Brandon Webb dugout

UPDATE: Brandon Webb won’t choose a team by today

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UPDATE: Jon Paul Morosi says that Webb is expected to decide on a team by this evening. Correction: Morosi said Webb isn’t expected to pick a team today.  I win the award for reading comprehension fail. I don’t think that changes anything in the analysis, however: the Rangers and Cubs are the front runners, but the Nats could be lurking too. And as I say below, pie continues to be better than cake.

In other news, that pie comment in the last update created a tremendous cake vs. pie debate on Twitter.  For the record, I’m Team Pie. You may feel free to like cake if you prefer, but if you do, know this: you are wrong and are probably some kind of communist.

10:05 AM: This may be the fastest update I’ve ever had, but as soon as I posted this, Ed Price of FanHouse said that Webb is not in Texas. I don’t know who’s right, but I know this: if someone reported that pie is tasty, within five minutes someone would refute the report because that’s just how things go these days.

10:01 AMThat comes from T.R. Sullivan, who reports that Webb is in Texas and is meeting with Ron Washington and pitching coach Mike Maddux.  Sullivan also relays an interesting fact of which I was not aware: the Rangers’ team physician is the guy who operated on Webb’s shoulder in 2009.

As we’ve said continuously, Webb presents a really big risk. Shoulders are way harder to deal with than elbows, and there hasn’t been much to suggest that Webb is 100%. Apart from is word anyway.  But if he’s not too pricey, whoever gets him stands a chance to reap some tremendous upside.*

*Note: I spoke with an Amish farmer this morning who owns an actual reaper. He said, yes, you can technically “reap” upside.  Not sure if I should trust his word, though, given that he told me this via text message, and I don’t think they can really do that, even if they do make great rocking chairs and cheese and stuff.

Report: Extension talks between Mets, Neil Walker are “probably dead”

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 21: Neil Walker #20 of the New York Mets sits in the dugout before the game against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park on August 21, 2016 in San Francisco, California.  The New York Mets defeated the San Francisco Giants 2-0. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
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On Sunday, it was reported that second baseman Neil Walker and the Mets were discussing a potential three-year contract extension worth “north of $40 million.” Those discussions took a turn for the worse. The Mets feel extension talks are “probably dead,” according to Mike Puma of the New York Post.

Walker underwent a lumbar microdisectomy in September, ending his 2016 season during which he hit .282/.347/.476 with 23 home runs and 55 RBI over 458 plate appearances.

The Mets may not necessarily need to keep Walker around as it has some potential options up the middle waiting in the minor leagues. Though Amed Rosario is expected to stick at shortstop, Gavin Cecchini — the club’s No. 3 prospect according to MLB Pipeline — could shift over to second base.

Rick Ankiel drank vodka before a start to deal with the yips

9 Apr 2000: Rick Ankiel #66 of the St. Louis Cardinals winds back to pitch the ball during the game against the Milwaukee Brweers at the Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri. The Cardinals defeated the Brewers 11-2. Mandatory Credit: Elsa Hasch  /Allsport
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The story of Rick Ankiel is well known by now. He was a phenom pitcher who burst onto the scene with the Cardinals in 1999 and into the 2000 season as one of the top young talents in the game. Then, in the 2000 playoffs, he melted down. He got the yips. Whatever you want to call it, he lost the ability to throw strikes and his pitching career was soon over. He came back, however, against all odds, and remade his career as a solid outfielder.

It’s inspirational and incredible. But there is a lot more to the story that we’ve ever known. We will soon, however, as Ankiel is coming out with a book. Today he took to the airwaves and shared some about it. Including some amazing stuff:

On drinking in his first start after the famous meltdown in Game One of the 2000 National League division series against the Braves:

“Before that game…I’m scared to death. I know I have no chance. Feeling the pressure of all that, right before the game I get a bottle of vodka. I just started drinking vodka. Low and behold, it kind of tamed the monster, and I was able to do what I wanted. I’m sitting on the bench feeling crazy I have to drink vodka to pitch through this. It worked for that game. (I had never drank before a game before). It was one of those things like the yipps, the monster, the disease…it didn’t fight fair so I felt like I wasn’t going to fight fair either.”

Imagine spending your whole life getting to the pinnacle of your career. Then imagine it immediately disintegrating. And then imagine having to go out and do it again in front of millions. It’s almost impossible for anyone to contemplate and, as such, it’s hard to judge almost anything Ankiel did in response to that when he was 21 years-old. That Ankiel got through that and made a career for himself is absolutely amazing. It’s a testament to his drive and determination.