The Braves are close to signing Dan Uggla to a five-year extension

3 Comments

Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports that the Braves are close to signing Dan Uggla to a five-year extension worth $60-61 million.

Hurm.  Uggla rejected a four-year, $48 million extension from the Marlins before being traded to the Braves last month. At the time it seemed like he was kind of nuts to do so, but given the contracts handed out in the past few weeks, he was pretty darn savvy about things.  And in light of the nutso market, I can’t help but think this borders on the reasonable. Heck, at the same salary for an extra year it’s downright frugal.

OK, back to reality: I don’t like National League teams handing out five year deals to poor-fielding middle infielders past the age of 30.  At least not teams who are budget-conscious like the Braves are supposed to be. And, you know, when I’m rooting for them.

If he keeps hitting 30 homers a year, cool.  If he can adjust to left field or first base, fine.  But I think there’s a lot of risk in this deal.

Imagining Theo Epstein in politics

Getty Images
3 Comments

“When Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept for there were no more worlds to conquer.”

Or: “When Theo Epstein won World Series championships with the two most championship-starved franchises in baseball history, he got bored, and decided to run for the Senate or something.”

That latter bit is the premise of a Politico piece speculating that the Cubs president could go into politics one day. The story features an interview with former Obama chief strategist David Axlerod, who thinks Theo has what it takes. Mostly what he has is fame, popularity, good looks and money. No idea what his positions on issue are, but that other stuff goes a long way in politics these days.

Bonus: given what we just elected last fall, a guy who once had a little temper tantrum and dressed up in a gorilla suit is just as viable a candidate as anyone.

Another interestingly named player is promoted by the Pirates

Getty Images
2 Comments

When you promote a player from the minors, the first and foremost consideration is whether or not he can help your ball club. But, assuming that’s taken care of, teams should really, really make it a priority to call up dudes with cool sounding names because it makes life more interesting for the rest of us.

The Pirates are doing that. The other night Dovydas Neverauskas made his big league debut. In addition to being the first Lithuanian born-and-raised player in major league history, it’s a solid, solid name. Now the Pirates are making another promotion: Gift Ngoepe.

Yep, Gift Ngoepe. He’s an infielder from South Africa, making the leap to the bigs due to David Freese‘s hamstring injury. Ngoepe, 27, was batting just .241/.308/.379 through 66 plate appearances this season with Triple-A Indianapolis, his ninth in the minors, so he’s not exactly a prospect. But man, that’s a killer name.

It’s also worth mentioning that Gift and Neverauskas were arrested together in a bar fight last August in Toledo, so there is already a good basis for some bonding here.

Good luck, Gift. Gift Ngoepe. Mr. Ngoepe. G-Ngo. Man, I could do this all day.