Things you may have missed while observing your seven year-old daughter silently putting the pieces together of the highly implausible Easter Bunny story but then — almost certainly — deciding not to tell you that she knows because she’s worried that if she does so there will be no more jelly beans for her:
- Tony La Russa fooled Dusty Baker. Eh, I don’t consider it much of a scam if it can be thwarted by the mark simply turning on a weather report.
- I sort of think this Jeff Wilpon story makes him seem funny and almost likable, but I can’t get past the fact that every picture I’ve ever seen of Wilpon makes him look like the smarmy secondary bad guy from some 80s movie. I’m thinking Paul Reiser in “Aliens.“
- Felipe Lopez is wearing out his welcome someplace? Why, I never.
- Neftali Feliz has shoulder inflammation and is on the DL. I was going to hold off judgment on this because it’s not like I have any medical knowledge or, really, any specialized knowledge about wear and tear on pitchers. I will note, however, that during last night’s Cards-Reds game, Orel Hershisher and Bobby Valentine both talked about how, pitch counts aside, a less durable arm may be better served as a starter than a reliever because it won’t be used as often in a starting role. This was in connection to Aroldis Chapman, but it makes me wonder if a set routine and less frequent outings may be a better call for Feliz.
- I’ve heard tell of this “Chase Utley,” but I figured he was more myth than man. Now some say we’ll see him come late May.
- Franklin Gutierrez has something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.
- Dice-K continues to dominate. Last week I suggested this was a case of kidnapping or mistaken identity. Now I’m convinced that it’s more of a Robert-Johnson-at-the-Crossroads situation.
- Russell Martin is dominating too. With him I’m more inclined to believe that it’s just a matter of health, fitness, friendlier ballparks and a hot streak.
No, I’m not sure what Mookie’s stance is on Santa.
From Jon Heyman of CBS Sports comes word that the Orioles “like” free agent starter Yovani Gallardo and “have reached out to him” to gauge his interest in coming to Baltimore and what that might cost.
Gallardo rejected a one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer from the Rangers earlier this month and so his free agency is tied to draft pick compensation, but that shouldn’t hurt his bottom line all that much.
The 29-year-old right-hander posted a solid 3.42 ERA in 184 1/3 innings (33 starts) this past season for Texas and he pitched well in his one ALDS start.
Heyman reported a few weeks ago that the Diamondbacks are interested, and the Cubs, Blue Jays, and Dodgers were tied to him just ahead of the July 31 trade deadline.
David Price has expressed a desire to return to Toronto, where he finished out the 2015 season, but FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal writes Wednesday that the Blue Jays “are not expected to be a major factor in his free agency.”
The teams that should be considered serious suitors, per Rosenthal, are the Cubs, Cardinals, Giants, Dodgers, and Red Sox — all deep-pocketed teams looking to contend in 2016. Money is apparently the issue for the Blue Jays, who are currently owned by Rogers Communications.
Price registered an outstanding 2.45 ERA, 1.076 WHIP, and 225/47 K/BB ratio in 220 1/3 innings (32 starts) this past season between the Tigers and Jays, finishing second in the American League Cy Young Award race behind Dallas Keuchel of the Astros.
The 30-year-old left-hander is probably looking for a six- or seven-year contract worth more than $25 million per season. He is represented by agent Bo McKinnis.
Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald wrote three weeks ago that the Marlins were probably going to explore an extension this winter with second baseman Dee Gordon. And it sounds like those talks are underway.
Via beat writer Joe Frisaro of MLB.com:
As a guest on MLB Network’s “Hot Stove” show Wednesday morning, Gordon confirmed his camp has been in talks with the Marlins regarding a multiyear deal. A source told MLB.com that the discussions are preliminary and have just recently started.
“My agent is doing the talking,” Gordon said on the show. “They’re just keeping me in the loop. I think it’s going pretty well right now. We’ll see how that goes. I’m just playing the waiting game. We’re going to do the right thing.”
The 27-year-old carries three more seasons of salary arbitration, so there’s no real rush to get something done before next spring. Gordon carries quite a bit of leverage after posting a career-best .333/.359/.418 slash line in 145 games this past season for the Fish. He led all major leaguers in hits (205) and stolen bases (58).
Bud Norris has found a home for his attempt at a bounceback season, signing a one-year deal with the Braves. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com says it’s worth $2.5 million, which is a huge cut from his $8.8 million salary this year.
Norris had established himself as a solid mid-rotation starter from 2009-2014, but had a brutal 2015 season split between the Orioles and Padres with a 6.72 ERA in 83 innings and a late-season move to the bullpen.
In announcing the signing the Braves referred to Norris as a starting pitcher, so joining the rotation for a rebuilding team gives him a chance to get his career back on track with an eye on hitting the open market as a free agent again next offseason. And if he fares well, the Braves could use him to add a prospect or two at the trade deadline.