Every year a story comes out about the big binder full-o-love that Scott Boras puts together for his top free agent clients. Glossy and filled with over-the-top claims, they sound like an outrageous amount of fun.
More fun when they involve questionable dudes like Oliver Perez — remember how he was the next Sandy Koufax? — but I bet seeing legitimately great players talked up is fun too.
Prince Fielder gets the treatment this year. Jerry Crasnick of ESPN has the story.
There’s great stuff about the book itself — it’s “encased in a silver aluminum antimicrobial binder and features black cardstock dividers and metal rivets” — but of course the statistical projections and claims to glory are great fun too:
In the Projections portion of the book, Boras’ statistical analysts gaze into the future and point out that in five years, Fielder will have joined Foxx, Mickey Mantle, Eddie Mathews, Mel Ott and Babe Ruth as one of six players with 400 homers, 1,000 RBIs and 1,000 walks through age 32. A few pages later, the book projects that Fielder will have 600 homers, 1,700 RBIs and 1,500 walks by age 37. Those totals would place him in the exclusive company of Ruth and Barry Bonds.
Most people think that Boras does these just as much (and maybe more) for the benefit of his clients’ egos and to impress prospective clients as he does to actually woo teams. Maybe so. But who cares? This stuff is fantastic.
The writing was on the wall, but the Yankees made it official on Saturday: Aroldis Chapman is no longer closing games for the Bronx Bombers. Comments from manager Joe Girardi suggested that the move is a temporary one, however, and he told reporters that Chapman will be utilized at “different points” in the game as the Yankees try to pinpoint the source of the left-hander’s struggles.
There’s no question that the flame-throwing southpaw has been off his game for a while, and his season 4.29 ERA, 4.3 BB/9 and 12.6 SO/9 hints at some of the issues he’s been facing. He imploded in each of his last three appearances, issuing a cumulative five hits, six runs and five strikeouts over just 3 1/3 innings. It seems plausible that the left rotator cuff inflammation that sidelined him several months ago has resurfaced, but the veteran lefty said Friday that he doesn’t believe any physical issues have caused his decline.
While Chapman works out the kinks in his mechanics, the Yankees will look to some combination of Dellin Betances and David Robertson to cover the ninth inning. Girardi wouldn’t commit to either reliever in the closer’s spot, however, and said he’d take it on a case-by-case basis depending on the match-ups in any given game. The long-term plan is still to reinstate Chapman, whenever that might make sense for the team.
“He’s been scuffling over the past 10 days, two weeks,” Girardi said. “I just thought for us to get him back on track, maybe the best way would be to move him around a little bit until he gets going. When we get him going like I believe he’ll get going, there’s a good chance I’ll put him right back in that closer’s role.”
The Nationals officially activated Stephen Strasburg off the 10-day disabled list, the team announced Saturday. They’ll pencil him into the starting lineup for their second set against the Padres on Saturday night. Strasburg is expected to assume Max Scherzer‘s roster spot after Scherzer landed on the disabled list with neck inflammation prior to Friday’s series opener. No other roster moves appear to be necessary for the time being.
Strasburg, 28, is finally looking stable after serving a 26-day stint on the DL with a right elbow nerve impingement. It’s the first serious injury he’s sustained since last August, when he missed 20 days with inflammation in his right elbow, and one the Nationals are taking seriously as they juggle multiple stints for their elite starters. He’ll enter Saturday’s competition with a 10-3 record in 20 starts, supplemented by a 3.25 ERA, 2.7 BB/9 and 10.4 SO/9 through 121 2/3 innings.
Elbow issues are nothing to be played around with, but Strasburg’s performance in his lone rehab outing relieved any residual apprehension the Nats might have had about his activation this weekend. He tossed 66 pitches for High-A Potomac, hitting 95 MPH with his heater and logging three hits, one run, one walk and five strikeouts over five innings. Club manager Dusty Baker is hoping for a similarly dominant start against the Padres, and told reporters that he’ll hold Strasburg to a performance count as the righty works his way back to a full-time gig.