Does the 2010-2011 offseason got you down, Yankees fans? Then why not look ahead to next winter? Larry Koestler of Yankeeist does that this morning. The upshot? Seems like the free agent pickins are a tad slim:
A quick glance at the free agent starting pitching list yields the following potentially interesting names: Mark Buehrle,Chris Carpenter (though he has a team option), Edwin Jackson, Joel Pineiro and C.J. Wilson … For fun, a quick perusal of position players — just in case the Yankees end up trading one of theirs — yields no one particularly interesting in the infield, and includes outfielders Jose Bautista, David DeJesus, J.D. Drew, Corey Hartand Yankeeist favorite Josh Willingham.
Larry’s list doesn’t include guys like Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols, probably because Larry seems like a reasonable guy and doesn’t engage in that “sure, we could sign Pujols to be our DH” nonsense that so many of you people like to traffic in down in the comments. Could it happen? Sure, nothing is impossible in Yankees land, but it’s just not reasonable to think that the Yankees are going to base their plans on that kind of thing. Fielder and Pujols have every incentive to avoid DH situations as they head into free agency and I won’t believe that they’d go to the Bronx until the minute I see them wearing pinstripes at a press conference.
The overall lesson here? Teams are getting better and better about locking up young talent. There are fewer stud free agents hitting the market. For the Yankees to maintain their dominance in the coming years they’re going to have to continue to improve their farm system — which they have done a good job of in recent years — and to be more aggressive in the trade market.
MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki reports that starter Clay Buchholz is at Citizens Bank Park for Wednesday night’s game against the Marlins. The right-hander recently underwent surgery to repair a partial tear of his flexor pronator mass. The timetable for his recovery is three to five months, but most are expecting him to miss the rest of the season since the Phillies aren’t legitimate contenders.
According to Zolecki, Buchholz apologized to GM Matt Klentak “and others” — presumably other front office staff and/or his teammates — for getting injured. Buchholz hopes to return to pitch in September.
It’s saddening to me, and indicative of the general anti-labor culture in sports, that a player feels obligated to apologize for getting injured on the job. Injuries are nothing new for Buchholz, which might have factored into his decision to apologize. Red Sox fans got on his case quite a bit over the years for his propensity to land on the disabled list. But it wasn’t like Buchholz was taking unnecessary risks; he simply did his job, which entails doing a lot of unhealthy movement with his arm. Buchholz owes no one an apology.
Buchholz isn’t the only player to have apologized for getting injured. Outfielder Hideki Matsui apologized to the Yankees in 2006. Starter Masahiro Tanaka apologized in 2014. Twins reliever Glen Perkins apologized last year. Even Madison Bumgarner sort of apologized for suffering injuries riding a dirt bike on an off-day, saying “It’s definitely not the most responsible decision I’ve made.” Because god forbid an athlete has interests and hobbies outside of his vocation.
Players are brought up in a sports culture that allows exorbitantly wealthy owners to bilk the players — laborers — at every possible turn. They’re mostly underpaid and poorly taken care of in the minors. If and when they reach the major leagues, their salaries are intentionally depressed for six years and their service time is toyed with (just ask Kris Bryant). Buchholz endured that and then endured the criticism that comes with having been a hyped prospect who mostly failed to live up to expectations. He’s gone above and beyond what he needed to do to have a successful career as a professional baseball player, even if it wasn’t as much as fans or front office personnel would have liked.
Update (5:22 PM ET): Thames is dealing with left hamstring tightness. Manager Craig Counsell says it’s “not a big deal,” Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.
Brewers first baseman Eric Thames left Wednesday afternoon’s game against the Reds in the top of the eighth inning with an apparent injury. Thames took his position to start the inning, but was replaced by Jesus Aguilar. Thames had flied out weakly to center field to end the previous inning, so perhaps something happened while he ran that out.
The Brewers should provide an update shortly on the exact nature of Thames’ early exit. Needless to say, losing Thames to the disabled list would be a huge blow to the 11-11 Brewers, as he entered Wednesday leading all of baseball in runs (25), home runs (11), slugging percentage (.929), and OPS (1.411). Thames was 1-for-3 with a single, a pair of walks, and two runs scored before leaving.