UPDATE: Well, maybe not:
6:47 AM: There is a lot uncertainty about this at the moment. It’s not been confirmed by anyone at the moment (given the hour no surprise). Watch for updates.
6: 38 AM: KPIX TV in San Francisco is reporting that The Giants “have a deal in place” to acquire Hunter Pence from the Phillies, pending ownership approval. At the moment there’s no word on who would head back to Philly if the deal is approved.
The Phillies have been letting other clubs know that Pence is available for several days now, and the Giants’ three-runs over three games against the Dodgers this past weekend may very well have been the final impetus Brian Sabean needed to add a bat.
Pence is hitting .268/.333/.44 on the season with 17 home runs and 59 RBI. He struggled in April, raked in May and June and has once again hit the skids in July so it’s been something of an erratic year for him. Still, he’d represent a power upgrade for the Giants who only have two dudes with as many as 10 home runs. Pence is 30 and he’s got one year left of team control, and his arbitration award in 2013 could be around $12-13 million bucks.
The ownership approval part is interesting. I assume that means Giants owners given it would require them taking on a largish salary commitment. Could be the Phillies owners, though. But really, I see no reason why the people who currently own the Phillies — the Atlanta Braves — would balk at such a deal.
On Sunday, it was reported that second baseman Neil Walker and the Mets were discussing a potential three-year contract extension worth “north of $40 million.” Those discussions took a turn for the worse. The Mets feel extension talks are “probably dead,” according to Mike Puma of the New York Post.
Walker underwent a lumbar microdisectomy in September, ending his 2016 season during which he hit .282/.347/.476 with 23 home runs and 55 RBI over 458 plate appearances.
The Mets may not necessarily need to keep Walker around as it has some potential options up the middle waiting in the minor leagues. Though Amed Rosario is expected to stick at shortstop, Gavin Cecchini — the club’s No. 3 prospect according to MLB Pipeline — could shift over to second base.
The story of Rick Ankiel is well known by now. He was a phenom pitcher who burst onto the scene with the Cardinals in 1999 and into the 2000 season as one of the top young talents in the game. Then, in the 2000 playoffs, he melted down. He got the yips. Whatever you want to call it, he lost the ability to throw strikes and his pitching career was soon over. He came back, however, against all odds, and remade his career as a solid outfielder.
It’s inspirational and incredible. But there is a lot more to the story that we’ve ever known. We will soon, however, as Ankiel is coming out with a book. Today he took to the airwaves and shared some about it. Including some amazing stuff:
On drinking in his first start after the famous meltdown in Game One of the 2000 National League division series against the Braves:
“Before that game…I’m scared to death. I know I have no chance. Feeling the pressure of all that, right before the game I get a bottle of vodka. I just started drinking vodka. Low and behold, it kind of tamed the monster, and I was able to do what I wanted. I’m sitting on the bench feeling crazy I have to drink vodka to pitch through this. It worked for that game. (I had never drank before a game before). It was one of those things like the yipps, the monster, the disease…it didn’t fight fair so I felt like I wasn’t going to fight fair either.”
Imagine spending your whole life getting to the pinnacle of your career. Then imagine it immediately disintegrating. And then imagine having to go out and do it again in front of millions. It’s almost impossible for anyone to contemplate and, as such, it’s hard to judge almost anything Ankiel did in response to that when he was 21 years-old. That Ankiel got through that and made a career for himself is absolutely amazing. It’s a testament to his drive and determination.