Trying to motivate Hanley Ramirez by talking to a shortstop who could supplant him in Miami… that’s a great idea.
Actually signing said injury-prone shortstop to a contract worth in excess of $20 million per year… that might not work out so well.
Jose Reyes would certainly help the Marlins, just like he’d help every team in baseball, but he doesn’t seem like the best use of resources for this winter’s nouveau riche Miami club.
A Reyes signing would force the Marlins to move their incumbent superstar to either center field or third base. Now, that could work out. I was strongly in favor of moving him to center a few years ago, and while Ramirez is a better shortstop now than when he entered the league, he’s never going to be a big asset there. Regardless of whether the Marlins land Reyes or not, Ramirez, who turns 28 in December, figures to require a move by age 31 or 32.
But Ramirez doesn’t want to move. And while the three-time All-Star could use a kick in the rear, the Marlins can’t have him sulking his way through another season. That would almost certainly lead to a trade, with the Marlins getting back only a fraction of what he’s worth.
I can certainly see the Marlins’ attraction here. A lineup with Reyes leading off, Ramirez batting third and future home run champ Mike Stanton in the cleanup spot has the potential to be among the game’s best.
But it also might not gel at any point. Hanley will complain and potentially dog it. Reyes will get hurt. The outfield could be dreadful defensively (putting Ramirez at third base and Emilio Bonifacio in center field is another alternative that might lead of a better defense in the short-term, though I think Hanley is a better fit in center for the long haul).
The upside is enticing, but the Marlins really should pass on Reyes. Now, Albert Pujols… that’s an entirely different matter.
Jim Bunning, Hall of Fame right-handed pitcher and former U.S. Senator, died on Friday at age 85. He suffered a stroke in October 2016 and was in hospice care when he died, according to former Senate chief of staff Jon Deuser.
Bunning rose to prominence in Major League Baseball during his first full season with the Tigers in 1957, recording 14 complete games and a league-leading 20 wins. The following year, Bunning pitched his first career no-hitter against the Red Sox, just the fourth no-hitter in franchise history. During his first season with the Phillies in 1964, Bunning followed up his no-hitter with a perfect game against the Mets, marking the first National League perfecto in the 20th century. By the time he retired in 1971, he boasted seven All-Star nominations, 2,855 strikeouts (maintaining his second-place ranking on the all-time strikeout list from 1967-1971) and a 224-184 record over 17 seasons.
Following a storied major league career, Bunning entered politics at age 46, serving 12 years in the House and eventually getting elected to the Senate at age 67, where he served two terms. The Republican senator was famously outspoken for his opposition to steroids in baseball, illegal immigration and an extension of unemployment benefits, among other issues, and drew criticism within his party for his ornery nature and controversial statements. He declined to run for a third term in 2010, citing a lack of financial support from the National Republican Senatorial Committee and choosing instead to throw his weight behind fellow candidate Rand Paul.
Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred issued a statement following news of Bunning’s death on Saturday:
Jim Bunning led an extraordinary life in the National Pastime and in public service. He was a consistent winner and workhorse pitcher for the Detroit Tigers and the Philadelphia Phillies. Jim threw no-hitters in both leagues, pitched a perfect game on Father’s Day in 1964 and, at his retirement, had more strikeouts than any pitcher in history except Walter Johnson.
“In his baseball career, Jim was proud of always taking the ball. The work ethic that made him a Hall of Famer led him to the House of Representatives and the United Stated Senate. He served the state of Kentucky for more than two decades and became the only Hall of Famer ever to serve in Congress.
“On behalf of Major League Baseball, I send my deepest condolences to Senator Bunning’s family, friends, constituents and the many fans who admired his career in our game.
Twenty-five years ago, “Homer at the Bat” became one of the most iconic Simpsons episodes of all time. Legendary talents like Roger Clemens, Wade Boggs, Ozzie Smith, Jose Canseco, Mike Scioscia, Steve Sax, Don Mattingly and Ken Griffey, Jr. lent their talents to the episode while their cartoon doppelgängers were put through the ringer, leaving only Homer Simpson and Darryl Strawberry to clinch the city softball championship for the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant squad. On Saturday, the show’s creators were recognized when Homer Simpson was awarded a long-overdue membership in the Hall of Fame.
The full text from Homer’s honorary plaque is below:
Inept safety inspector turned city-wide softball hero. Right fielder led Springfield nuclear plant to city championship game, then sacrificed his body to win it all. Nearly supplanted by lineup of all-world superstar ringers, came through in a pinch — and came to in time for the next episode. Girthy right-handed hitter powered many a mighty wallop during celebrated 1992 season with “Wonderbat” — his secret weapon. Lack of mobility in the field was no match for moves atop the dugout. Found fame as bush league mascot phenom, parlaying his “elephant walk” into a taste of the majors. Unacquainted with scientific concepts, only isotopes of which he was aware played at Duff Stadium, where uncanny knowledge of southwestern palate exposed team’s impending move to Albuquerque.
“Homer at the Bat” will be enshrined in Cooperstown with a special display, featuring the plaque alongside some of the more memorable moments of the episode.