Heavy caveats here. For one thing, the report comes from Jim Bowden. A man who, in my year or so of following him on Twitter, has one of the lowest batting averages among guys who purport to break stories.
For another thing, the Orioles have been rumored to be in on a lot of top-flight free agents in recent years, but no one ever seems to bite. Whether that’s because the offers aren’t really as serious as they sound or if it’s because top free agents see nothing at all enticing about signing with the O’s is an open question. I suspect a little bit of both us happening.
I think the Orioles will sign a first baseman, but I think it’s way more likely to be of the Derrick Lee or Adam LaRoche variety as opposed to someone like Konerko. Which is fine, because after what they had last year, either of those two would represent a significant improvement.
Particularly Lee who is thought of as a great guy and a total pro. Yes, I realize that I often discount such things, but for a team like the Orioles that’s important. It’s a critical time for the franchise. Showalter showed a lot last season, but their emerging players need some role models too. Lee wouldn’t be a bad one to have around.
Mets manager Terry Collins says that he has scratched Noah Syndergaard, who was supposed to start this afternoon’s game against the Braves. In his place will go Matt Harvey.
Syndergaard, Collins says, has “tired arm.” But also says he has some discomfort in his right biceps. He will have an MRI, but Syndergaard says it’s not serious and that he could pitch as soon as Sunday. Collins says this is an abundance-of-caution type thing, saying “we can’t take a chance on this guy.” Which is true.
The Mets ace is 1-1 with a 1.73 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 26 innings. He has walked no one this year. Not a soul.
James Paxton of the Mariners is 3-0 with a 1.39 ERA, 39 strikeouts and only six walks in 32.1 innings of work over five starts. Last night he shut the Tigers down, tossing seven shutout innings, striking out nine and allowing only four hits. With Felix Hernandez looking less than king-like lately, Paxton is asserting himself as the new ace of the Seattle staff.
And now the tall Canadian native has a nickname to match his ace-like status:
“Pax was really outstanding and we certainly needed it,” manager Scott Servais said of the Canadian southpaw. “Big Maple is what he was nicknamed tonight and I kind of like that. He was awesome.”
“Big Maple” is a fantastic nickname. That’s the sort of nickname guys used to get back when nicknames were great. Before managers just put “y” at the end of dudes’ names and before the “First Initial-First Three Letters of The Last Name” convention took hold in the wake of A-Rod.
“Big Maple.” That makes me smile. I’m gonna be smiling all dang day because of that.