J.D. Drew “very likely” to retire

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Given that (a) no team has been linked to him at all this winter; and (b) he himself has sounded very unenthusiastic about playing again, this is not terribly surprising, but Jon Heyman reports that J.D. Drew is likely to retire.

If he is done, Drew put together a better career than you think he did. He hit .278/.384/.489 with 242 homers in his career and played some pretty snazzy defense until age caught up with him. He was much maligned as a slacker and malingerer, but most of that was based on the way he carried himself — he wasn’t a rah-rah guy — than on actual reports of him, say, not actually being hurt or not giving his best effort.

In some ways he was a victim of three things that often give guys a bad reputation with the media: (a) that lack of being a vocal leader type; (b) the fact that so much of his value came via unsexy things like plate discipline; and (c) that thing at the beginning of his career where he and his agent — Scott Boras — hatched the plot in which he refused to play for the Phillies.

You can say what you want about the business savvy of all of that, but it all added up to people viewing Drew’s baseball abilities far more harshly than they may have viewed a similar player who walked a different kind of walk.

Javier Baez, D.J. LeMahieu have disagreement about sign-stealing

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Fellow second basemen Javier Baez of the Cubs and D.J. LeMahieu of the Rockies got into a disagreement in the top of the third inning of Sunday’s game at Coors Field over sign-stealing.

LeMahieu reached on a fielder’s choice ground out, then advanced to second base on Charlie Blackmon‘s single. While Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story were batting, Baez was concerned that LeMahieu was relaying the Cubs’ signs to his teammates. Baez decided to stand in front of LeMahieu to block any information he might have been giving to Arenado and Story. LeMahieu got irritated and the two jawed at each other for a bit. Umpires Vic Carapazza and Greg Gibson had to intervene to tell Baez to knock it off.

There has always been a back-and-forth with alleged sign-stealing. As long as teams aren’t using technology to steal signs, it’s fair game for players to relay information to their teammates about the opposing team’s signs. Last year, MLB determined the Red Sox went against the rules and used technology — an Apple watch in this case — to steal signs from the Yankees. Other teams in the past have been accused of using binoculars from the bullpen to steal signs. In this particular case with Baez and LeMahieu, there was no foul play going on, just Baez trying to make the Rockies cede what he perceived to be their slight competitive advantage.

The Cubs went on to beat the Rockies 9-7 on Sunday.