We’ve secretly replaced the 2010 Mets with the 2012 Red Sox and Walter Reed Hospital with Johnny Pesky’s funeral. Let’s see if anyone notices!
The late Johnny Pesky gave his life to his beloved Boston Red Sox but, sadly, it appears only four current players made time to attend theFenway icon’s funeral.
Word from Yawkey Way is that the Sox front office hired buses to bring players, office and staff to the funeral from the ballpark to the church. The suits, we hear, were surprised and disappointed when the vast majority of the 40 players on the roster didn’t bother to show up for the services.
The Boston Herald had a reporter there and counted the players, observing only David Ortiz, Clay Buchholz, Vincente Padilla and Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
Let’s pause for a moment and note that one of those guys is considered the biggest jerk in the game and another one got ripped for going to a charity function earlier this year.
Anyway, you know that this has to be true and that the front office is really, really mad. How do you know this? Because the front office issued a statement saying that the team was “well represented” at the funeral. And the source telling the Herald that the team is angry is — and I am not making this up — “Someone Who Knows.”
But hey, maybe “Someone Who Knows” is right and there is anger about the attendance at the funeral. Know what’s worse than that, though? The fact that “Someone Who Knows” thinks it’s nice and appropriate to use a man’s funeral in service of the season-long blame game being played by Red Sox staff.
Some men just want to watch the world burn. They all live in Massachusetts and work for the Sox, apparently.
Steve Gilbert of MLB.com reports that the Diamondbacks and outfielder A.J. Pollock have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a two-year extension. The deal is worth $10.25 million, per ESPN’s Buster Olney.
Pollock was arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter. The 28-year-old requested $3.9 million and was offered $3.65 million by the Diamondbacks when figures were exchanged on January 15. It wasn’t much of a gap, but the two sides were ultimately able to find common ground on a multi-year deal. Pollock will still be under team control for one more year after this new deal expires.
Pollock is coming off a breakout 2015 where he batted .315/.367/.498 with 20 home runs, 76 RBI, and 39 stolen bases over 157 games. He ranked sixth among position players with 7.4 WAR (Wins Above Replacement), according to Baseball Reference.
The Blue Jays and 2015 American League Most Valuable Player Josh Donaldson have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a two-year, $29 million contract, reports Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca.
Donaldson was arbitration-eligible for the second time this winter. He filed for $11.8 million and was offered $11.35 million by the Blue Jays when figures were exchanged last month. It wasn’t a big gap, but since the Blue Jays are a “file and trial” team, they bring these cases to an arbitration hearing unless a multi-year deal can be worked out. As opposed to last winter, they were able to avoid a hearing this time around. Donaldson was originally a Super Two player, so he’ll still have one year of arbitration-eligibility once this two-year deal is completed.
The 30-year-old Donaldson is coming off a monster first season in Toronto where he batted .297/.371/.568 with 41 homers while leading the American League with 123 RBI.
Brandon Belt filed for $7.5 million and was offered $5.3 million by the Giants when arbitration figures were exchanged last month. That’s a pretty sizable gap. While there’s still a chance that an agreement will be worked out at the last minute, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that an arbitration hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.
The Giants haven’t gone to an arbitration hearing since 2004, when they lost to catcher A.J. Pierzynski. Schulman hears from one person involved that because of the gap between Belt and the Giants, there’s a real chance this will break that string and require a hearing.
Belt batted .280/.356/.478 with 18 home runs and 68 RBI over 137 games in 2015, but he dealt with concussion symptoms for the second straight season. An arbitration hearing could bring some unpleasant conversation to the surface.
The Padres have inked veteran utility player Skip Schumaker to a minor league contract, per FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.
Schumaker, who turned 36 last week, has spent the last two seasons with the Reds. He batted .242/.306/.336 with one home run and 21 RBI over 131 games last season while making starts between all three outfield spots and second base. Cincinnati cut ties with him in November after declining a $2.5 million club option for 2016.
While Schumaker had to settle for a non-guaranteed deal here, it would be no surprise to see him land a bench job with the Padres come Opening Day.