What’s more soul-killing: the lack of substantive baseball stories in the dead of winter or the proliferation of fluffy-nothing football stories a few days before the Super Bowl?
Kind of an existential question. Maybe the fluff football stories are worse in some way because, really, it’s not like there isn’t a lot of substantive, legit football things to talk about right now so there’s way less of an excuse for them. Baseball stories right now may be silly — like, really silly — but it’s not like there’s a big baseball game this weekend. Probably doesn’t matter.
Anyway, we now have crossover of the fluff football and the fluff baseball, as the Derek Jeter of football — Tom Brady — says that he loves the Tom Brady of baseball — Derek Jeter:
Tom Brady usually evokes man-crushes, but when it comes to Derek Jeter, the Patriots’ star quarterback gets giddy like a schoolgirl. The two-time NFL MVP and husband of supermodel Gisele Bundchen gushed Tuesday that he’s a big fan of the Yankees captain.
What follows are (a) quotes from Brady about how he loves the way Jeter plays the game (yawn); and (b) a tale-of-the-tape comparing the charms of Derek Jeter to that of Gisele. Bonus: one of them is pictured in their underwear.
Sorry, Yankees fans, it’s not Jeter.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Cubs have signed pitcher Brett Anderson to a contract, pending a physical. Anderson, apparently, impressed the Cubs during a bullpen session held in Arizona recently. According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, the deal is for $3.5 million, but incentives can bring the total value up to $10 million.
Anderson, 28, has only made a total of 53 starts and 12 relief appearances over the past five seasons due to a litany of injuries. This past season, he made just three starts and one relief appearance, yielding 15 runs on 25 hits and four walks with five strikeouts in 11 1/3 innings. The lefty dealt with back, wrist, and blister issues throughout the year.
When he’s healthy, Anderson is a solid arm to have at the back of a starting rotation or in the bullpen. The defending world champion Cubs aren’t risking much in bringing him on board.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports provides an interesting window into how teams handle a player’s contract after he has died in an accident. It was reported on Sunday that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura died in a car accident in the Dominican Republic. He had three guaranteed years at a combined $19.25 million as well as two $12 million club options with a $1 million buyout each for the 2020-21 seasons.
What happens to that money? Well, that depends on the results of a toxicology report, Rosenthal explains. If it is revealed that Ventura was driving under the influence, payment to his estate can be nullified. The Royals may still choose to pay his estate some money as a gesture of good will, but they would be under no obligation to do so. However, if Ventura’s death was accidental and not caused by his driving under the influence, then his contract remains fully guaranteed and the Royals would have to pay it towards his estate. The Royals would be reimbursed by insurance for an as yet unknown portion of that contract.
The results of the toxicology report won’t be known for another three weeks, according to Royals GM Dayton Moore. Dominican Republic authorities said that there was no alcohol found at the scene.
Ventura’s situation is different than that of Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, who died in a boating accident this past September. Fernandez was not under contract beyond 2016. He was also legally drunk and cocaine was found in his system after the accident. Still, it is unclear whether or not Fernandez was driving the boat. As a result, his estate will receive an accidental death payment of $1.05 million as well as $450,000 through the players’ standard benefits package, Rosenthal points out.