The return to calm and quiet PR-friendly negotiations between the Yankees and Derek Jeter is easily the worst thing to happen this week. Really, wasn’t life much more fun when they were slamming each other in the media? And then, in turn, causing those of us in column-and-blog land to say equally silly things? Things like Cathal Kelly of the Toronto Star said in his column this afternoon:
Yankee Stadium is an enormously successful sports museum. Derek Jeter is its Mona Lisa. The residual financial impact of Jeter on New York and the Yankees would make a pretty decent Ph.D. thesis. Let’s agree that his real-dollar value is greater than playoff games can tell … Cashman is a good guy and, better yet for the Yankees, an egoless pragmatist. But he’s already lost this fight. He lost it just by having the money.
At some reasonable point, the Yankees will vastly improve their current offer. It will be slightly less than Jeter’s opening gambit — six years, $150 million (U.S.). Then Jeter will do himself and the Yankees the favour of agreeing to lower his price because of his love for the pinstripes. Yankees fans will fall in love all over again — with the man and the club.
I’ll preface this by saying that Mr. Kelly’s picture shows him wearing large, heavy-framed glasses not unlike those frequently sported by irony-loving hipsters, so I guess there’s a chance that this is all sarcasm. But assuming it’s not:
1) The Mona Lisa was stolen in 1911 and was gone for two years; the Louvre somehow survived;
2) Cashman hasn’t lost this fight;
3) The Yankees won’t vastly improve their offer; and
4) Even if they do, Jeter will not reject said vastly-improved offer.
Other than that, the column is all aces.
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.