I wasn’t gonna say anything about this, but you people won’t leave me alone, so here it is: no, I am not going to do a “Chipper Jones is in the Worst Shape of His Life” post. And it has nothing to do with me being a Braves homer. I just don’t see the evidence for it.
The thing motivating it today is Deadspin’s posting of a picture taken at Braves camp the other day in which, let’s be honest, Chipper Jones looks like total hell:
Not good! But the thing is, it seems like this is more about that picture being unfortunate than it is about Chipper Jones being in any worse shape than he’s been in the past couple of years. Because here’s a pic taken of Jones, in uniform, on Monday:
Seems like pretty normal late-model Chipper Jones to me.
Obviously the BSOHL and the more infrequent WSOHL stuff is just for fun, but I feel like we have to at least attempt to be fair. If a manager says a player has put on some pounds or something, cool. But if a guy just looks like a 39 year-old in a muscle shirt — which is ugly 100% of the time — that doesn’t seem good enough for me, especially if he looks normal in uniform.
The Red Sox are expecting to go to an arbitration hearing with left-handed reliever Fernando Abad, per Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe. Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski said there was a “decent chance” a hearing would be necessary after countering Abad’s $2.7 million request with $2 million.
Abad, 31, pitched just 12 2/3 innings for Boston after the club acquired him from Minnesota at the trade deadline last season. The lefty earned a cumulative 3.66 ERA, 4.2 BB/9 and 7.9 SO/9 for the two teams in 2016. He received $1.25 million in 2016 and will remain under club control (through arbitration) in 2017. A $2.7 million salary would be a hefty increase for the veteran reliever, who has seen a significant decline since he put up a 1.57 ERA for the Athletics in 2014 and who has not amassed more than 0.6 fWAR in any single season to date.
While the Red Sox aren’t close to settling with Abad, Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald reports that they may be closing in on a settlement with left-handed starter Drew Pomeranz. Pomeranz filed at $5.7 million, while the Sox felt more comfortable at $3.6 million. The two are expected to meet somewhere in the middle to avoid an arbitration hearing later this winter.
The Braves reportedly have a deal in place with free agent catcher Kurt Suzuki, per Chris Cotillo of SB Nation. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that the contract is for one year, $1.5 million with up to $2.5 million in additional incentives.
Suzuki, 33, completed a three-year track with the Twins in 2016, slashing .258/.301/.403 with eight home runs in 373 PA. The veteran backstop likely won’t provide an offensive or defensive upgrade over current starter Tyler Flowers, but should give the Braves some depth at a position they’ve been looking to strengthen since the start of the offseason.
The team has yet to confirm the deal.