Tim Raines

Joe Posnanski’s 14 crazy baseball facts

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If you haven’t noticed by now, not much is happening in baseball today. Oh, there will be 15 games played by the time the west coasters go to bed tonight, but the newsmakers — the agents, the GMs, the bankrupt owners and the the others who provide much of our midday fodder here at HBT — have begun their long weekend a bit early.  And judging by the site traffic today, so have a good chunk of readers.

So, as I attend to my iTunes library and watch a really funny but informative ten-part series on the history of the English language on YouTube, I also provide you some links to pass the time.  Such as this one from Joe Posnanski, setting forth 14 crazy baseball facts.

As is often the case with Posnanski’s writing,  it’s more about the journey than the destination, so don’t find yourself shocked when you skim the 14 specific items and say “well, that fact might be a tad unexpected, but it’s not ‘crazy.'”  It’s the telling of most of them — the sub-facts and the background — that make them interesting and, yes, in some cases crazy. Stuff like, if you constructed a team of the best players who never had 3,000 hits and pitted them against a team with players who had, the non-3,000 hitters would probably win.

So enjoy.  And really do go watch that history of the English language series. It’s quite good.

Cubs sign Brett Anderson to a $3.5 million deal

Brett Anderson
AP Photo/J Pat Carter
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Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Cubs have signed pitcher Brett Anderson to a contract, pending a physical. Anderson, apparently, impressed the Cubs during a bullpen session held in Arizona recently. According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, the deal is for $3.5 million, but incentives can bring the total value up to $10 million.

Anderson, 28, has only made a total of 53 starts and 12 relief appearances over the past five seasons due to a litany of injuries. This past season, he made just three starts and one relief appearance, yielding 15 runs on 25 hits and four walks with five strikeouts in 11 1/3 innings. The lefty dealt with back, wrist, and blister issues throughout the year.

When he’s healthy, Anderson is a solid arm to have at the back of a starting rotation or in the bullpen. The defending world champion Cubs aren’t risking much in bringing him on board.

Yordano Ventura’s remaining contract hinges on the results of his toxicology report

DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 24: Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals pitches against the Detroit Tigers during the first inning at Comerica Park on September 24, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
Duane Burleson/Getty Images
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Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports provides an interesting window into how teams handle a player’s contract after he has died in an accident. It was reported on Sunday that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura died in a car accident in the Dominican Republic. He had three guaranteed years at a combined $19.25 million as well as two $12 million club options with a $1 million buyout each for the 2020-21 seasons.

What happens to that money? Well, that depends on the results of a toxicology report, Rosenthal explains. If it is revealed that Ventura was driving under the influence, payment to his estate can be nullified. The Royals may still choose to pay his estate some money as a gesture of good will, but they would be under no obligation to do so. However, if Ventura’s death was accidental and not caused by his driving under the influence, then his contract remains fully guaranteed and the Royals would have to pay it towards his estate. The Royals would be reimbursed by insurance for an as yet unknown portion of that contract.

The results of the toxicology report won’t be known for another three weeks, according to Royals GM Dayton Moore. Dominican Republic authorities said that there was no alcohol found at the scene.

Ventura’s situation is different than that of Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, who died in a boating accident this past September. Fernandez was not under contract beyond 2016. He was also legally drunk and cocaine was found in his system after the accident. Still, it is unclear whether or not Fernandez was driving the boat. As a result, his estate will receive an accidental death payment of $1.05 million as well as $450,000 through the players’ standard benefits package, Rosenthal points out.