Josh Hamilton

Three reasons the Phillies won’t sign Josh Hamilton

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That’s awfully listy sounding, isn’t it? Don’t worry: I’m not going all Bleacher Report or Buzzfeed on you. This really does link to a story that provides three reasons why the Phillies won’t sign Josh Hamilton.

It’s from Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com, who knows the Phillies as well as anyone. He says Josh Hamilton is not going to sign there for the following three reasons, which he ranks from smallest reason to biggest:

  • “Hamilton hits left-handed and the Phillies would like to add a right-handed bat to complement the tandem of Ryan Howard and Chase Utley.”
  • “Hamilton will likely seek a long-term payday in excess of $100 million … It’s doubtful they want to write a check that big.”
  • “The Phillies have shown a willingness to spend big money — for the right player, and the right player is often one with impeccable intangibles. Hamilton just doesn’t seem to be the right player.”

I sort of discount reasons one and two in and of themselves. Sure, you don’t want to be too left handed, but if you need a bat you sign he best hitter, right? All things being equal you go with a righty, but if things aren’t equal and the lefty is better, you deal with it.

“Over $100 million” seems kinda broad. Might a team not reasonably sign him to a five-year, $20 million a year deal but balk at seven years? I get what Sailsbury means about the Phillies already having big payroll, but I think we’re going too far to say that there isn’t some reasonable but still large Josh Hamilton contract to be signed by someone. He has risks, but he’s not chopped liver.

The intangibles? Well, that is what it is. The Phillies have tended to go for good character guys, but they’re not fanatical about it. I could see him scaring them off.

This is not to pick nits. I think, in its entirety, Salisbury paints a pretty convincing picture of a bad match between the Phillies and Hamilton. But I don’t think it’s an overwhelmingly silly idea. Just unlikely.

Mets leaning on Jay Bruce, Neil Walker as Lucas Duda insurance

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MAY 12:  Pinch hitter Lucas Duda #21 of the New York Mets walks back to the dugout after striking out for the first out of the ninth inning against Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on May 12, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  The Dodgers won 5-0.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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The Mets have begun working outfielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Neil Walker at first base as potential insurance in the event Lucas Duda continues to experience back discomfort, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Duda has been sidelined recently due to back spasms and missed all but 47 games last season as a result of a stress fracture in his lower back.

Manager Terry Collins spoke about Bruce’s work at first base on Sunday, saying, “I liked everything I saw today. “It looks like he’s got the athleticism, he’s got the hands, he’s got the arm angle. He made some throws in our drills that you wouldn’t expect an outfielder to be able to make, but yet he does. If that’s where we have to go, I think we’ll be fine.”

Bruce has only three games’ worth of experience at first base at the major league level, but still has high expectations for himself. He said, “I am going to work at it. I want to give myself a chance and the team a chance. I am not going to go over there and be a butcher. It’s just not the way I go about my business on the baseball field and it wouldn’t be fair to the team if I wasn’t capable to do it, so I am going to work at it and we’ll see what happens.”

The Mets made Bruce available via trade over the offseason but didn’t get an offer that whet their appetite. As a result, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out in the Mets’ crowded outfield.

Jason Kipnis diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Jason Kipnis #22 of the Cleveland Indians celebrates after scoring a run on a wild pitch thrown by Jon Lester #34 of the Chicago Cubs (not pictured) during the fifth inning in Game Seven of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.

There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.

Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.