As we plow into the offseason, it’s a good time to remember that the biggest hot stove event is the Winter Meetings. They’re going to be in Dallas this year from December 5-8, though most people show up on Sunday the 4th.
It’s a nutso kind of thing, whether you’re actually on-site or whether you’re just glued to your computer watching the deals go down. And they do go down sort of whenever. Last year one of the big deals — I think the Jayson Werth signing, but it’s all a blur — happened as everyone was still trying to find their media credentials on Sunday afternoon. The Carl Crawford signing broke at about 11pm one evening. Which taught me a very important lesson: if Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe is walking with purpose toward the media room at 11pm, follow him rather than continuing on to the bar for overpriced Knob Creek.
Anyway, I’ll be there again this year, doing my best not to get arrested, evicted, punched or embarrassed (I promise I’ll avoid at least two of those). If you ever had any notions of going, Maury has a comprehensive primer and information post over at Biz of Baseball that tells you everything you need to know.
Here’s hoping Yu Darvish is posted but not yet signed by the time the Meetings go down. I miss my 350 friends in the Japanese sporting press and I want to see the entirety of their tenacious power unleashed.
Nathan Fenno of the Los Angeles Times has an outstanding profile of former Rays prospect Brandon Martin, who is currently in jail for allegedly murdering three men nearly two years ago.
Fenno describes Martin’s erratic personality as he became a highly-touted baseball prospect who then descends into drug use. Friends described Martin has having completely changed into an unrecognizable person. Martin had repeated conflicts with friends and family such that police reports became common and he was placed in a psychiatric facility. Sadly, the facility only held him for less than 48 hours. He would allegedly murder three people upon returning home: his father, his brother-in-law, and a home security system contractor. Martin fled from police, who eventually caught up to him and subdued him with the help of a police dog.
Fenno’s profile is really worth a read, so click here to check it out.
Martin, 23, was selected by the Rays in the first round (38th overall) of the 2011 draft. He spent three years in the Rays’ system, reaching as high as Single-A Bowling Green.
On Sunday, Red Sox reliever Matt Barnes was ejected for throwing at Orioles third baseman Manny Machado‘s head. It was revenge for a slide of Machado’s which ended up injuring Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia. Barnes was suspended four games.
Hall of Famer and former Red Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez said that if he were in Barnes’ shoes, he would have also thrown at Machado, although not necessarily at his head. Via ESPN’s Scott Lauber:
If I was pitching, I was going to drill Machado, as much as I love him. The only thing I would’ve done differently is probably bring the ball a little bit lower.
Martinez added that Machado “did not intend to hurt Pedroia. And I know that because I know Machado.” And he doesn’t think Barnes meant to throw at Machado’s head.
Martinez, of course, was certainly a pitcher who wasn’t afraid to pitch inside to batters and even hit a few of them when he felt he or his teammates had been wronged. This is an unfortunate part of baseball’s culture and the fact that it continues means that it will eventually result in someone being seriously hurt. It’s disappointing that Martinez isn’t willing to be a better role model now that his playing days are over. Martinez could have set an example for today’s pitchers by saying what Barnes did crossed a line. Getting a Hall of Famer’s seal of approval will only embolden players now when they feel they must defend their teammates’ honor.
The “tradition” of beaning batters to defend one’s teammates is anachronistic in today’s game, especially when Major League Baseball has made strides in so many other ways recently to protect players’ safety.