I keep talking about the three-year, $21 million contract offer the Orioles have out to Adam LaRoche as if it’s written in stone someplace, but it’s not. Yes, it’s been reported by multiple outlets, but today Buck Showalter was on MLB Network Radio and, while confirming that the Orioles are interested in LaRoche, he said that the offer being reported wasn’t actually in place.
I didn’t hear it live and I don’t have the transcript. All I have is Jim Duquette’s tweet that Showalter said “that report’s not right by the way.” Kind of non-specific. It’s possible that there’s an offer but it’s lower. It’s possible that it’s more of a framework than an offer. Hard to say based on Showalter’s comment, which was apparently a mere aside. But he did say that everyone is getting it wrong.
If there really was no hard offer out there it would explain a hell of a lot. Such as why Adam LaRoche hasn’t accepted it seeing as that it’s more money and years than you figure he’d get anywhere else.
Still in need of explaining: why each winter there are reports of giant offers to Adam LaRoche that don’t go contradicted for extended periods. Remember last year when he was supposedly getting $17 million from the Giants? yeah, that wasn’t true. Except everyone was saying it was for a long damn time. Normally that kind of misinformation is debunked rather quickly.
With that note, the commenters who like to take me to task for liking contract offer gossip may commence their bashing and moralizing.
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.
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.