Reader snowbirdgothic, commenting on the David Eckstein/Pujols story this morning, pretty much nails the nature of free agency speculation in the sporting press:
Somewhere, there’s a lonely, honest sportswriter who’s going to pen a piece called “Albert Pujols is going somewhere they’re going to back up a dump truck full of money to his house, and none of this other crap matters, but we can’t say that and we have column inches to fill.”
He will then, immediately, be fired, and his replacement will do 1200 words on how Rex Hudler believes that if Pujols goes to Chicago, he’s not a true Cardinal.
It really is that simple. There are a handful of people who actually know stuff, and even they don’t know it until right before something is announced. The rest of us are mostly just farting around. Nothing wrong with that — farting around is a lot of fun and gets us through the winter — but let’s not pretend it’s anything more than farting around.
Free agent right-hander Henderson Alvarez signed a deal with the Tigres de Quintana Roo of the Mexican Baseball League earlier this week, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Friday. The righty wasn’t necessarily too fringey a player to hack it in the big leagues, but there were no MLB takers in attendance during his showcase in Venezuela last month and he clearly felt it best to try his luck elsewhere.
The 27-year-old’s last major league gig came with the Phillies, for whom he delivered a 4.30 ERA, 6.8 BB/9 and 3.7 SO/9 over 14 2/3 innings in 2017. While he’s not too far removed from his first and only All-Star bid in 2014, he was besieged by shoulder issues in 2015 and 2016 and underwent season-ending surgeries as a result.
That added injury risk, coupled with the fact that he hasn’t pitched more than 22 innings in a single season since 2014, may have been too much for major league teams to take on this spring. Assuming he steers clear of further injuries, however, a return to the majors may not be entirely out of the question in years to come.