My “Brian Cashman is trying to get himself fired” comment from yesterday was meant as a joke. Not a good one — a bit too dry; I think I told it better on Twitter before repurposing it for the post — but I don’t honestly think that the man is trying to get canned.
My real issue was that because of the other stuff that has happened lately — and because of how easy it is to turn a couple of data points of oddness into some big b.s. trend — eventually someone was going to make that sort of connection. Someone would list the random things like Cashman scaling down a building, losing out on Cliff Lee, hating the Rafael Soriano deal and all of that, and draw some distraction-inducing conclusion from it.
And someone did. Lupica, natch:
And there are people in baseball who wonder if Cashman has begun moving toward the door, if he really does want to go somewhere else and show the whole world that he is more a general manager than a money manager, that he doesn’t need to spend $200 million a year to build winning baseball teams.
Look at the wild, weird baseball winter Cashman has had already …
Then, as I suspected someone would, Lupica cites the highlights of Cashman’s winter, throws in extended recitation of that “Seinfeld” episode in which George tried to get fired by the Yankees and voila, Questions Have Been Raised.
And maybe it doesn’t matter because it’s just Lupica and that’s what he does. But a few days ago Brian Cashman said that dealing with the media garbage is the hardest part of his job. I presume this is the stuff he’s talking about. How nothing can be taken at face value. It all has to mean something. I don’t blame him for chafing at it. I know it’s silly to base your moves off of what the media might do, but I did kind of wish that Cashman wasn’t fueling the haters’ fire.
I know this is going to sound silly coming from someone who posts 20 times a day about all manner of unimportant topics, but sometimes things don’t demand a grand unification theory. Things just happen. Maybe they’re worth a few sentences on a blog here and there, but a full-blown 750-word column lends itself to grander explanations. Oftentimes ones that are purely illusionary.
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.
Twins’ right-handed pitching prospect Yorman Landa passed away in a tragic car accident on Friday night, per a team statement. According to Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press, 22-year-old Landa was in the passenger seat of the vehicle when it struck a fallen tree.
Daniel Szew, Landa’s agent, spoke highly of the young pitcher, who was one of his first clients back in 2010. Szew acknowledged Landa for helping him expand his company, LA Sports Management, and referred to the late pitcher as a leader and his “little brother.”
He was very even-keeled,” Szew said. “That was his personality. He wasn’t wild. That’s why this is so tragic. He wasn’t a wild guy. He was a happy-go-lucky guy who took life as it came, and he was super happy — always happy.
If leadership was one facet of Landa’s personality, so was loyalty. The 22-year-old agreed to a minor league contract with the Twins on Tuesday after getting cut from the 40-man roster, fulfilling a promise to re-sign with the club despite fielding multiple offers from competing teams. The deal included an invite to spring training, and comments from his agent suggested that the right-hander was “super confident” he’d break through to the major leagues in 2017, notwithstanding a troublesome shoulder injury that hampered his progress in High-A Fort Myers during the 2016 season.
“He never wanted to leave,” Szew told Berardino. “It was the only organization he ever knew.”
Our condolences go out to Landa’s family and the Twins organization during this terrible time.