for the club before getting dealt to the Blue Jays last August.

The 26-year-old produced career-worst numbers during his fourth run with the Pirates in 2016, due in large part to bouts of inflammation in his right elbow. He finished the year with a 3.88 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 116 innings before getting shut down in September to avoid further injury to his elbow. When healthy, however, Cole has been lights-out for the Pirates. Prior to his injury-laden campaign last year, he touted a career 3.07 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 8.5 SO/9 and cumulative 10.2 fWAR from 2013 through 2015.

Cole will go toe-to-toe with the Red Sox during Boston’s home opener on Monday, April 3. Right-hander Jameson Taillon is scheduled to make the second start of the year, while fellow righty Ivan Nova will cover the Pirates’ home opener against the Braves on April 7. The Pirates’ third and fifth starters have yet to be announced.