You know how Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo keeps trying to downplay his team’s interest in Prince Fielder? How he keeps saying Adam LaRoche is going to be the team’s first baseman next season? Yeah, this story isn’t going to help his cause.
As you may have heard, Fielder and his agent Scott Boras went on a brief tour of some MLB cities earlier this month to meet with team owners. Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun hears that while the Baltimore/Washington area was on the itinerary, they did not meet with Orioles’ owner Peter Angelos.
By some clever process of elimination, we can likely surmise that they did meet with someone from the Lerner family, who owns the Nationals. Of course, this might not mean a whole lot. I mean, shouldn’t Boras visit the team who gave big money to some of his clients, including Jayson Werth, Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper? These guys are old pals. But if Boras used his Jedi mind trick on the Rizzo and the Lerners again, look out.
Remember Manny Banuelos? He was once a top pitching prospect for the Yankees and then, apparently disappeared from the face of the earth. Or at least it felt like it. Now he’s in the news, however, as the Dodgers have signed him to a minor league contract.
OK, Banuelos didn’t disappear. He was traded to the Braves in 2015, had a cup of coffee with them, pitching pretty ineffectively in seven big league games, was released by Atlanta in the middle of 2016 and then latched on with the Angels. This past season he posted a 4.93 ERA over 95 innings while being used mostly as a reliever at Triple-A Salt Lake.
Banuelos pitched in the Future’s Game in 2009 and was a star in the Arizona Fall League in 2010. He was a top-50 prospect heading into 2011 before falling to Tommy John surgery in 2012. With Atlanta he suffered some bone spur problems and then some elbow issues that never resulted in surgery but which never subsided enough for him to fulfill his potential either. He suffered injuries. A lot of pitchers do.
It’s unrealistic to think that Banuelos will fulfill the promise he had six years ago, but he’s worth a minor league deal to see if the 26-year-old can at least be a serviceable reliever.