If “number of scouts watching a guy play” is any indication of the seriousness of his team to trade him, consider Cole Hamels out the door already. From Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com:
There were so many scouts behind the backstop at Coors Field on Sunday afternoon that you could have built a campfire and made smores.
Oh, wrong kind of scouts.
These were baseball scouts, you know, the kind with straw hats, stop watches, radar guns, and questionable wardrobes. All the relevant chapters were present: Texas, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Miami, San Francisco, the Dodgers and Angels. There were more than that, in fact.
All of the teams present make sense except for maybe the Giants who don’t need pitching as bad as hitting, but the sheer number of scouts impressed a lot of people who cover the Phillies every day, so it was clearly unusual. Not that wanting Hamels would be unusual for anyone, but still.
Biggest takeaway from this: next time you’re at the ballgame, look for the straw hats and questionable wardrobes, because Salisbury is dead on with that. I’d add “polo shirt tucked in to dockers,” but that may be included in the “questionable wardrobe” part. The radar guns are a giveaway, but they don’t all hold guns, so this is useful for scout spotting.
UPDATE, 12:07 p.m. EDT: The Royals have confirmed reports of Yordano Ventura’s death with an official statement. No further details pertaining to the accident have been divulged.
Terrible, terrible news: Christian Moreno of ESPN reports that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura has been killed in an automobile accident in the Dominican Republic. His death has been confirmed by police. He was only 25 years-old. There are as of yet no details about the accident.
Ventura was a four-year veteran, having debuted in 2013 but truly bursting onto the scene for the Royals in 2014. That year he went 14-10 with a 3.20 ERA in 183 innings, ascending to the national stage along with the entire Royals team with some key performances in that year’s ALDS and World Series. The following year Ventura won 13 games for the World Champion Royals and again appeared in the playoffs and World Series.
Ventura was often in the middle of controversy — he found himself in several controversies arising out of his habit of hitting and brushing back hitters — but he was an undeniably electric young talent who was poised to anchor the Royals rotation for years to come. His loss, like that of Jose Fernandez just this past September, is incalculable to both his team, his fans and to Major League Baseball as a whole.
Our thoughts go out to his family, his friends, his teammates and his fans.
Free agent right-hander Tim Lincecum isn’t ready to hang up his cleats just yet. At least, that’s the word from Lincecum’s agent, Rick Thurman, who says the 32-year-old is still “throwing and getting ready for the season” (via Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News).
Lincecum may not be ready to enter retirement, but another quote from Thurman suggests that he’ll be picky about where he pitches next. He doesn’t appear open to pitching overseas, and despite not having a contract for 2017 (or even any serious suitors), the right-hander is set on pitching in the big leagues this year. Whether or not he’s willing to take a bullpen role to do so remains to be seen.
While Baggarly predicts some interest in the veteran righty, there’s not much in Lincecum’s recent history to inspire faith in him as a starter, or even a reliever. He picked up a one-year, $2.5 million contract with the Angels following his hip surgery in 2015, and went 2-6 in 2016 with a 9.16 ERA, 5.4 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 over 38 1/3 innings. At this point, a minor league contract seems like the surest path back to major league success, though he’s unlikely to find an open spot on the Giants’ or Angels’ rosters anytime soon.