Not so long ago Ian Snell was a promising young starter for the Pirates, throwing 208 innings with a 3.76 ERA and solid 177/68 K/BB ratio as a 25-year-old in 2007.
Unfortunately it’s been all downhill since then, as Snell pitched his way out of Pittsburgh and then failed to resurrect his career in Seattle, where he was paid $4.3 million to go 0-5 with a 6.41 ERA in 46 innings last year.
Snell had to settle for a minor-league contract with St. Louis this winter and today the Cardinals reassigned him to minor-league camp, at which point Snell announced his retirement at age 29.
Snell has lost about 1.5 miles per hour off his fastball compared to his peak, but still throws in the low-90s and certainly could have struck around for a few more seasons at Triple-A waiting for another shot in the majors. Of course, he’s already earned nearly $10 million and isn’t even 30 years old yet, so it’s tough to blame him too much for calling it a career.
OXON HILL, MD — Edwin Encarnacion began the offseason as, arguably, the second most desirable free agent on the market. As the Winter Meetings approach their end, however, he is a man without a team. And may not have a team any time soon.
Many teams have been rumored to be checking in on Encarnacion, but the defining trait of his free agency thus far has been clubs taking a pass. The most recent one being the Rangers, who are reported to simply not have the money to sign him, despite him filling a clear offensive need in Texas. Maybe the Rangers would be more competitive on the free agent market if they had a new stadium. Who knows?
The Blue Jays, for whom he most recently played, offered him a four-year, $80 million deal that most figured was a lowball, and when he rejected it, they moved on to Kendrys Morales. The Red Sox acquired Mitch Moreland. The Yankees are reported to be passing. The most recent team linked to Encarnacion is the Indians, who are reported to have an offer out to him, but at this point it’s likely far lower than what most free agent watchers thought he might get a few weeks ago. A four-year, $90 million deal did not seem crazy for him in October. In December, there is speculation that he could be had for $60 million over that same term which, frankly, would be a bargain. That’s less than Mark Melancon, the third best closer on the market, got from the Giants.
There have been a lot of remarkable things that have happened in the past few weeks, but one of the most unexpected things would be one of the top bats in the game getting second-tier closer money.
OXON HILL, MD — Bill King has been selected as the 2017 recipient of the Ford C. Frick Award, presented annually for excellence in broadcasting by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.
King, one of the iconic voices of Bay Area sports, was known for his handlebar mustache and his signature “Holy Toledo!” exclamation. King broadcast A’s games for 25 seasons, from 1981 through 2005. He likewise broadcast Oakland Raiders and Golden State Warriors games and got his start as an announcer for the Giants in the late 1950s after they moved to San Francisco.
King passed away in October 2005. With the Frick Award, however, he has now been immortalized among baseball broadcasters.