Major League Baseball just announced something very cool: a charity auction to benefit the Stand Up to Cancer. The initiative was inspired by the numerous cases of public relations officials in the sport who have been diagnosed with cancer in recent years.
The auction starts now and goes through Thursday December 6 at midnight and includes over 70 items and experiences donated by teams and players. And it’s cool stuff. All of it can be found on the main auction page. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Be a Baltimore Orioles player for a day – eat with team, take batting practice and sit in the dugout during a Spring Training game.
- Ride on the Orioles’ team bus to and from a road game in Washington D.C. You may not play “Try a little tenderness” on an acoustic guitar, unfortunately.
- Even if you can’t do that, you can bid on a 30-minute guitar lesson from Cincinnati Reds All-Star pitcher Bronson Arroyo. I’m assuming its Dave Matthews heavy;
- Receive a visit from Washington Nationals pitchers Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard to your child’s school and eat lunch with them in their cafeteria.
- Take batting practice at Progressive Field with the Cleveland Indians. And heck, you may be able to make the team seeing as though it is the Indians.
- Breakfast with All-Star Hunter Pence of the 2012 World Series Champion San Francisco Giants. I’m assuming its intense.
- Eat lunch with Phillies GM Ruben Amaro, Jr., new Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell or Hall of Famer Tommy Lasorda of the Dodgers. If you win this bid and don’t pick Lasorda, I don’t want to know you.
- Receive pitching lessons from any of five Major League pitching coaches, including Jim Hickey (Rays) Rick Honeycutt (Dodgers), Charles Nagy (D-backs), Bryan Price (Reds), or Carl Willis (Mariners). It’s an egg. Hold it like an egg, meat.
- Work a one-day internship in the New York Yankees Media Relations Department. Could be cool. By the end of the day they’ll teach you 50 ways to not say ANYTHING to the media.
- “Host a private party at your home with the Milwaukee Brewers Famous Racing Sausages.” So … a literal sausage party? I love this. It may be a cancer benefit, but there is definitely humor here. I may bid on this bad boy.
- There’s lots of other stuff like batting practice with teams, merchandise, primo Green Monster seats in Boston and much, much more.
Check out the auction and see if you can’t do your part to help a worthy cause.
Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports that the Tigers are in discussions with free agent starter Jordan Zimmermann. His sources have told him that the talks have become “serious”.
Zimmermann, 29, has a career 3.32 ERA across parts of seven seasons in the majors. He finished fifth in National League Cy Young Award balloting in 2014, finishing with a 2.66 ERA and a 182/29 K/BB ratio over 199 2/3 innings.
Among starters who have amassed at least 1,000 innings since 2009, only Cliff Lee, Dan Haren, Madison Bumgarner, and Zack Greinke have compiled a better strikeout-to-walk ratio than Zimmermann’s 4.09. While he doesn’t have the star power of other free agents such as Greinke or David Price, the Tigers would certainly improve their rotation by bringing him on board.
Having already added Jesse Chavez and J.A. Happ to the mix and re-signing Marco Estrada early in the offseason, Blue Jays interim GM Tony LaCava said the team will continue to pursue pitching upgrades, as Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports. Nicholson-Smith added that LaCava declined to comment on free agent ace David Price. It is believed that the Jays will not pursue Price and other big-name free agent starting pitchers given their November activity.
The Jays re-signed Estrada to a two-year, $26 million deal on November 13, acquired Chavez from the Athletics in exchange for reliever Liam Hendriks on November 20 and signed Happ to a three-year, $36 million deal on Friday.
Nicholson-Smith notes in a column on Sportsnet that the Jays need to address the bullpen in particular. That is especially true after swapping Hendriks, who had a career-best 2.92 ERA out of the Jays’ bullpen in 2015, for a back-end starting pitcher.
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports spoke to an anonymous baseball executive, who said that Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon is “untradeable”. The Nationals are hoping to trade both Papelbon and the man he displaced, Drew Storen.
Papelbon has a poor reputation in baseball, particularly after a dugout altercation with superstar outfielder Bryce Harper. Focusing strictly on what he does on the field, Papelbon still gets the job done. The 35-year-old finished the last season with a combined 2.13 ERA, 24 saves, and a 56/12 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings between the Phillies and Nationals.
The Nationals owe Papelbon $11 million for the 2016 season.
Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper reports that corner infielder Mike Hessman has retired from professional baseball after 20 seasons. Hessman hit 433 home runs in the minor leagues, an all-time record. He broke Buzz Arlett’s record this past August and with style as #433 was a grand slam.
Hessman, 37, was selected in the 16th round of the 1996 draft by the Braves and remained with the organization through the 2004 season. He then went to the Tigers from 2005-09, the Mets in 2010, then drifted into the Astros and Reds’ farm systems before returning to the Tigers for the last two years.
Hessman took 250 plate appearances at the major league level, batting .188/.272/.422 with 14 home runs and 33 RBI.