Tino Marintez is five and a half years older than me. Andy Pettitte is only one year older than me. And after reading their “back in my day” rebop from yesterday, I feel like we’re all 80 years-old.
It came in Bob Klapisch’s column in which those two, along with David Wells, talked about how the Yankees of today couldn’t have handled playing under George Steinbrenner back in the day:
To a man, the old breed doubts the new guys could’ve survived under Steinbrenner. The real Boss, that is, pre-2003.
“They wouldn’t know what to do. They’d be freaking out,” David Wells said.
“There wasn’t a lot of ‘make sure we protect this guy’ or ‘don’t hurt his feelings,’’’ Andy Pettitte said. “It was, ‘Go figure it out yourself.’ There was no nurturing or babying.”
“These guys have no idea what it was like in the 90s, just like I didn’t know what it was like in the 70s,” Tino Martinez said. “I enjoyed the circumstances — it made us better as a team; we didn’t worry about our statistics — but they’ve got it easier today.”
Oy vey. There’s always a core of truth to “you have it easier today than I did” comments. But really, these guys are talking about, like, 1996. I mean, I know it was rough then — if you could even afford a mobile phone it was analog — but it’s not like it was a different planet. The 1996 George Steinbrenner was practically neutered compared to the 1970s and 80s version. Goose Gossage is quoted later to remind us of that.
Anyway, I hope that when these “old timers” were talking about all of this, Jeter and Rivera were over on the other side of the room rolling their eyes.
With the Braves on the cusp of formalizing their one-year deal with Kurt Suzuki, the market for free agent catcher Matt Wieters is dwindling. ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick references an inside source that lists the Angels, Rockies and Reds as potential suitors for the 30-year-old’s services.
Wieters is coming off of an eight-year career with the Orioles. In 2016, he played through his first full year after undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2014 and batted .243/.302/.409 with 17 home runs and a .711 OPS in 464 PA. A return to Baltimore in 2017 isn’t out of the question, Crasnick writes, citing some within the team that would be open to Wieters stepping into a DH role and catching platoon with Wellington Castillo. However, he also points out that the front office appears divided on the veteran catcher, and sees the Orioles as a long shot for the foreseeable future.
The Angels have already been tied to Wieters this offseason, while the Rockies and Reds don’t appear to have made any formal inquiries so far. Both could use a veteran presence behind the dish, as the Rockies are planning to platoon rookie catcher Tom Murphy with 24-year-old Tony Wolters in the spring. The Reds, meanwhile, are banking on a quick recovery for 28-year-old Devin Mesoraco, who missed most of the 2016 season after undergoing shoulder and hip surgery and forced the club to rely almost exclusively on back-up backstop Tucker Barnhart.
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.