And now for some news as fantastic as it was inevitable: friend of HBT Jonah Keri, fresh of his bestselling success, The Extra 2%, just signed a deal to write the definitive history of the Montreal Expos.
The details are over at Jonah’s blog. The only slight bummer: his publisher has it slated to come out in 2014 to coincide with round number anniversaries of the Expos’ move to Washington and their magical but tragically-aborted run at the NL East title in 1994.* Perchance Jonah can persuade them to move it up a bit since it’s a topic people will — or at least should — be very interested in. If not, fine, we’ll wait.
The Expos are gone. Someday, sooner than we think, so too will be the people who helped define that historic — and historically bizarre — baseball franchise. It makes me really happy that someone is going to capture it all for posterity, and that that someone is a person who loves and mourns the Expos as much as Jonah Keri does.
*Note: I presume that Jonah will not let his Expos fandom get in the way of the fact that, if the 1994 season had continued, the Atlanta Braves would have easily made up the six-game gap, overtaken the Expos and won the World Series that year. I mean, it’s just science.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes will opt out of his contract shortly after the World Series concludes. Cespedes, who earned $17.5 million for the 2016 season, has two years and $47.5 million remaining on his deal which includes an opt-out clause.
That Cespedes plans to opt out isn’t surprising as he’s almost certain to get a better contract entering a weak free agent market. He hit a terrific .280/.354/.530 with 31 home runs and 86 RBI in 543 plate appearances for the Mets this past season.
It remains to be seen how the Mets will deal with potentially losing Cespedes. They can pick up a $13 million club option for Jay Bruce, but he performed terribly after joining the Mets in a trade from the Reds. The Mets could also go after free agents Jose Bautista or Mark Trumbo. Curtis Granderson and Michael Conforto will handle the other two outfield positions.
Major League Baseball announced on Wednesday that former Red Sox DH David Ortiz and Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant won the 2016 Hank Aaron Award in their respective leagues.
Ortiz, 40, flourished in his final season, batting .315/.401/.620 with 38 home runs and 127 RBI in 626 plate appearances during the regular season. His .620 slugging percentage, 1.021 OPS, and 48 doubles led the majors while his 127 RBI led the American League. Ortiz also won the Hank Aaron Award back in 2005.
Bryant, 24, is the likely winner of the National League Most Valuable Player Award as well. He hit .292/.385/.554 with 39 home runs and 102 RBI over 699 plate appearances. He also led the league by scoring 121 runs. Bryant is the first Cub to win the Hank Aaron Award since Aramis Ramirez in 2008.
Last year’s winners in the AL and NL, respectively, were Josh Donaldson and Bryce Harper.