Call me crazy, but I think the Dodgers’ current woes are the result of Major League Baseball allowing an overly-leveraged dilettante into the ownership club and then watching as that dilettante did even worse things to the franchise’s business than anyone could have imagined.
George Vecsey of the New York Times has another theory, however: he says the Dodgers are being impacted by “a communal curse” visited upon the organization because, over 50 years ago, Walter O’Malley decided to move the team from Brooklyn to Los Angeles. Vecsey calls it “The Flatbush Curse.”
Anyone who has read this blog for a while knows how I feel about curses. At best they’re little psychological tools people use to cope with perceived injustices. At worst they’re cynical fabrications used to sell books and t-shirts and stuff. The common denominator is that, for any given “curse” there are a dozen better reasons why a given misfortune has taken place.
But let’s say there was a Flastbush Curse. Let’s say some little old woman from Brooklyn called it into being on New Year’s Day 1958 with great drama, gesticulation and the spilling of lamb’s blood. Even if that happened, isn’t this the worst curse ever? Before it was invoked, the Dodgers won nine pennants and one World Series. After it was invoked they won nine pennants and five World Series, in a far shorter period of time.
It’s almost enough to make you think that the current problems of the team have some other explanation than the move to Los Angeles. A move that, by far, was the smartest thing the Dodgers ever did.
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.