Here’s what went down over the past 48 hours:
- The Yankees are talking to Andruw Jones. Say what you will about the Yankees offseason thus far, but if they lose this one to the Phillies for less money, it’s gonna really hurt.
- Frank McCourt went to New York to plead with Major League Baseball to help him out in keeping the Dodgers. I picture Selig in his office talking to his consigliere and saying “do I have to see him?” not unlike Don Corleone before Luca Brasi came in during Connie’s wedding.
- Meanwhile Joe Torre was likewise petitioning MLB , in his case for Sandy Alderson’s old gig as an advisor to Selig. They should have hired him on the spot and made it his first task to give McCourt the bum’s rush out of the MLB offices.
- The Mets want another starter, but won’t pay much for one. This is totally shocking.
- We can make fun of the Chicago Sun-Times for mixing up pictures of Matt Garza and Joaquin Benoit, but I sorta live in fear of doing this myself.
- The Yankees are still thinking about Rafael Soriano. If form holds, there will be a report discounting any Yankee interest in him in 3 … 2 … 1 …
- The Rangers tried to get Matt Garza before the Cubs did. Or maybe it was Joaquin Benoit. We’re not entirely sure.
- I hate this world sometimes. I truly hate it.
- I kinda feel bad that Luis Castillo is always lumped into stories with Oliver Perez. I mean, no, he didn’t earn his contract either, but they are light years apart in terms of magnitude of suckitude.
- Here’s hoping Tony Gwynn gets better soon.
- My wife got me “Bull Durham” on DVD for Christmas, so now I can study the subject of baseball groupies much more closely. Pfun Pfact: the woman who played Millie is married to Tom Lennon from “The State” and “Reno: 911.” I just thought that was weird and that you should know about it.
And now on with our scheduled week.
In a last-second compromise before a scheduled heading today, first baseman Brandon Belt and the Giants have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $6.2 million deal.
Belt requested $7.5 million and the Giants countered at $5.3 million, so they’ve settled slightly on the team-friendly side of the midpoint. Belt will be arbitration eligible again next season for the final time before hitting the open market as a free agent.
He’s coming off a very good season in which he hit .280 with 18 homers and an .834 OPS in 137 games and Belt has a lifetime .803 OPS through age 27, making him one of MLB’s most underrated all-around first baseman.
Right-hander Dale Thayer and the Orioles have agreed to a minor-league contract that includes an invitation to spring training.
Thayer had a rough 2015 season for the Padres, posting a 4.06 ERA and spending time in the minors, but he was a solid part of San Diego’s bullpen from 2012-2014 with a combined 3.02 ERA and 173/50 K/BB ratio in 188 innings.
At age 35 there’s no guarantee that Thayer will look good enough to claim a spot on the Opening Day roster, but he’s got a strong chance to wind up pitching middle relief for Baltimore.
Taylor Featherston, who was designated for assignment by the Angels last week, has been traded to the Phillies for a player to be named later or cash.
Featherston stayed in the majors with the Angels for all of last season due to being a Rule 5 pick from the Rockies organization, but the 25-year-old infielder hit just .162 in 169 plate appearances.
He’s been much better in the minors, but nothing about his track record there screams quality regular and the Phillies are likely viewing him as a defense-first bench option for now.
Flags fly forever! Hooray for The Process championship!
Ah, sorry. This is about as much rooting as I’ll get to do this year, so cut me some slack.
This is the week when ESPN’s Keith Law releases his prospect and farm system rankings. He kicks off his content this week with a top-to-bottom ranking of all 30 farm systems. As a rule he limits his analysis to players who are currently in the minors and who have not yet exhausted their rookie of the year eligibility. The top system: the Atlanta Braves. The bottom: the Los Angeles Angels, about whom Law says “I’ve been doing these rankings for eight years now, and this is by far the worst system I’ve ever seen.” Enjoy Mike Trout, though, you guys.
If you want to know the reasons and the rankings of everyone in between you’ll have to get an ESPN Insider subscription. Sorry, I know everyone hates to pay for content on the Internet, but Keith and others who do this kind of work put a lot of damn work into it and this is what pays their bills. I typically don’t like to pay for content myself, but I do pay for an ESPN Insider subscription. It’s worth it for Law’s work alone. And though he drives me crazy sometimes, Buster Olney’s daily column/notes thing is also worth the money over the course of the year.