Scott Boras is the best.
If you give him lemons, he won’t be content to make lemonade, he’ll make a lemon curd white chocolate cheesecake. If he represented a pitcher with no arms and no legs he’d talk about how the guy should get big money because he’ll never tear a ligament. If Stephen Hawking wanted to play baseball, Boras would argue that his mental toughness compensates for his lack of foot speed and he wouldn’t be afraid to make vague-yet-complimentary allusions to Lou Gehrig to boot.
Put simply, the man is an artist.
So it should be no surprise that Boras is over six months ahead of the game in selling Prince Fielder to the free agent pursuing public. Ken Rosenthal reports:
“Prince is a remarkable athlete,” Boras says. “He has size, speed and strength. In football, his comp is Warren Sapp.
“It is rare that a strong, square body type has such flexibility, dexterity and athleticism. Among power-hitting first basemen his foot speed and agility is supreme and without knowing first-hand, he is most likely the better candidate (than Sapp) for ‘Dancing With the Stars.’”
I would be curious to see the ratio of articles about Prince Fielder referring to him as “square” as opposed to other geometric shapes.
But really, I don’t think I can disagree with any of that. Fielder does look athletic out there. He is faster than he should be. It’s so easy to get hung up on his frame and actually miss the fact that he’s a better athlete than a lot of ballplayers. Not just a better ballplayer — he clearly is one of the best — but a better athlete. Honestly: on a purely athletic basis, isn’t Fielder a better bet than Adam LaRoche? I think so.
I agree with the way Rosenthal puts it in the article: Fielder is going to be one of the most interesting free agents of all time. He is once again knocking the cover off the ball. Meanwhile, Albert Pujols is struggling and now hurt. None of which makes Fielder the better player right now — he isn’t — but he may be the better free agent bet.
And Boras may not to have to even break a sweat making the sales pitch.
The Royals honored former pitcher Yordano Ventura prior to their first Cactus League game against the Rangers on Saturday. Ventura was killed in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic in late January.
Rangers’ third baseman Adrian Beltre and center fielder Carlos Gomez paid their respects to the pitcher with a floral arrangement that was laid on the mound. Both teams stood along the foul lines during a pregame video tribute that highlighted Ventura’s tenure with Kansas City. Following the game, Gomez spoke to the media about his relationship with Ventura, describing their frequent conversations during the season and commending the pitcher for having “the same passion that I had early in my career” (via WFAA.com’s Levi Weaver).
A plaque dedicated to the 25-year-old was also presented to club manager Ned Yost as a more permanent commemoration of Ventura’s contributions to the sport. Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star reports that the plaque will be mounted in the club’s spring training facilities alongside tributes to members of the Royals’ 2014 and 2015 playoff teams.
The full text of the plaque is below, via MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan:
A brother and a teammate, Yordano Ventura, passed away on the morning of January 22 in his native Dominican Republic, at the age of 25. He signed with the Royals as a 17-year-old, eventually making the big league team in 2013 as a 22-year-old. On most days, he could be found laughing and joking with his baseball family in the clubhouse. However, on days when he pitched, that smile was replaced by a quiet confidence and an intense fire, which he brought to the mound for every start. He had many highlights in his abbreviated career, not the least of which was throwing eight shutout innings in Game #6 of the 2014 World Series to force a Game #7 vs. San Francisco.
Right-hander Gerrit Cole is set to take the mound for the Pirates on Opening Day, according to a team announcement on Saturday. It’s a spot that was most recently occupied by former Pirate Francisco Liriano, who made three consecutive Opening Day starts for the club before getting dealt to the Blue Jays last August.
The 26-year-old produced career-worst numbers during his fourth run with the Pirates in 2016, due in large part to bouts of inflammation in his right elbow. He finished the year with a 3.88 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 116 innings before getting shut down in September to avoid further injury to his elbow. When healthy, however, Cole has been lights-out for the Pirates. Prior to his injury-laden campaign last year, he touted a career 3.07 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 8.5 SO/9 and cumulative 10.2 fWAR from 2013 through 2015.
Cole will go toe-to-toe with the Red Sox during Boston’s home opener on Monday, April 3. Right-hander Jameson Taillon is scheduled to make the second start of the year, while fellow righty Ivan Nova will cover the Pirates’ home opener against the Braves on April 7. The Pirates’ third and fifth starters have yet to be announced.