Chipper Jones has received various items from opposing teams during his farewell tour around MLB. A cowboy hat here, a surfboard there. You know the deal. However, given his history of tormenting the Mets, many wondered what he would receive from the club upon arriving to Citi Field today. Perhaps something traditional like a gold watch? Maybe something a bit more sentimental like a seat from Shea Stadium? How about a one-way ticket back to Atlanta? Nope.
Via the Mets’ Twitter account, COO Jeff Wilpon presented Jones with a painting by artist Charles Fazzino during a press conference before tonight’s game:
That’s…interesting. Just in case you can’t tell, the pop piece depicts Jones back at Shea Stadium, complete with a fan yelling “Larrrry” from the stands. That’s a cool touch. According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, a mix of boos and cheers could be heard when the Mets showed a video before the game of Jones receiving his going away present. Many words were wasted on whether the Mets should pay tribute to Jones at all, but it looks like they handled this situation just about right. If only they could do that a little more often.
Every now and then, The Players’ Tribune runs a “five toughest” feature. In 2015, David Ortiz listed the five toughest pitchers he ever faced. Last month, Christian Yelich wrote up the five toughest pitchers in the NL East. Now, it’s Ian Kinsler‘s turn with the five toughest pitchers in the AL Central.
Kinsler goes into detail explaining why each pitcher is difficult to face, so hop over to The Players’ Tribune for his reasoning. His list
Presumably, Kinsler intentionally omitted his Tiger teammates from the list. He has faced Justin Verlander a fair amount earlier in his career, and he has only a .176/.333/.235 batting line in 42 plate appearances against the right-hander. Verlander’s stuff is often described as tough to hit in one phrase or another. Kinsler has also struggled against Indians starter Carlos Carrasco (.590 OPS), but one can understand why he would be omitted from a list of five given who was already listed.
Angels first baseman C.J. Cron hit a grand slam against the Mets on Sunday, but it wasn’t enough to keep his spot on the major league roster as the club announced his demotion to Triple-A Salt Lake on Monday. Infielder Nolan Fantana has been promoted from Salt Lake.
Cron, 27, was hitting a disappointing .232/.281/.305 with one home run and RBI in 90 plate appearances. I guess you can say that wasn’t the kind of Cron job the Angels were expecting. Cron was an above-average hitter in each of his first three seasons, finishing with an OPS+, or adjusted OPS, of 111, 106, and 115 (100 is average).
While Cron is figuring things out in the minors, Luis Valbuena, Jefry Marte, and Albert Pujols could each see some time at first base.