Sports Illustrated polls major leaguers about a number of things throughout the year. Or else it polls them once and then releases the results in drips and drabs throughout the year. Today’s drip/drab: “Baseball’s Meanest Players.”
Problem: it doesn’t really list a criteria. Which matters here, because “meanest” could be the most personally unpleasant. It could also have some mix of hard-nosed competitiveness to it, which is at least in part admirable. Of course, since they have A.J. Pierzynski number one — and since he’s often talked about like he’s a grade-A jerk — I tend to think it leans more toward the former
Anyway, here’s the post. Sadly, it is a slide show. For those of you with the good sense to stay away from web slides shows, I’ll tell you that Chase Utley is number two, followed by Milton Bradley, Carlos Zambrano and Vicente Padilla.
OK, wait a minute. Now I’m certain that it’s just a list of jerks, because those last three are universally despised. Which makes me wonder how Utley makes that list, because you rarely hear him talked about in the same way those other guys are.
A-Rod, Chris Carpenter and … wait for it … Albert Pujols come next. I apologize Brewers fans. Seems that you’re not the only ones on the planet who think Pujols is a jerk. Two-hundred and fifteen major league baseball players agree. Of course, don’t get too smug because he’s followed on the list by Nyjer Morgan. And yes, there are Red Sox, another Yankee and another Brewer in the top 15.
No Braves of course. Everyone loves Braves.
At the end of January, the Nationals signed relievers Joe Nathan and Matt Albers. Today the Nationals have released Joe Nathan and Matt Albers.
Nathan, 42, pitched in just ten games last year, totaling only six and a third innings, between the Giants and the Cubs. He missed the entire 2015 season except for one third of an inning on Opening Day. Albers pitched in 58 games for the White Sox last year, posting an unsightly 6.31 ERA He pitched wonderfully in 30 games in 2015 however.
This spring Nathan and Albers pitched in more games than any other Nats relievers. Twelve for Nathan, ten for Albers. And they pitched well, with Nathan giving up five earned runs and Albers none. Apparently, however, there just isn’t room on the roster for those two.
This could be the end of the line for Nathan, a 16-year veteran with 377 career saves.
The substance of the report is not shocking. Francisco Lindor is one of baseball’s brightest young stars and the Cleveland Indians would, no doubt, wish to lock him up for an extended period of time. The surprising part is the guy who reported that, yes, the Indians are working to get Lindor a seven-year extension.
That guy: six-year-old Brody Chernoff, son of Indians general manager Mike Chernoff. Brody was invited into the team’s broadcast booth during the ninth inning of their game against the Chicago White Sox. Indians announcer Tom Hamilton asked, no doubt jokingly, if his working on anything interesting. Brody:
“He’s trying to get, um, Lindor to play for seven more years,”
Again, not shocking. It would’ve been way worse if Brody had said “Dad’s working on a three-way deal that’ll send Naquin to an NL team in order to affect a three-way trade that’ll land us Verlander without having to deal directly with a divisional rival.” But I imagine Dad still would’ve preferred he not mention that.