Orioles’ pitcher Tommy Hunter didn’t have a great outing last night. But unlike some guys, he was not content to either hide from the media or to hide behind cliches about “not making my pitches.”
Nope, he had a pretty specific opinion of one of the pitches he left out over the plate for A.J. Pierzynski:
“Well, the one today was just a horsesh*t pitch in a horsesh*t spot. It was just horsesh*t. I don’t know how else to say it. It was a ball right down the middle of the plate that any big league hitter would be able to do that. I’m not taking anything away from Pierzynski. He put a good swing on it. Good for him. Tip your cap. But it was horsesh*t on my part.”
Some things in baseball change a lot. But then some things don’t. Guys have been calling stuff “horse sh**” in the game forever, even though you don’t often hear that term spoken by civilians. I’m kind of glad they still do, because it’s a great term.
But it’s a vexing one for me as a writer. Every fiber of my being wants to make it two words rather than a compound, but when I consulted Twitter on the matter the majority sentiment was that it should be one word (two if referring to actual equine feces as opposed to using it in the adjective form). The strongest dissenter was Old Hoss Radbourn, who has good reasons for making it two words, but he does the same thing to “base ball” and that’s troubling for me.
Oh well. I’ll let you guys decide. Henceforth, is it “horsesh*t” or “horse sh*t?” I will let the majority of the readership rule. Because, after all, I write this horsesh*t for you guys.
According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Nationals infielder Danny Espinosa declined to attend the team’s annual Winterfest because of his dissatisfaction with management following their trade for outfielder Adam Eaton.
A source told Castillo that Espinosa’s unhappiness stemmed from a belief that the acquisition would jeopardize his starting role in 2017. With Eaton in center field, Trea Turner will likely return to his post at shortstop, leaving Espinosa out in the cold — or, as the case may be, on the bench. The move shouldn’t come as a big surprise to Espinosa, however, as Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo spoke to the possibility of trading the infielder or reassigning him to a utility role back in early November.
Offensively, the 29-year-old had a down year in 2016, slashing just .209/.306/.378 with 24 home runs in 601 PA. Defensively, he still profiles among the top shortstops in the National League, with eight DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) and 8.3 Def (Defensive Runs Above Average) in his seventh year with the club.
Espinosa will reach free agency after the 2017 season.
The Red Sox might be trying to move the wrong pitcher, according to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo. Cafardo revealed that while the Sox have been trying to market right-hander Clay Buchholz, more teams would be interested in trades involving southpaw Drew Pomeranz.
The club appears reluctant to deal Pomeranz, especially because his price tag comes in at a cool $4.7 million to Buchholz’s $13.5 million in 2017. Those who have already expressed interest in the veteran hurlers, including the Twins, Mariners and Royals, also seem put off by Buchholz’s salary requirements as he enters his 32nd year.
Health could be another factor preventing teams from jumping to make trade offers, as Cafardo quotes an AL executive who believes the “medicals on both Pomeranz and Buchholz probably aren’t that great.” Neither pitcher suffered any major injuries during the 2016 season, though Pomeranz missed just over a week of play due to forearm soreness.
Pomeranz outperformed his fellow starter in 2016, pitching to a 3.32 ERA and career-best 9.8 K/9 through 170 2/3 innings with the Padres and Red Sox. He got off to an exceptionally strong start in San Diego, where his ERA dropped to 2.47 through the first half of the year before the Padres dealt him to Boston for minor league right-hander Anderson Espinoza. Buchholz, on the other hand, struggled with a 4.78 ERA and saw a decline in both his BB/9 and K/9 rates as he worked out a career-low 1.69 K/BB through 139 1/3 innings with the Sox.