Here’s Nats’ third baseman Ryan Zimmerman reflecting on Adam Dunn going to the Chisox:
“Knowing that we had one of the three top free agents on our team and we didn’t want to resign him, it’s frustrating for us as players. We’re not in the front office. We don’t make the decisions, and we don’t have to write the checks. But we’re getting to the point on our team where we’re supposed to wait it out, wait for the young guys, start doing some things and start making some moves. Not only are we ready for that, I think the fans are, as well. We’ve trusted the front office, and we still trust them. But we want to best possible team on the field … We’ve trusted their plan the whole time, and now it’s getting to that point where it’s time to do some things. We know we have a good young team, but we need a few pieces. Obviously, you’re not going to do all that in one season, but you can add a piece here and add a piece there.”
You can’t sign everyone, but I can’t for the life of me see why the Nats weren’t more interested in keeping Adam Dunn. He seemed totally amenable to an extension last summer, and it would have been cheaper than the $56 million he’s taking from the Sox. Olney says that he may have gone three-years, $30 million. Even if it was a bit higher, that’s still a bargain. At the very least they could have dealt him at the deadline and gotten some value for him.
Instead he’s walking for picks and the star young slugger is openly questioning the direction of the team. Just remember this when Zimmerman leaves via free agency in a couple of years and the Nats wonder why he won’t engage them in serious negotiations.
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.
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.