We’ve seen some of the excerpts from Mike Piazza’s upcoming book. But beyond PEDs and the Hall of Fame, there’s other interesting stuff. Like how he was all ready to fight Roger Clemens after the helmet beaning incident:
Piazza tells how he mapped out a plan for revenge — taking karate lessons and visualizing the next time they would go at it.
“I would approach with my fist pulled back. I figured he’d throw his glove out for protection. I’d parry the glove and then get after it,” Piazza writes.
Except he didn’t, and Piazza chides himself in the book for never throwing a punch, in part because he was worried he’d get his butt beat. Which, whatever. If Robin Ventura could recover from his ass-whupping, I don’t see why Piazza couldn’t have risked it.
But that’s not the only embarrassment Piazza reveals:
After a Guns N’ Roses concert, Piazza — who’d been drinking vodka all night — chided lead singer Axl Rose for wearing Rangers, Knicks and Yankees jerseys on stage. But not his team’s.
“I’m obliterated. I go, ‘Hey, yo, Axl! What the f–k, man? Like, you know, you think you could’ve mixed in a Mets jersey?’ ”
That would be relatively hilarious if it had happened during the “Use Your Illusion” tour, but if Piazza was yelling at Axl to wear Mets stuff it had to have happened after he was traded there in 1998.
I’m sorry, but actually admitting to going to a Guns N’ Roses concert in those weird years before “Chinese Democracy” was released is way more embarrassing than getting your butt beat by Roger Clemens.
Steve Gilbert of MLB.com reports that the Diamondbacks and outfielder A.J. Pollock have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a two-year extension. The deal is worth $10.25 million, per ESPN’s Buster Olney.
Pollock was arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter. The 28-year-old requested $3.9 million and was offered $3.65 million by the Diamondbacks when figures were exchanged on January 15. It wasn’t much of a gap, but the two sides were ultimately able to find common ground on a multi-year deal. Pollock will still be under team control for one more year after this new deal expires.
Pollock is coming off a breakout 2015 where he batted .315/.367/.498 with 20 home runs, 76 RBI, and 39 stolen bases over 157 games. He ranked sixth among position players with 7.4 WAR (Wins Above Replacement), according to Baseball Reference.
The Blue Jays and 2015 American League Most Valuable Player Josh Donaldson have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a two-year, $29 million contract, reports Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca.
Donaldson was arbitration-eligible for the second time this winter. He filed for $11.8 million and was offered $11.35 million by the Blue Jays when figures were exchanged last month. It wasn’t a big gap, but since the Blue Jays are a “file and trial” team, they bring these cases to an arbitration hearing unless a multi-year deal can be worked out. As opposed to last winter, they were able to avoid a hearing this time around. Donaldson was originally a Super Two player, so he’ll still have one year of arbitration-eligibility once this two-year deal is completed.
The 30-year-old Donaldson is coming off a monster first season in Toronto where he batted .297/.371/.568 with 41 homers while leading the American League with 123 RBI.
Brandon Belt filed for $7.5 million and was offered $5.3 million by the Giants when arbitration figures were exchanged last month. That’s a pretty sizable gap. While there’s still a chance that an agreement will be worked out at the last minute, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that an arbitration hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.
The Giants haven’t gone to an arbitration hearing since 2004, when they lost to catcher A.J. Pierzynski. Schulman hears from one person involved that because of the gap between Belt and the Giants, there’s a real chance this will break that string and require a hearing.
Belt batted .280/.356/.478 with 18 home runs and 68 RBI over 137 games in 2015, but he dealt with concussion symptoms for the second straight season. An arbitration hearing could bring some unpleasant conversation to the surface.
The Padres have inked veteran utility player Skip Schumaker to a minor league contract, per FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.
Schumaker, who turned 36 last week, has spent the last two seasons with the Reds. He batted .242/.306/.336 with one home run and 21 RBI over 131 games last season while making starts between all three outfield spots and second base. Cincinnati cut ties with him in November after declining a $2.5 million club option for 2016.
While Schumaker had to settle for a non-guaranteed deal here, it would be no surprise to see him land a bench job with the Padres come Opening Day.