Miguel Cabrera

You’ll be shocked to hear that Jim Leyland prefers Miguel Cabrera in the MVP race

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File this under: “Well, duh, of course he’s going to say that, and in his place you’d say the same thing,” but Jim Leyland’s rationale for thinking Miguel Cabrera is the MVP over Mike Trout is interesting. And yes, that “player you’re talking about” is Trout:

“Well, I’m gonna answer that this way,” Leyland said. “I will not use a player’s name, but according to the Sabermetrics, there’s a player that is better than Miguel Cabrera. When the guy that gave me the Sabermetrics told me that, I said, ‘Well then should we trade Miguel Cabrera for the player you’re talking about,’ and he said, ‘Oh no, you can’t do that.’

“And I said, ‘Well then you don’t believe in Sabermetrics, and neither do I.’”

Two things:

(1) I love how, when assessing Mike Trout, people dismiss it as “sabermetrics.” Since when is defense and base running “sabermetrics?”  Isn’t that part of baseball?  Indeed, the knock on statheads for years was that they only looked at the hitting numbers and paid no attention to defense and base running. Now, when that is considered, that’s some esoteric, statistical argument? Really?

(2) I know Leyland can’t say that he’d trade Miguel Cabrera for Mike Trout, but I guarantee you — I’d bet my life on it — that all 30 general managers in baseball, Dave Dombrowski included, would trade Miguel Cabrera straight up for Mike Trout. Indeed, the Angels would be the ones who balked at that, I’m sure.

Anyway, I’m going to go get my calculator so I can tell if this is a good play:

Royals pay tribute to late Yordano Ventura during spring training opener

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 12: Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals delivers a pitch against the Minnesota Twins during the first inning of the game on August 12, 2016 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
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The Royals honored former pitcher Yordano Ventura prior to their first Cactus League game against the Rangers on Saturday. Ventura was killed in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic in late January.

Rangers’ third baseman Adrian Beltre and center fielder Carlos Gomez paid their respects to the pitcher with a floral arrangement that was laid on the mound. Both teams stood along the foul lines during a pregame video tribute that highlighted Ventura’s tenure with Kansas City. Following the game, Gomez spoke to the media about his relationship with Ventura, describing their frequent conversations during the season and commending the pitcher for having “the same passion that I had early in my career” (via WFAA.com’s Levi Weaver).

A plaque dedicated to the 25-year-old was also presented to club manager Ned Yost as a more permanent commemoration of Ventura’s contributions to the sport. Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star reports that the plaque will be mounted in the club’s spring training facilities alongside tributes to members of the Royals’ 2014 and 2015 playoff teams.

The full text of the plaque is below, via MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan:

A brother and a teammate, Yordano Ventura, passed away on the morning of January 22 in his native Dominican Republic, at the age of 25. He signed with the Royals as a 17-year-old, eventually making the big league team in 2013 as a 22-year-old. On most days, he could be found laughing and joking with his baseball family in the clubhouse. However, on days when he pitched, that smile was replaced by a quiet confidence and an intense fire, which he brought to the mound for every start. He had many highlights in his abbreviated career, not the least of which was throwing eight shutout innings in Game #6 of the 2014 World Series to force a Game #7 vs. San Francisco.

Gerrit Cole named Pirates’ Opening Day starter

BRADENTON, FL - FEBRUARY 19: Gerrit Cole #45 of the Pittsburgh Pirates poses for a photograph during MLB spring training photo day on February 19, 2017 at Pirate City in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
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Right-hander Gerrit Cole is set to take the mound for the Pirates on Opening Day, according to a team announcement on Saturday. It’s a spot that was most recently occupied by former Pirate Francisco Liriano, who made three consecutive Opening Day starts for the club before getting dealt to the Blue Jays last August.

The 26-year-old produced career-worst numbers during his fourth run with the Pirates in 2016, due in large part to bouts of inflammation in his right elbow. He finished the year with a 3.88 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 116 innings before getting shut down in September to avoid further injury to his elbow. When healthy, however, Cole has been lights-out for the Pirates. Prior to his injury-laden campaign last year, he touted a career 3.07 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 8.5 SO/9 and cumulative 10.2 fWAR from 2013 through 2015.

Cole will go toe-to-toe with the Red Sox during Boston’s home opener on Monday, April 3. Right-hander Jameson Taillon is scheduled to make the second start of the year, while fellow righty Ivan Nova will cover the Pirates’ home opener against the Braves on April 7. The Pirates’ third and fifth starters have yet to be announced.