Guthrie_Jeremy

Baseball players and bad music go together

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Two items caught my eye this morning that make me realize how bad things have gotten with ballplayers and their love of bad music.

First is a post by MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince, detailing the walkup (and walkout) music of the Cleveland Indians. The takeaway: the vast majority of Indians like very bad music.  There are a couple of exceptions. Matt LaPorta likes a Tom Petty song, for example, but his list — which also includes Alabama and the Eagels — suggests that he may be 50 years-old.

Shelley Duncan comes out to “The Stroke” by Billy Squier, which is OK, I guess, but I have to scrutinize him pretty closely seeing as though my daughter likes him.  Would you let your daughter swoon over a Billy Squier fan?  Have you seen the video for “Rock me tonight?

Finally, why Chris Perez — a relief pitcher — comes out to “Firestarter” suggests that he’s either clueless of has a good sense of irony. I hope it’s the irony.

Then there’s Baltimore Orioles pitcher Jeremy Guthrie.  He’s his own sad case.  He was at MLB.com’s Fan Cave last week where an intervention was staged by Mike O’Hara and Ryan Wagner. I don’t think it will be a success:

I change my mind about this a lot, but at the moment, my walkup music would rotate between “What’d I Say” by Ray Charles, “Where is my Mind” by the Pixies and “How Soon is Now” by the Smiths. Yeah, that last one is kind of mopey for walkup music, but the intro is pretty sweet.

I’d normally say “don’t judge me” now, but I suppose I pretty much gave up my right to that.

Padres sign Trevor Cahill

Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Trevor Cahill (53) during the seventh inning of Game 3 in baseball's National League Division Series against the St. Louis Cardinals, Monday, Oct. 12, 2015, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)
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The Padres have signed Trevor Cahill to a one-year, $1.75 million contract.

As recently as the middle of the 2015 season it looked like Cahill’s career would meet a premature end, but after being released by the Braves and signing with the Cubs in August of that season he has been a remarkably effective reliever. He has posted a 2.61 ERA in 61 games in Chicago and has posted a strikeout rate far above his career norms.

He’s not someone you necessarily want taking the hill when the leverage is high, but in San Diego the leverage won’t be all that high all that often.

Justin Verlander: “I’m too old to be part of a rebuilding process”

DETROIT, MI - JULY 20: Justin Verlander #35 of the Detroit Tigers pitches in the eighth inning of the game against the Minnesota Twins on July 20, 2016 at Comerica Park in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
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The Tigers have sent some mixed signals this winter. The offseason began with widespread reports that GM Al Avila was going to break up the team. Indeed, it was reported that he was willing to field offers for any and all players, on up to Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera.

As the offseason has unfolded, however, a rebuild has not materialized.

Avila traded away outfielder Cameron Maybin. He signed old friends Omar Infante and Alex Avila. He made the usual sorts of minor league signings every team makes to fill out the roster. Detroit still needs a center fielder and there continue to be rumors that outfielder J.D. Martinez and second baseman Ian Kinsler could be had for the right price, but it’s been pretty quiet at 2100 Woodward Avenue.

If that changes, however, and the Tigers do start to rebuild, there’s one key member of the team who doesn’t really want a part of it. From the Detroit Free Press:

Justin Verlander is 33 years and 330 days old.

He’s not that old.

But the Detroit Tigers ace right-hander – a 12-year major league veteran – is old enough in baseball years to know that he doesn’t really want to be part of a rebuilding process.

“Would it have been upsetting for me if we started trading away everybody?” he told MLB Network Radio on Friday morning. “I’m too old to be part of a rebuilding process.”

Verlander will make $28 million a year for each of the next three seasons and has a vesting option for 2020 if he finishes in the top 5 of the 2019 Cy Young vote. He had an excellent return-to-form in 2016, but his contract is still pretty big for a pitcher with his mileage, making it seem unlikely that he would be moved absent the team eating a huge portion of his salary. The same could be said for Miguel Cabrera who, despite still being one of the best hitters in baseball, is making between $28-32 million between now and 2023. A wonderful player, but an extraordinarily difficult contract to move. Both superstars have full no-trade protection as 10-5 men as well.

At the moment the rebuild does not seem to be materializing and the Tigers — as I think they should, probably — will enter 2017 aiming for the AL Central crown, not aiming at restocking their farm system.

But what will Verlander think, however, if the Tigers find themselves out of contention come May? What will he think if Ian Kinsler — a valuable player on a tradable contract — is sold off? Or Justin Upton? Or J.D. Martinez?

It’s worth watching.