In July 2006, Blue Jays infielder Shea Hillenbrand wrote “The ship is sinking” and “play for yourself” on a clubhouse bulletin board. In response, manager John Gibbons confronted him in a closed team meeting and challenged him to a fight. A couple days later Hillenbrand was traded away.
So what does Hillenbrand think about Gibbons being re-hired as the Jays manager? Brendan Kennedy of the Toronto Star talked to him and he thinks it’s quite delightful, actually:
“That’s awesome,” he said. “He’s a great guy …I think he handled the situation that we had very professionally and I didn’t handle it professionally at all … All I know is that during my time with him he was a really good manager and I think he did a really good job with what he had … I think John’s going to be a great addition to that ball club and he’s a great guy.”
Well, that’s no fun. No fun at all. Of course I skew misanthropic, so maybe it’s a good thing that there are no long-standing grudges here.
(Thanks to Paul Martin for the heads up)
Infielder Brett Lawrie successfully avoided arbitration and signed a one-year contract with the White Sox on Friday, per a team announcement. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman added that the deal was for $3.5 million, significantly lower than the $4.125 million Lawrie was paid by the White Sox in 2016.
The White Sox acquired Lawrie last December in a swap for minor league arms Zack Erwin and J.B. Wendelken. After splitting time at second and third base for the Athletics in 2015, Lawrie slotted in at second base and DH for the White Sox and batted .248/.310/.413 with 12 home runs in 384 PA. While it’s strange to see a healthy, fairly productive player receive a salary reduction in arbitration, Lawrie missed nearly half of the season with a strain in his left hamstring, though he’s projected to return at full health by the start of the 2017 season.
Left-hander Brian Duensing signed a one-year, $2 million contract with the Cubs on Friday, per a report from FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman.
The free agent spent the bulk of his 2016 season with the Orioles after receiving a call-up from Triple-A Norfolk in early June. He underwent elbow surgery several weeks later when a freak bullpen injury revealed cartilage chips and inflammation in his pitching elbow, but recovered to finish the season with a 4.05 ERA and 10 strikeouts in 13 1/3 innings for the club. The Orioles utilized him for a final out during the AL Wild Card game, during which Duensing recorded a five-pitch strikeout in the ninth inning of their 5-2 loss to the Blue Jays.
The 33-year-old is currently expected to bulk up the Cubs’ left-handed relief corps, with fellow left-hander Mike Montgomery slated for the rotation in 2017.