If you can get past the introductory love story about Adrian Gonzalez and his high school sweetheart (and now wife) in Gordon Edes’ latest at ESPN Boston, you’ll read an interesting inside account of the negotiations between Adrian Gonzalez and the Boston Red Sox during their 24-hour negotiating window earlier this month.
Edes reports that Gonzalez and the Red Sox had hashed out a basic framework of a contract extension, but that the Sox were worried about Gonzalez’s shoulder, which he won’t be able to test until the spring. As a result, the Sox were wary of doing a deal. At the same time, there was anxiety on the part of the Red Sox that, if Albert Pujols signed an extension between now and then, the parameters discussed by Gonzalez and the team would be out the window and Gonzalez would be asking for a ton more. What to do about the Pujols problem? Adrian Gonzalez had an answer:
“That was one of their comments, what if he gets this humongous deal and you want to be closer to him?” Gonzalez said. “I said, ‘Trust me. What the market is today might change by then, but we’re going to negotiate based on what the market is today.”’
That’s a pretty bold promise. In many ways a noble one. But at the same time, maybe a foolish one too. Under such circumstances, Gonzalez accepts all of the risk of waiting several months to do an extension yet reaps none of the rewards if that waiting turns out to be to his benefit.
Terrible, terrible news: Christian Moreno of ESPN reports that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura has been killed in an automobile accident in the Dominican Republic. His death has been confirmed by police. He was only 25 years-old. There are as of yet no details about the accident.
Ventura was a four-year veteran, having debuted in 2013 but truly bursting onto the scene for the Royals in 2014. That year he went 14-10 with a 3.20 ERA in 183 innings, ascending to the national stage along with the entire Royals team with some key performances in that year’s ALDS and World Series. The following year Ventura won 13 games for the World Champion Royals and again appeared in the playoffs and World Series.
Ventura was often in the middle of controversy — he found himself in several controversies arising out of his habit of hitting and brushing back hitters — but he was an undeniably electric young talent who was poised to anchor the Royals rotation for years to come. His loss, like that of Jose Fernandez just this past September, is incalculable to both his team, his fans and to Major League Baseball as a whole.
Our thoughts go out to his family, his friends, his teammates and his fans.
Free agent right-hander Tim Lincecum isn’t ready to hang up his cleats just yet. At least, that’s the word from Lincecum’s agent, Rick Thurman, who says the 32-year-old is still “throwing and getting ready for the season” (via Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News).
Lincecum may not be ready to enter retirement, but another quote from Thurman suggests that he’ll be picky about where he pitches next. He doesn’t appear open to pitching overseas, and despite not having a contract for 2017 (or even any serious suitors), the right-hander is set on pitching in the big leagues this year. Whether or not he’s willing to take a bullpen role to do so remains to be seen.
While Baggarly predicts some interest in the veteran righty, there’s not much in Lincecum’s recent history to inspire faith in him as a starter, or even a reliever. He picked up a one-year, $2.5 million contract with the Angels following his hip surgery in 2015, and went 2-6 in 2016 with a 9.16 ERA, 5.4 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 over 38 1/3 innings. At this point, a minor league contract seems like the surest path back to major league success, though he’s unlikely to find an open spot on the Giants’ or Angels’ rosters anytime soon.