Reasonable people may disagree about the wisdom of Jim Riggleman leaving the Nationals like he did yesterday, but I think everyone can agree that going on the radio the next day and trashing a well-respected baseball columnist by name is going to make you many friends. Certainly not in the media, but likely not with folks in the game too, most of whom respect the columnist in question and who don’t take a shine to would-be employees who get into scrapes with the press.
But that’s what Riggleman did today while on SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Radio show with host Bruce Murray. The object of his ire being Tom Boswell of the Washington Post, who he felt tried to run him out of town and hated him for not being Earl Weaver. Or something. The bigger accusation was saying that Boswell printed “half-truths,” and didn’t get Riggleman’s side of the story on everything.
The transcript, via the DC Sports Bog, is here. Here’s the most quotable part:
“I read the papers. I read that nonsense Tom Boswell writes, and I’ll say this: Tom Boswell has tried to be the impetus behind me not being the manager here for a long time. He is a master of the half-truth. A half-truth can be more dangerous than a lie. He prints just enough nonsense that can paint a picture.
“But he’s become such a snake and such an impetus to have me out of there, [and] he’s just written so many snide remarks. That type of stuff from such a well-respected columnist throughout the country, to get away with that nonsense, I’m just bringing it to your attention, that that’s the kind of stuff that gets written that is totally false … he never tells the full story. He’s never interviewed me, he never talks to me and asks me these questions. He just writes negativity.”
Which may have more salience as a criticism if Boswell was primarily reporting news as opposed to offering opinion and insight, which he is more than capable of doing without going to Riggleman for his defense every time his name is mentioned. And hey, if the fair assessment of the state-of-the-Nats is negative — which has been the case for most of Riggleman’s tenure — is Boswell supposed to avoid negativity?
But at this point, Boswell certainly doesn’t need my defense. Riggleman, on the other hand could use a little help.
The Yankees signed first-round draft pick Clarke Schmidt and second-round pick Matt Sauer on Saturday, per a team announcement. Schmidt, a right-hander from the University of South Carolina, is set to earn a signing bonus of $2,184,300. According to MLB.com’s Oliver Macklin, that’s much lower than the typical $3+ million allocated for a No. 16 overall pick. The opposite is true for Sauer, whose projected $2.5 million signing bonus tops the suggested $1.2 million reserved for a No. 54 pick.
Schmidt, 21, boasts an impressive four-pitch repertoire and profiles as a front-end or mid-rotation starter, according to reports from Yankees’ VP of Domestic Amateur Scouting Damon Oppenheimer and ESPN’s Keith Law, among others. He carried a 4-2 record through nine starts in 2017 and turned in a 1.34 ERA before undergoing season-ending Tommy John surgery last month to repair a torn UCL in his right elbow. While the Yankees won’t see him pitch at any level until late 2018, they seem confident in his makeup and ability to rebound over the next couple of years.
Fellow right-hander and Righetti High School senior Matt Sauer is a different story altogether. The 18-year-old hurler appears destined for the bullpen with a polished fastball-slider combo and a promising curveball and changeup. He dazzled on the mound this year, going 9-1 with an 0.98 ERA and two shutouts over 78 1/3 innings. While the Yankees seem most interested in his pitching skills, Sauer showed some pop at the plate as well, touting a .427 average with 24 RBI through 135 plate appearances.
The Athletics followed Friday’s 3-0 shutout with a rookie-led home run derby on Saturday afternoon, watching not one, not two, but three rookies belt their first major league home runs off of the White Sox’ James Shields.
Right fielder Matt Olson was the first to strike, taking Shields deep on a first-pitch, two-run blast in the first inning for his first home run in 49 major league plate appearances:
Fellow outfielder Jaycob Brugman duplicated his teammate’s results in the second inning with a solo home run, his first extra-base hit of any kind since he made his debut on June 9:
In the third, with a comfortable 4-0 lead backing two scoreless frames from Oakland right-hander Daniel Gossett, Franklin Barreto took his shot at Shields. After getting the call several hours prior to Saturday’s game, he became the fastest of the three rookies to record his first big league homer, going yard on a 2-2 changeup and driving in Bruce Maxwell to give the A’s a six-run advantage.
The Athletics currently lead the White Sox 8-2 in the top of the sixth inning.