This tweet from Major League Baseball speaks for itself, so I’ll just let it speak:
Tim McCarver selected as recipient of Ford C. Frick Award, presented annually for excellence in baseball broadcasting by [The Baseball Hall of Fame].
Fine, go ahead and say what you want to say. I’ll defend McCarver, though. While he hasn’t been at the top of his game for the past few years, he was a pretty fantastic color man for a long, long time and went a long way towards upping the intelligence of the discourse.
If you doubt me, go back and pull some tapes of games from the 70s and 80s if you can find them and listen to just how boring and basic the second banana’s commentary often is. “Yeah, he really smoked that one,” passed for insight for a lot of guys back then. It seems obvious now, but McCarver’s ability to explain what is going to happen next and why was arguably revolutionary for the position.
My personal preference is a single-man booth. But I’m not necessarily the audience to whom a color commentator is aimed. For those who do want a little more explanatory framework with their baseball viewing, McCarver has set a standard of sorts over his career, and is worthy of being honored.
Free agent first baseman James Loney has reportedly signed a minor league deal with the Rangers, per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The deal includes an invite to spring training and a $1 million salary if he makes the major league roster in 2017.
Loney picked up a one-year stint and starting role with the Mets in 2016, slashing .265/.307/.397 with nine home runs in 336 PA. While his numbers were down a hair from the .280/.322/.357 batting line he produced with the Rays in 2015, he provided the Mets with a necessary, if underwhelming upgrade over an injured Lucas Duda through most of the season.
The 32-year-old infielder is expected to have some competition at first base, with at least five other candidates in the mix: Jurickson Profar, Ronald Guzman, Ryan Rua, Joey Gallo and Josh Hamilton. Rumor has it that the team is planning on platooning Rua and Profar in 2017, barring any impressive breakouts or injuries during spring training, though Loney could still provide the club with some veteran depth and a decent left-handed bat off the bench.
Comments from an anonymous team official suggest that Rangers right-hander Tyson Ross will not be expected to join the rotation until May or June, per a report from Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Both Ross and GM Jon Daniels favor a conservative approach for the 29-year-old as he works his way back up to full health after undergoing surgery last October to relieve thoracic outlet syndrome.
The delay is reportedly being implemented so that Ross will be have the strength and stamina to contribute during the stretch run. Per Daniels:
We would rather err on a little extra time up front with the goal being to finish strong, pitching in big spots, meaningful games down the stretch and hopefully past 162.
Ross signed a one-year deal with the team on Thursday after pitching through an injury-riddled season with the Padres in 2016. If all goes according to plan, he’ll slot into a rotation that includes Yu Darvish, Cole Hamels, Andrew Cashner and Martin Perez. The Rangers are expected to narrow down their fifth starter alternatives in spring training.