According to Janie McCauley of the Associated Press, Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said earlier this evening that MLB is investigating a homophobic message sent from Derek Holland’s Twitter account to a heckler last night.
The tweet, which has since been deleted, was posted during the second game of yesterday’s doubleheader against the Angels in which Holland allowed seven runs over 6 2/3 innings as part of an 8-7 win. MLB prohibits players from using social media 30 minutes before a game or during a game.
Holland told Keith Whitmire of FOXSportsSouthwest.com that his fiancee has access to his Twitter account, but claims that the offensive message was the result of a hacker.
“It’s obvious it was not me,” Holland said. “It was during the game, for one. And for two, I’m in the dugout cheering my teammates on. Why would I say that anyway to begin with?”
“It’s definitely a hacker,” Holland said. “Obviously my fiancée can get into it, but trust me, she’s not like that. She’s one of the nicest people in the world.”
It’s not clear when MLB’s investigation will be complete, but Daniels called it a “serious issue” and an “unacceptable term to use.” The tweet was posted less than two weeks after Blue Jays shortstop Yunel Escobar was suspended three games for displaying a homophobic slur written in Spanish on his eye black.
Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times unloaded a lot of interesting news items about the Rays last night, including a report that the Rays might have “mutual interest” in a deal with free agent first baseman/DH Mike Napoli. The Rangers declined Napoli’s $11 million option earlier this month and owe the veteran infielder a $2.5 million buyout.
Napoli, 36, had a strange year in Texas. He turned in 29 home runs, good for 11th-most among AL hitters, but finished the year batting just .193/.285/.428 over 485 plate appearances. According to FanGraphs, his -0.5 fWAR was the worst mark of his career to date, but on the bright side, he should come cheap for a team looking to swap out their veterans come spring.
Of course, the specifics of the Rays’ offseason plan have yet to be divulged — or, by all accounts from Topkin, even decided on. The club could go the refurbishment route, changing out some of their higher-paid veterans for a mix of prospects and cheaper aging players; or they could opt for a full rebuild, which Topkin cautions against as it could have a negative effect on the financing of a new ballpark. Either way, the Rays figure to offload some of their bigger contracts this winter, and will need to decide if they want to retain Alex Colome, Chris Archer, Wilson Ramos, Evan Longoria and others before pursuing any other major free agents.