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

14 Comments

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.

Kolten Wong lashes out after losing his starting role with the Cardinals

Getty Images
1 Comment

Kolten Wong is no longer the only second baseman being considered for a starting role on the Cardinals’ roster, and he’s not happy about it. On Saturday, GM John Mozeliak and manager Mike Matheny hinted that Wong could lose playing time to Jedd Gyorko or Greg Garcia in 2017 — in other words, an infielder who brings a little more pop at the plate. Prior to the Cardinals’ game against the Marlins on Sunday, Wong gave his heated response to the media. Via Ben Frederickson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

I don’t think you give somebody a contract for no reason,” Wong said. “When you are given a contract, you are expected to get a chance to work through some things and figure yourself out. Josh Donaldson, Jose Bautista, all these guys never figured their stuff out until later on down the road. It’s the big leagues. It’s tough, man. For me, the biggest thing is I just need people to have my back. When that comes, it will be good. But, I think right now, it’s just staying with my play, understanding I’m working toward getting myself more consistent, understanding what kind of player I can be. If that’s going to be with another team, so be it.

When pressed, Wong said that he would rather be traded away from St. Louis than step into a limited role with the team. “I don’t want to be here wasting my time,” he told the press. “I know what kind of player I am. If I don’t have the belief here, then I’ll go somewhere else.” The 26-year-old was inked to a five-year, $25.5 million extension prior to the 2016 season, complete with a $12.5 million option and $1 million buyout.

Part of Wong’s frustration stems from the Cardinals’ backtracking on their stated commitment to him as their starting second baseman last winter. Mozeliak admitted that while Wong had the defensive tools necessary to hold down the position, he failed to impress at the plate. It’s an argument that Wong hasn’t been able to rebut this spring, going 8-for-44 with two extra bases and 10 strikeouts in camp. He hasn’t looked much better in the regular season, sustaining a career .248/.309/.370 batting line with a .678 OPS and 5.1 fWAR over four years with the organization.

Still, the second baseman feels that he should have been given some heads up that he was playing to keep his starting role this spring, admitting that he entered camp with the mentality of someone who had a guaranteed spot on the Cardinals’ roster and not someone whose job security was dependent on his day-to-day results. “I need the time to consistently figure out how to be me and succeed at this level,” said Wong. “Everybody goes through it. Not everybody is Mike Trout.”

The Tigers are trying to convert Anthony Gose into a pitcher

Getty Images
1 Comment

Tigers’ center fielder Anthony Gose wants to try his hand at pitching, according to comments made by manager Brad Ausmus on Sunday. Gose is poised to start the year in Triple-A Toledo after receiving a midseason demotion to Double-A last summer following an altercation with Triple-A manager Lloyd McClendon.

While the experiment won’t detract from Gose’s outfield work in Triple-A, the 26-year-old is expected to take on additional bullpen sessions throughout the year. According to MLB.com’s Jason Beck, the left-handed hitter last took the mound in high school, where his fastball was clocked as fast as 97 m.p.h. Gose ultimately rejected the idea of starting his professional career as a pitcher, despite receiving favorable assessments from scouts.

Ausmus said the idea first surfaced at the end of the 2016 season. It appears to be a fallback option for the outfielder, who has struggled at the plate over his five-year career in the majors. Via Chris McCosky of the Detroit News:

Doolittle in Oakland did it and he was in the big leagues a couple of years later,” Ausmus said. “It’s going to take some time. He’s going to have to be a sponge and catch up on experience fast. But we feel it’s worth investigating.