Pedro, Pedro, Pedro:
It will take a big man to carry the Pirates offense next season, but not quite as big as Pedro Alvarez happens to be at the moment, apparently. Alvarez has put on a few pounds this off-season, and more than one team official isn’t thrilled about it. At last report, the third baseman had ballooned in excess of 240 pounds, at least 15 pounds more than he finished last season.
He’s young and he’ll lose it if he tries so this is no big whoop. And of course, he’s destined for first base anyway. But really, dude. This is not what any Pirates fans wanted to hear in late January.
UPDATE: Some readers are telling me that the source of this report — Piratesreport.com — is not reliable. I’m not familiar with them, so I really don’t know. Probably worth taking this with a grain of salt, though. Presumably MLB.com or the Post-Gazette or someone will follow up on this soon and we’ll know for sure.
(link via Big League Stew)
“When Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept for there were no more worlds to conquer.”
Or: “When Theo Epstein won World Series championships with the two most championship-starved franchises in baseball history, he got bored, and decided to run for the Senate or something.”
That latter bit is the premise of a Politico piece speculating that the Cubs president could go into politics one day. The story features an interview with former Obama chief strategist David Axlerod, who thinks Theo has what it takes. Mostly what he has is fame, popularity, good looks and money. No idea what his positions on issue are, but that other stuff goes a long way in politics these days.
Bonus: given what we just elected last fall, a guy who once had a little temper tantrum and dressed up in a gorilla suit is just as viable a candidate as anyone.
When you promote a player from the minors, the first and foremost consideration is whether or not he can help your ball club. But, assuming that’s taken care of, teams should really, really make it a priority to call up dudes with cool sounding names because it makes life more interesting for the rest of us.
The Pirates are doing that. The other night Dovydas Neverauskas made his big league debut. In addition to being the first Lithuanian born-and-raised player in major league history, it’s a solid, solid name. Now the Pirates are making another promotion: Gift Ngoepe.
Yep, Gift Ngoepe. He’s an infielder from South Africa, making the leap to the bigs due to David Freese‘s hamstring injury. Ngoepe, 27, was batting just .241/.308/.379 through 66 plate appearances this season with Triple-A Indianapolis, his ninth in the minors, so he’s not exactly a prospect. But man, that’s a killer name.
It’s also worth mentioning that Gift and Neverauskas were arrested together in a bar fight last August in Toledo, so there is already a good basis for some bonding here.
Good luck, Gift. Gift Ngoepe. Mr. Ngoepe. G-Ngo. Man, I could do this all day.