UPDATE: It’s Braves’ pitching coach Roger McDowell. Details here.
8:25 AM: Gloria Allred is someone with whom you’re familiar even if you don’t know it. She’s the extremely high-profile (mostly) civil rights lawyer who will, almost always, land some client or another in connection with whatever massive tabloidy and/or entertainment story is dominating the media at any given time. Whether it’s O.J., Princess Diana, Scott Peterson, Borat our countless other arglebargles or fooforaws, you can bet your bippy Allred is involved somehow, usually with a peripheral character, but not always.
My favorite Allred moment was actually a fictitious one. In a “South Park” episode she represented Big Gay Al when he sued the Boy Scouts for discriminating against homosexuals. Then, when Al tries to drop the lawsuit, she accuses Al himself of being a homophobe. An over-the-top portrayal? Just barely, God love her.
In any event, baseball is going to get all they want of Ms. Allred today, as TMZ is reporting that she’s going to hold a press conference this afternoon in which she’ll accuse a major league coach — identity unknown at the moment — of making anti-gay slurs at a male fan and then, when the man complained about such language being used in front of his nine-year-old daughter, allegedly said “kids don’t f***ing belong at the baseball park.” There were allegedly threats made after that, but I’m sure Allred will explain it in more vivid detail than I could ever hope to.
If true, this could be the most explosive verbal assault from a baseball coach since that reporter asked Tommy Lasorda what he thought of Dave Kingman’s performance.
With the Braves on the cusp of formalizing their one-year deal with Kurt Suzuki, the market for free agent catcher Matt Wieters is dwindling. ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick references an inside source that lists the Angels, Rockies and Reds as potential suitors for the 30-year-old’s services.
Wieters is coming off of an eight-year career with the Orioles. In 2016, he played through his first full year after undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2014 and batted .243/.302/.409 with 17 home runs and a .711 OPS in 464 PA. A return to Baltimore in 2017 isn’t out of the question, Crasnick writes, citing some within the team that would be open to Wieters stepping into a DH role and catching platoon with Wellington Castillo. However, he also points out that the front office appears divided on the veteran catcher, and sees the Orioles as a long shot for the foreseeable future.
The Angels have already been tied to Wieters this offseason, while the Rockies and Reds don’t appear to have made any formal inquiries so far. Both could use a veteran presence behind the dish, as the Rockies are planning to platoon rookie catcher Tom Murphy with 24-year-old Tony Wolters in the spring. The Reds, meanwhile, are banking on a quick recovery for 28-year-old Devin Mesoraco, who missed most of the 2016 season after undergoing shoulder and hip surgery and forced the club to rely almost exclusively on back-up backstop Tucker Barnhart.
The Red Sox are expecting to go to an arbitration hearing with left-handed reliever Fernando Abad, per Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe. Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski said there was a “decent chance” a hearing would be necessary after countering Abad’s $2.7 million request with $2 million.
Abad, 31, pitched just 12 2/3 innings for Boston after the club acquired him from Minnesota at the trade deadline last season. The lefty earned a cumulative 3.66 ERA, 4.2 BB/9 and 7.9 SO/9 for the two teams in 2016. He received $1.25 million in 2016 and will remain under club control (through arbitration) in 2017. A $2.7 million salary would be a hefty increase for the veteran reliever, who has seen a significant decline since he put up a 1.57 ERA for the Athletics in 2014 and who has not amassed more than 0.6 fWAR in any single season to date.
While the Red Sox aren’t close to settling with Abad, Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald reports that they may be closing in on a settlement with left-handed starter Drew Pomeranz. Pomeranz filed at $5.7 million, while the Sox felt more comfortable at $3.6 million. The two are expected to meet somewhere in the middle to avoid an arbitration hearing later this winter.