It’s deja vu all over again.
A day after the report that the White Sox asked the Yankees for Jesus Montero and Manny Banuelos in return for John Danks comes word from Bob Klapisch that the A’s wanted the same package in Gio Gonzalez trade talks.
Which at least is somewhat justifiable. Gonzalez is better than Danks, plus he’s a full four years away from free agency, making him a one of the game’s more valuable pitchers. Gonzalez has combined to go 31-21 while finishing with ERAs of 3.23 and 3.12 the last two years. Danks has never finished with an ERA that good, and he actually came in at 4.33 last season.
The Yankees still weren’t going to give up both for Gonzalez, but the A’s certainly have no reason to part with their young left-hander for much less. According to Klapisch, the A’s were willing to settle for Dellin Betances instead of Banuelos, but that still didn’t get a deal done.
The Royals, who can offer top outfield prospect Wil Myers and one of their better pitching prospects, have also expressed interest in Gonzalez. However, there’s nothing to indicate that anything will get done anytime soon.
All spring training there was at least some mild confusion about Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. He played in almost no regular big league spring training games, instead, staying on the back fields, playing in simulated and minor league contests. When that usually happens, it’s because a player is rehabbing or even hiding an injury, but the Nats insisted that was not the case with Zimmerman. Not everyone believed it. I, for one, was skeptical.
The skepticism was unwarranted, as Zimmerman answered the bell for Opening Day and has played all season. As Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal writes today, it was all by design. He skipped spring training because he doesn’t like it and because he thinks it’ll help him avoid late-season injuries and slowdowns, the likes of which he has suffered over the years.
It’s hard to really judge this now, of course. On the one hand Zimmerman has started really slow this season. What’s more, he has started to show signs of warming up only in the past week, after getting almost as many big league, full-speed plate appearances under his belt as a normal spring training would’ve given him. On the other hand, April is his worst month across his entire 14-year career, so one slow April doesn’t really prove anything and, again, Zimmerman and the Nats will consider this a success if he’s healthy and productive in August and September.
It is sort of a missed opportunity, though. Players hate spring training. They really do. if Zimmerman had made a big deal out of skipping it and came out raking this month, I bet a lot more teams would be amenable to letting a veteran or three take it much more easy next spring. Good ideas can be good ideas even if they don’t produce immediately obvious results, but baseball tends to encourage a copycat culture only when someone can point to a stat line or to standings as justification.
Way to ruin it for everyone, Ryan. 😉