Actually, I could understand it better if it was the weather that was being complained about. In Mike Vaccaro’s column, however, there is this vague sense that all of the rain on the east coast — or at least the inconvenience it caused — was somehow Major League Baseball’s fault. That’s underscored by the headline — which Vaccaro likely did not write — which reads “Baseball really soaks fans this time.”
The stories from the fans who stuck out last night’s Yankees-Orioles game are interesting enough (note to Freddie Palmeiri: you either should have gone home with your girlfriend or else you should dump your girlfriend). But the “boy, they got you over a barrel” stuff in the piece is kind of misplaced in my view. Yes, the game was late and inconvenient and uncomfortable, and no, the Yankees did not stop selling merchandise and concessions to the people who stuck it out, but what’s the alternative? Cancel a game that, however crappy the conditions, ended up being able to be played? Screw with an already compacted schedule even more?
Now, don’t get me wrong: there is a bit of history in baseball — and I hear the Yankees have done this a lot on the past — of waiting and waiting and waiting to call games in order to collect as much parking and concession money as they can, even if they knew the game was going to be called. They did this to me at a spring training game in Tampa in 2010, and all the Yankees fans there knew what as goin’ on.
But that’s not what went down last night. And I’m not sure the Yankees or Major League Baseball could do anything other than simply play the game if it was able to be played. Which it was. Rain happens. Part of the deal, ya know?
The Astros, Braves and Nationals came sniffing around White Sox left-hander Jose Quintana during the Winter Meetings, but each appeared to find the Sox’ asking price well beyond what they were willing to give up for the starter. On Saturday, Peter Gammons revealed that the White Sox had floated Francis Martes, Kyle Tucker and Joe Musgrove as a possible return for Quintana.
It’s a strategy that worked well for Chicago in the past, most recently when they dealt Chris Sale to the Red Sox for Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech, among others, and flipped Adam Eaton to the Nationals for a trio of pitching prospects. Astros’ GM Jeff Luhnow didn’t appear eager to sacrifice some of his core talent to net a high-end starter, however, and told the Houston Chronicle’s Jake Kaplan as much on Wednesday:
We’re prepared to trade players to improve our club right now. […] We’re just not prepared to trade away players that are core to our production in 2017, and those are sometimes the players that are required to get these deals done.
While Lunhow was speaking specifically to the inclusion of third baseman Alex Bregman in future deals, it’s not unrealistic to think that top prospects Francis Martes and Kyle Tucker would also be considered instrumental to the Astros’ plans for the next few seasons.
Martes, 21, currently sits atop the team’s top prospect list on MLB.com. The right-hander blazed through his first full season in Double-A Corpus Christi, posting a 3.30 ERA and career-best 9.4 K/9 over 125 1/3 innings in 2016. Tucker, meanwhile, profiles as the Astros’ second-best prospect and made a successful jump to High-A Lancaster last season, slashing .339/.435/.661 in 69 PA. Rookie right-hander Joe Musgrove is the only player left off the top prospect list, but he got off to a decent start with the club in 2016 as well, going 4-4 with a 4.06 ERA and 3.44 K/BB rate in 62 innings during his first major league season.
Twins’ right-handed pitching prospect Yorman Landa passed away in a tragic car accident on Friday night, per a team statement. According to Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press, 22-year-old Landa was in the passenger seat of the vehicle when it struck a fallen tree.
Daniel Szew, Landa’s agent, spoke highly of the young pitcher, who was one of his first clients back in 2010. Szew acknowledged Landa for helping him expand his company, LA Sports Management, and referred to the late pitcher as a leader and his “little brother.”
He was very even-keeled,” Szew said. “That was his personality. He wasn’t wild. That’s why this is so tragic. He wasn’t a wild guy. He was a happy-go-lucky guy who took life as it came, and he was super happy — always happy.
If leadership was one facet of Landa’s personality, so was loyalty. The 22-year-old agreed to a minor league contract with the Twins on Tuesday after getting cut from the 40-man roster, fulfilling a promise to re-sign with the club despite fielding multiple offers from competing teams. The deal included an invite to spring training, and comments from his agent suggested that the right-hander was “super confident” he’d break through to the major leagues in 2017, notwithstanding a troublesome shoulder injury that hampered his progress in High-A Fort Myers during the 2016 season.
“He never wanted to leave,” Szew told Berardino. “It was the only organization he ever knew.”
Our condolences go out to Landa’s family and the Twins organization during this terrible time.