Jerome Williams returning to the majors with the Angels for the first time since 2007 is a pretty interesting story, but Sam Miller of the Orange County Register investigated something about the one-time Giants prospect that’s even more interesting.
Apparently when Williams first arrived in the big leagues as a 21-year-old rookie in 2003 the Giants coaching staff and various teammates thought his name was Jeremy. And when they repeatedly called him by the wrong name Jerome didn’t correct them … for two years.
Miller broached the topic with Williams yesterday, leading to a highly amusing exchange. Here’s an excerpt:
“Yeah. They called me Jeremy. I just rolled with it.”
They just called you Jeremy? Were you called Jerome growing up?
“I don’t know. In the minors, they didn’t call me Jeremy. When I got to the big leagues they called me Jeremy for two years.”
Were they screwing with you?
“No, they just called me that. I just rolled with it. I was a rookie and I didn’t want to tell anybody cause I was scared.”
You mean that whole time, (pitching coach Dave) Righetti was calling you Jeremy?
(Manager) Felipe Alou?
“Felipe never really called me by my name. He was just like ‘hey guy come here guy.’ Every time I was ‘guy.’ But yeah, some – most — of the guys did call me that.”
The conversation between Miller and Williams got so absurd that Trevor Bell started cracking up in the next locker over. And how did it finally end?
“I just told Righetti one day. I’m doing a bucket, and I’m like Rags, we need to talk about something. He’s like, ‘What?’ Ummmm. What’s my name? He’s like, ‘Jeremy.’ Ummmm. No. It’s not, actually. It’s actually Jerome. He’s like, ‘so for a couple years I’ve been calling you Jeremy and it’s not even your name? Why didn’t you correct me?’ I told him the same: I was scared. ‘What were you scared about?’ I don’t know. And he slapped me.
Sounds about right.
Terrible, terrible news: Christian Moreno of ESPN reports that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura has been killed in an automobile accident in the Dominican Republic. His death has been confirmed by police. He was only 25 years-old. There are as of yet no details about the accident.
Ventura was a four-year veteran, having debuted in 2013 but truly bursting onto the scene for the Royals in 2014. That year he went 14-10 with a 3.20 ERA in 183 innings, ascending to the national stage along with the entire Royals team with some key performances in that year’s ALDS and World Series. The following year Ventura won 13 games for the World Champion Royals and again appeared in the playoffs and World Series.
Ventura was often in the middle of controversy — he found himself in several controversies arising out of his habit of hitting and brushing back hitters — but he was an undeniably electric young talent who was poised to anchor the Royals rotation for years to come. His loss, like that of Jose Fernandez just this past September, is incalculable to both his team, his fans and to Major League Baseball as a whole.
Our thoughts go out to his family, his friends, his teammates and his fans.
Free agent right-hander Tim Lincecum isn’t ready to hang up his cleats just yet. At least, that’s the word from Lincecum’s agent, Rick Thurman, who says the 32-year-old is still “throwing and getting ready for the season” (via Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News).
Lincecum may not be ready to enter retirement, but another quote from Thurman suggests that he’ll be picky about where he pitches next. He doesn’t appear open to pitching overseas, and despite not having a contract for 2017 (or even any serious suitors), the right-hander is set on pitching in the big leagues this year. Whether or not he’s willing to take a bullpen role to do so remains to be seen.
While Baggarly predicts some interest in the veteran righty, there’s not much in Lincecum’s recent history to inspire faith in him as a starter, or even a reliever. He picked up a one-year, $2.5 million contract with the Angels following his hip surgery in 2015, and went 2-6 in 2016 with a 9.16 ERA, 5.4 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 over 38 1/3 innings. At this point, a minor league contract seems like the surest path back to major league success, though he’s unlikely to find an open spot on the Giants’ or Angels’ rosters anytime soon.