There are all sorts of ramifications to today’s Mat Latos deal, but one of the more under-the-radar aspects is that the Reds now have some extra cash to use in the free agent market. While they remain interested in re-signing closer Francisco Cordero, John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that they have also spoken with free agent outfielders Jason Kubel and Cody Ross.
Kubel, 29, has a .271/.335/.459 batting line over parts of seven seasons in the majors. He was limited to just 99 games this season due a sprained left foot. The Twins are interested in bringing him back, even after signing Josh Willingham this week, though Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com reported today that it’s unlikely to happen unless his asking price comes down.
Ross is seeking a three-year deal this winter, but that’s a pretty unrealistic scenario following a season in which he batted just .240/.325/.405 with a .730 OPS. Still, he’s a right-handed bat and offers more flexibility defensively than Kubel. For what it’s worth, Reds general manager Walt Jocketty called Ross “an interesting name” earlier this month.
Padres starter Jered Weaver lasted just two-thirds of an inning in Wednesday afternoon’s Cactus League appearance against the Royals. He yielded four runs on three hits, throwing 31 pitches before getting pulled. His spring ERA now sits at an ugly 10.13.
Weaver said he’s been dealing with a “dead arm” since his last bullpen session, but added he’s dealt with the issue in previous springs, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
The Padres signed Weaver to a one-year, $3 million contract last month. The right-hander is coming off of the worst season of his 11-year career. His fastball averaged a career-low 83 MPH and he put up a 5.06 ERA with a 103/51 K/BB ratio in 178 innings.
Earlier, Craig wrote about Dan Duquette’s dogwhistle language in his criticism of Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista. We have some more dogwhistling, this time coming from Tigers (and Team U.S.) second baseman Ian Kinsler. Via Billy Witz of The New York Times:
I hope kids watching the W.B.C. can watch the way we play the game and appreciate the way we play the game as opposed to the way Puerto Rico plays or the Dominican plays. That’s not taking anything away from them. That just wasn’t the way we were raised. They were raised differently and to show emotion and passion when you play. We do show emotion; we do show passion. But we just do it in a different way.
The goal of the World Baseball Classic, created by Major League Baseball, is to promote baseball across the globe. It’s players like Puerto Rico’s Javier Baez who are doing the best job in that regard, not boring white guys from the U.S. Potential baseball fans are not swayed into liking the sport when a player hits a home run and solemnly puts his head down to stroll the bases. They get excited and energized when players show emotion, flip their bats, celebrate. Baez did more to make baseball appeal to new and lapsed audiences with his premature celebration tag than the entire U.S. team has done this tournament.
Furthermore, it is hypocritical to want to diversify the sport’s audience while squelching incoming cultures.
Jim Leyland also got in on the action:
Go Puerto Rico.