Nick Canepa once again demands that the Padres release Yasmani Grandal

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Back in November Nick Canepa of the San Diego Union Tribune wrote what may have been the worst baseball column I read all year (and I wasn’t the only one to think so).

In it he demanded that the Padres release catcher Yasmani Grandal due to his positive PED test. The idea is stupid enough. One does not simply cut ties with a 24 year-old catcher who is under team control for five more years and who has shown immense promise. But it was Canepa’s overwrought, dramatic prose that really set his column apart.

According to Canepa, Grandal committed “an incredibly stupid and thoughtless act.” He “tore the club’s head off.” He “burned this franchise, his teammates and its fans.” He called the act “unforgivable,” and made a weird cryptic comment about how there is no place in a decent world for sports. It was really out of sight.

Three passing of three months has not brought Canepa back to Earth, it seems. Via the Avenging Jack Murphy blog, we learn that Canepa has struck again. After noting the questions with the Padres’ pitching staff, Canepa fights the real enemy:

But doing most of the damage is Yasmani Grandal, who after coming on strong at the end of the year seemed set to be the team’s starting catcher for years. But he got himself busted for taking PEDs and will miss the first 50 games of the season, and that’s if the organization takes him back at all, which it shouldn’t because he absolutely screwed this team …

… How long had he been on the juice? Are there any guarantees he’s going to be the same player if he comes back? There seems to be a feeling within the organization that Grandal hasn’t come clean on this drug thing, especially now that his name allegedly has surfaced in the Miami anti-aging clinic scandal. The justice department probably is going to get involved now. Do the Padres want to be a part of this?

He acts as if Grandal was the first person to ever test positive for PEDs and that keeping Grandal somehow puts the Padres at some great risk. He acts as if there is no downside to the Padres releasing one of the more talented young players in the game. I refuse to believe that Canepa is stupid. I refuse to believe that he does not know that teams like the Padres can’t simply ship talent off and that Grandal is likely to have a good major league career ahead of him. I refuse to believe it, not because I know that much about Canepa, but because no person on planet Earth could possess so much weapons-grade stupidity without being sanctioned by the U.N. Security Council.

No, Canepa is not stupid. He’s grandstanding and hand-wringing and moralizing. And that’s worse than stupidity, because that’s willful.

Mike Trout has no interest in being a superstar

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At The Ringer, Michael Baumann published a terrific feature on Angels outfielder Mike Trout. Trout, 25, is a two-time American League MVP Award-winner and the 2012 AL Rookie of the Year Award winner. He’s already the greatest position player of his generation and is well on his way to becoming one of the greatest baseball players of all time.

Recently, I ruffled a few feathers here by calling Trout boring. ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick said as much last year. And the simple truth is that, for reasons Baumann explains, he is boring by choice. Trout wants to be a role model for kids. His agent Craig Landis said, “I have Little League and high school coaches come up to me all the time and tell me that they tell their kids, ‘This is how you do it. Period. In all aspects. This is your role model.'” Trout is the only active big league client Landis has. If he wanted to, Trout could have super-agent Scott Boras on bended knee begging for him to sign.

Trout is friendly to everyone and doesn’t come close to controversy when he speaks to the media. The most controversial thing Trout has said, Baumann recalls, is that his go-to order at Wawa is chicken noodle soup. For the uninitiated, Wawa is a popular gas station-slash-convenience store in Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey as well as Maryland, Virginia, and Florida. Wawa is known for its coffee and its hoagies, even starting “Hoagiefest” almost a decade ago offering discounts on hoagies to its patrons. To go to Wawa just to get chicken noodle soup is akin to sacrilege — just ask any Wawa devotee. There are lots of them.

Trout does not bark at other players for playing the game differently, more emotionally. He himself doesn’t celebrate wildly when he does something great on the field, which happens to be quite often. He has taken what is, for a player of his stature, the bare minimum in endorsement deals.

It is a shame for Major League Baseball, and for its fans, that Trout has no interest in becoming a superstar. As you’ve no doubt read here, baseball has had trouble reaching younger audiences. The only sports with a lower percentage of kids 17 years of age or younger watching are golf and NASCAR. 17 percent of those aged 18-34 watch baseball, a far cry from the NBA’s 32 percent and the NHL’s 28 percent. When I was a kid, Ken Griffey, Jr. was arguably the most popular athlete among my peers. We imitated his batting stance when we played backyard baseball and stepped into the batter’s box in Little League. MLB marketed him like no baseball player had ever been marketed before, bringing him into our households on a regular basis. Griffey was in countless commercials, put his face on video games, and was a pop culture personality. Today, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a kid who cares who Mike Trout is — or even Bryce Harper or Clayton Kershaw, for that matter — because they’re watching basketball, football, YouTube, Twitch and numerous other venues of entertainment. And MLB hasn’t made much of an effort to capture their attention.

Major League Baseball should be beating down our doors attempting to show us Trout’s otherworldly talent. Unfortunately, Trout has no interest in becoming the face of the sport the way Griffey did.

Rougned Odor received two horses as part of his contract extension with Rangers

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Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor reached an agreement with the Rangers on a six-year, $49.5 million contract extension. It was announced on Saturday and finalized on Thursday. The contract is pretty typical — a signing bonus, escalating salaries each year — except for one thing: Odor received two elite horses as well, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports.

Here are those horses, per Jared Sandler of 1053 The Fan:

Players do sometimes get perks as part of their contracts. Usually it’s mundane stuff like extra game tickets for family and friends, use of a suite, limo rides, or plane tickets. Sometimes they can get rather specific. For example, in 2005, Troy Glaus got $250,000 per year in “personal business expenses” from the Diamondbacks, which was for his wife’s equestrian training. Hall of Famer George Brett got a 10 percent stake in an apartment complex in Memphis when he signed an extension with the Royals in the mid-1980’s. But as far as my research was able to go, no one received any horses, so that’s new.

Of course, the Rangers certainly think Odor is worth the perks. Last season, Odor hit .271/.296/.502 with 33 home runs, 88 RBI, 89 runs scored, and 14 stolen bases in 632 plate appearances. And at just 23 years old, he has plenty of room to improve.