RIP, Randy Savage: Before the “Macho Man” Randy Poffo was a minor league baseball player

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Some very sad news from the wrestling world, as Randy “Macho Man” Savage died this morning in a car accident at age 58.

This isn’t a wrestling blog, so you’ll have to indulge me a bit, but as someone who grew up watching the WWF on Saturday mornings and used to jump off the couch after shouting “oooohhh yeah!” the news is an elbow drop to my childhood.

Most people know Savage from his great wrestling career or maybe from those Slim Jim commercials, but before he adopted the Macho Man persona Randy Poffo was a minor-league baseball player who spent 1971-1974 playing in the Cardinals’ and Reds’ farm systems.

Baseball-Reference.com has all his statistics, which I recommend viewing alongside this video of Savage and Miss Elizabeth entering the ring. He debuted at rookie-ball as an 18-year-old in 1971, hitting .286 with a .492 slugging percentage, and advanced to high Single-A before calling it quits with a .254 batting average in 289 career games.

RIP, Macho Man.

James Paxton will “nerd out big-time” to stay healthy next year

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To the surprise of, well, very few, the Mariners didn’t make the cut for the postseason this year. While they threw their hats in the ring for a wild card berth, their pitching staff just couldn’t stay healthy, from the handful of pitchers who contracted season-ending injuries in spring training to Felix Hernandez‘s shoulder bursitis to structural damage in Hisashi Iwakuma‘s right shoulder. Left-hander James Paxton missed 79 days with a lingering head cold, strained left forearm and pectoral strain. Heading into the 2018 season, the lefty told MLB.com’s Greg Johns that he plans to “nerd out big-time” in order to prepare for a healthy, consistent run with the club.

So far, Johns reports, that entails a new diet and workout program, hot yoga sessions and blood testing. “I just think there’s more I can do,” Paxton said. “I haven’t done the blood testing before. Finding out if there’s something I don’t know about myself. It’s just about learning and trying to find what works for me.”

When healthy, the 28-year-old southpaw was lights-out for the Mariners. He helped stabilize the front end of the rotation with a 12-5 record in 24 starts and supplemented his efforts with a 2.98 ERA, 2.4 BB/9 and 10.3 SO/9 through 136 innings. Despite taking multiple trips to the disabled list, he built up 4.6 fWAR — the most wins above replacement he’s compiled in any season of his career to date. Had he not been felled by a pectoral injury in mid-August — one that came with a five-week trip to the disabled list — the club might have been been able to make a bigger push for the playoffs.

Of course, even if Paxton manages to stay healthy next season, the Mariners still have the rest of the rotation to worry about. They cycled through 17 starters in 2017 and tied the 2014 Rangers with 40 total pitchers over the course of the season. Per GM Jerry Dipoto, their top four starters (Paxton, Hernandez, Iwakuma, and Tommy John candidate Drew Smyly) only contributed 17% of total innings pitched, just a tad below the 40% average. Finding adequate big league arms and compensating for injured aces (both current and former) will be tough. Still, getting a healthy, dominant Paxton back on the mound for 30+ starts would be a huge get for the team — whether or not the postseason is in their future next year.