Chris Ray was one of the youngest closers in baseball in 2006, saving 33 games for the Orioles as a 24-year-old, but his career was derailed by Tommy John elbow surgery the next season and he hasn’t been the same since, posting a 31/25 K/BB ratio in 56 innings for the Giants and Rangers in 2010.
Ray is still just 29 years old and will try to resurrect his career in Seattle, signing a minor-league contract with the Mariners that includes an invitation to spring training.
Larry Stone of the Seattle Times notes that he’ll be among at least 11 non-roster invite pitchers in Mariners camp, but speculates that “Ray appears to have a decent shot of making the team.” He has a 5.27 ERA in 99 innings since going under the knife, but Ray’s average fastball clocked in at 93.9 miles per hour last season and the Mariners will be sorting through several young relievers who’re short on experience.
Rick Morissey of the Chicago Sun-Times published an article on Sunday giving a bit of insight into Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein. When Epsten was younger, he dabbled in sportswriting, but quickly realized the trade wasn’t for him.
As Morissey details, when Epstein was 19 years old writing for Yale’s student newspaper, he wrote an article suggesting the school’s football coach should be fired during what would become a 3-7 season. Epstein was told during the meeting that one writer would defend the coach and one would call for his job. “It was a lesson in the way that the world of journalism sometimes works. It was an eye-opener for me. I regret it, and I’ve happily moved on.”
Epstein continued, “I realized I didn’t want to be a sportswriter when I was interning with the Orioles back in ’92, ’93, ’94. I did do a lot of media-relations stuff, and I saw that the life of a sportswriter is pretty lonely. You kind of work by yourself, sit there by yourself in the press box, go back to the hotel bar. Not to generalize.” He added, “But I really respect writing and respect sportswriters.”
He’s not wrong, and he seems to have found his calling as a front office executive. His Cubs are back in the World Series for the first time since 1945.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis tweeted on Sunday, “Got a little too close to [Francisco Lindor] during the celebration!! Freak accident but should be good to go by Tuesday! #cantkeepmeoutofthisgame!”
Per MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian, manager Terry Francona said Kipnis is dealing with a low ankle sprain, but he’s expected to be ready to go when the World Series begins on Tuesday. Kipnis went through fielding drills on Sunday.
Kipnis is hitting .167/.219/.367 with a pair of homers and four RBI in eight games this postseason.