UPDATE: Peace in our time.
11:32 AM: In the wake of the Jorge Posada Sit-down-a-palooza, Derek Jeter had this to say:
“My reaction was that I didn’t think it was that big a deal,” Jeter said about the Posada incident. “If you need a day, you need a day. It’s over. It’s done. It’s not the first time a player asked out of a lineup. Joe says if you feel like you need a day, let him know. It’s understandable … Let the person dealing with it go first. I like to know what I’m talking about before I speak.”
That last bit seemed to refer to Brian Cashman and his in-game comments on Saturday, suggesting that Cashman spoke out of turn. Jeter also said that he didn’t think that Posada had to apologize and that it wasn’t a big deal. Now Buster Olney reports that those comments have angered the Yankees’ front office who, according to Olney, were so mad at Posada over all of this that they considered releasing him on the spot.
Setting that insta-release stuff aside — really? — why on Earth someone in the Yankees front office felt it necessary to tell Buster Olney that they’re mad at Jeter over all of this is beyond me. While the big picture issue of what to do with Posada isn’t going away any time soon, this little controversy was over. It was dying, wrapped up with an apology and a standing ovation from the fans 24 hours after the the flareup began. And now someone — Randy Levine? Cashman? A random Steinbrenner? — is throwing gas on the fire?
There was a time when the Yankees front office fought with its own players. Then there was an extended time when it did not. That latter period correlated with the greatest success the team had seen in decades. I won’t say that peace caused the success because that overstates the power of harmony in an undeniably chaotic world, but it sure as hell didn’t hurt it.
I understand that Posada’s act was frustrating and that Jeter’s comments could be construed as critical of Cashman (though I think they were pretty tame ). But the suits not taking the high road here is not good for anyone.
Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports that the Tigers are in discussions with free agent starter Jordan Zimmermann. His sources have told him that the talks have become “serious”.
Zimmermann, 29, has a career 3.32 ERA across parts of seven seasons in the majors. He finished fifth in National League Cy Young Award balloting in 2014, finishing with a 2.66 ERA and a 182/29 K/BB ratio over 199 2/3 innings.
Among starters who have amassed at least 1,000 innings since 2009, only Cliff Lee, Dan Haren, Madison Bumgarner, and Zack Greinke have compiled a better strikeout-to-walk ratio than Zimmermann’s 4.09. While he doesn’t have the star power of other free agents such as Greinke or David Price, the Tigers would certainly improve their rotation by bringing him on board.
Having already added Jesse Chavez and J.A. Happ to the mix and re-signing Marco Estrada early in the offseason, Blue Jays interim GM Tony LaCava said the team will continue to pursue pitching upgrades, as Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports. Nicholson-Smith added that LaCava declined to comment on free agent ace David Price. It is believed that the Jays will not pursue Price and other big-name free agent starting pitchers given their November activity.
The Jays re-signed Estrada to a two-year, $26 million deal on November 13, acquired Chavez from the Athletics in exchange for reliever Liam Hendriks on November 20 and signed Happ to a three-year, $36 million deal on Friday.
Nicholson-Smith notes in a column on Sportsnet that the Jays need to address the bullpen in particular. That is especially true after swapping Hendriks, who had a career-best 2.92 ERA out of the Jays’ bullpen in 2015, for a back-end starting pitcher.
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports spoke to an anonymous baseball executive, who said that Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon is “untradeable”. The Nationals are hoping to trade both Papelbon and the man he displaced, Drew Storen.
Papelbon has a poor reputation in baseball, particularly after a dugout altercation with superstar outfielder Bryce Harper. Focusing strictly on what he does on the field, Papelbon still gets the job done. The 35-year-old finished the last season with a combined 2.13 ERA, 24 saves, and a 56/12 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings between the Phillies and Nationals.
The Nationals owe Papelbon $11 million for the 2016 season.
Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper reports that corner infielder Mike Hessman has retired from professional baseball after 20 seasons. Hessman hit 433 home runs in the minor leagues, an all-time record. He broke Buzz Arlett’s record this past August and with style as #433 was a grand slam.
Hessman, 37, was selected in the 16th round of the 1996 draft by the Braves and remained with the organization through the 2004 season. He then went to the Tigers from 2005-09, the Mets in 2010, then drifted into the Astros and Reds’ farm systems before returning to the Tigers for the last two years.
Hessman took 250 plate appearances at the major league level, batting .188/.272/.422 with 14 home runs and 33 RBI.