Yesterday I wrote about scoops regarding player transactions and the like, offering my somewhat rambling take on it all.
Today Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times has his own take, and it’s much better informed and, frankly, a lot more interesting than mine:
Readers don’t go online to read Rosenthal and Heyman for the latest in-depth, investigative feature about their particular teams. But for breaking stuff around the game of baseball, those guys are really good at it. And they’ve both done the newspaper thing — beat writing, column writing — extremely well in the past. This is just a different gig for them. And one their websites care dearly about.
Newspapers? Sure, they love to be first. But these days, more and more emphasis is being placed on getting it right.
There’s a lot more to that, including a fun anecdote which explains why I didn’t see Baker with all of us degenerates at the hotel bar during the Winter Meetings for the past couple of years.
If you’re at all interested in what people in baseball media think about baseball media, by all means, check Geoff’s take out. And yes, I promise: no more meta-content about blogging and baseball writing and stuff today. I know it gets old for some of you.
UPDATE: I lied. One more media thing: Michael S. Schmidt of the New York Times — who gets his share of scoops and has been the subject of some of my snark from time to time — is leaving the sports beat and will soon begin covering Iraq for the New York Times. Wow. That’s a far cry from baseball. Good luck, Michael, and keep your head down.
During the Pirates’ FanFest on Saturday, right-hander Gerrit Cole announced that he is back up to full health after being shut down with elbow inflammation in September. Per Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Cole said he’ll start a throwing program on Monday as he works on regaining his form for the 2017 season.
The 26-year-old pitched through 116 innings for the Pirates in 2016, delivering a 3.88 ERA and 2.5 WARP before landing on the disabled list in June with a triceps strain and again in August with elbow inflammation. It was a steep drop for the right-hander, who saw a considerable spike in his ERA and BB/9 rate and struggled to strike out batters at the 8.7 mark he managed in 2015.
The upside? Inflammation was the worst of Cole’s issues in 2016, and while the newfound health issues didn’t help his case for an extension, a more serious injury doesn’t appear to be on the horizon.
The Astros, Braves and Nationals came sniffing around White Sox left-hander Jose Quintana during the Winter Meetings, but each appeared to find the Sox’ asking price well beyond what they were willing to give up for the starter. On Saturday, Peter Gammons revealed that the White Sox had floated Francis Martes, Kyle Tucker and Joe Musgrove as a possible return for Quintana.
It’s a strategy that worked well for Chicago in the past, most recently when they dealt Chris Sale to the Red Sox for Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech, among others, and flipped Adam Eaton to the Nationals for a trio of pitching prospects. Astros’ GM Jeff Luhnow didn’t appear eager to sacrifice some of his core talent to net a high-end starter, however, and told the Houston Chronicle’s Jake Kaplan as much on Wednesday:
We’re prepared to trade players to improve our club right now. […] We’re just not prepared to trade away players that are core to our production in 2017, and those are sometimes the players that are required to get these deals done.
While Lunhow was speaking specifically to the inclusion of third baseman Alex Bregman in future deals, it’s not unrealistic to think that top prospects Francis Martes and Kyle Tucker would also be considered instrumental to the Astros’ plans for the next few seasons.
Martes, 21, currently sits atop the team’s top prospect list on MLB.com. The right-hander blazed through his first full season in Double-A Corpus Christi, posting a 3.30 ERA and career-best 9.4 K/9 over 125 1/3 innings in 2016. Tucker, meanwhile, profiles as the Astros’ second-best prospect and made a successful jump to High-A Lancaster last season, slashing .339/.435/.661 in 69 PA. Rookie right-hander Joe Musgrove is the only player left off the top prospect list, but he got off to a decent start with the club in 2016 as well, going 4-4 with a 4.06 ERA and 3.44 K/BB rate in 62 innings during his first major league season.