Introducing Carlos Beltran: “RBI whore”

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Joel Sherman’s latest column is about the fury and backlash among Mets fans in the wake of Fred Wilpon’s comments about the team and its best players.  And he has some decent observations about how, if you’re a Mets player, you’re not likely to be all that motivated at the moment.

But there was one passage in there that really has me scratching my head. In it, he’s talking about how Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran are best served to look out for number one right now (you know; that thing they’ve been criticized for allegedly doing for years already) because the team obviously doesn’t care about them.  The passage:

Since baseball is an individual game wrapped in a team concept, selfishness by Beltran and Reyes actually could be a good thing. I heard that with Wright and Ike Davis out of the lineup and Jason Bay still in freefall, Terry Collins actually went to Beltran recently and told the switch-hitter to get greedy in RBI situations. The Mets manager liberated Beltran to essentially become an RBI whore.

I’d be curious to hear who Sherman heard this from. Because really, I find it shocking that baseball people actually say things like “hey, get greedy in RBI situations.”  Why? Because baseball people realize that baseball is not basketball, and one does not defer to teammates in scoring situations in the interests of either strategy or team chemistry.

While bunting or situational hitting to get a runner into scoring position in the first place is understandable, if there is already a runner on second or third base (i.e. Sherman’s “RBI situations”) the hitter is always going to be “greedy” to drive him in. Indeed, I’d like to meet the player who would avoid doing such a thing and, rather, pass the RBI opportunity on to their teammate further down the order.  He’s probably a player who is suffering from some sort of mental deficit. Or at least an overdeveloped sense of purity:

“Hey, Beltran: be an RBI whore!” said Mr. Collins.

“No, I shant attempt to drive in this run. For I, good sir, am an RBI gentleman,” Mr. Beltran replied.

But whatever, if Sherman says someone told that Beltran, someone must have told that to Beltran.  And either way, the concept of the “RBI whore” has now been introduced into the baseball lexicon, and if you think for a moment that I won’t beat that baby into the ground in the morning recaps, well, you’re just not too familiar with my work.

Video: Andrew Toles hammers grand slam in Cactus League win

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Dodgers’ left fielder Andrew Toles crushed his first spring training home run on Saturday afternoon. With the bases loaded and a two-run deficit hanging over their heads in the fourth inning, Toles stepped up to the plate against Oakland right-hander Jesse Hahn and unloaded a grand slam on the second pitch he saw.

Third baseman Justin Turner was quick to follow up with a solo jack of his own, bringing the score to a comfortable 7-4 lead by the end of the fourth. Another three-run outburst in the fifth and an eighth-inning RBI single by Austin Barnes raised the final score to 11-6… which, coincidentally, was the same score the Reds used to defeat the Athletics’ second split-squad lineup on Saturday (albeit with a few more RBI walks than grand slams).

Toles, 24, is approaching his sophomore season with the Dodgers in 2017. He slashed .314/.365/.505 with three home runs and an .870 OPS in his first major league season in 2016 and is expected to platoon with the right-handed Franklin Gutierrez in left field this year.

David Price’s season debut could be pushed back to May

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David Price showed “strength improvements” in his elbow on Saturday, but Red Sox’ manager John Farrell still doesn’t think the left-hander will be ready to throw by the start of the season — or for a few weeks afterward. According to ESPN’s Scott Lauber, the 31-year-old might not be ready to debut until May at the earliest.

Price hasn’t thrown off of a mound this spring after experiencing soreness in his left elbow on March 1. Surgery doesn’t appear to be necessary, but the Red Sox are playing it extra safe with their No. 3 starter in hopes that rest and rehabilitation will return him to full health sometime during the 2017 season. For now, Price has been restricted to short games of catch until he’s cleared to resume a more rigorous throwing program. Via MLB.com’s Ian Browne:

[There were] strength improvements to the point of putting the ball back in his hand a little more consistently,” said manager John Farrell. “Today’s the first step for that. A short game of catch. That’s what he’s going through. Not off a mound but just to get the arm moving with a ball in flight, and he will continue in this phase for a period of time. There’s no set distance and volume yet to the throws.

The lefty is coming off of a lackluster 2016 season, during which he delivered a 3.99 ERA, 2.0 BB/9 and 8.9 SO/9 over 230 innings for the Red Sox.