A pleasant day at Goodyear


It’s been a nice day so far at Goodyear. After talking to Nick Swisher, Jason Giambi, Terry Francona and after watching and pretending to scout Scott Kazmir, I feel like it’s a good time to stop being a reporter and mostly just gawk. So I’m gawking.

Bad news about Goodyear Park? The press box is impossibly small. Like, there’s room for the home writers, the team PR people, the MLB and scorer people and, like, three visiting scribes. That crowds me out. The good news: for the second straight year the Indians staff let me set up in a luxury box just down the way from the press box. My view:


It’s way better too. I’m out on the patio in the open air with just as good a view as the press box types but with way better atmosphere.  Last year I caught a foul ball up here. It’s the bottom of the fifth as I’m writing this and no luck yet, but I’m hopeful. And if I do get one, there is no Jonah Keri here this year to guilt me into giving it to a kid. It’s minemineminemine.

The game so far: 2-0 Indians beating the Dodgers. It’s pretty inconsequential, though. It’s a split squad Dodgers team and, really, not much drama is going down with this Tribe team at the moment. It’s a far more chill day than is even typical for spring training. The highlight so far: Don Mattingly — who you can see in the dugout in the picture above — stood up an inning or two ago, attempted to put his lineup card in his back pocket, tried again, and again, and again, and again, and kept missing his pocket. So he threw it on the floor.

This guy:



Amazingly not a scout.  I thought he might have been, as he was watching the Kazmir thing earlier and, well, looks like how I imagine all scouts looking.  Nope. Just a guy “who likes a lot of baseball” he told me. His name is Carl. He goes out to a different complex every day and just hangs around until he feels like getting lunch, he says. I want to be Carl when I grow up. He’s really cool.

Just outside the Indians’ clubhouse: Phiten necklaces, marked down!



This is how it was with Poison albums just after Nirvana hit big.  Speaking of big:


Love this thing. If Cheech and Chong made a baseball movie this would be a central plot point, methinks.  And now from the comedic to the absurd:


In between the first and second inning some trainer people jumped onto the dugout and did a “90 second workout” for the crowd. They actually expected everyone to get up and exercise. They yelled things like “C’mon! You’re not gonna work off those beers just sitting there! Now 1! And 2! And stretch! And move!”

Their bodies were never discovered and there are no suspects.

Pirates expressing interest in Justin Masterson

Justin Masterson
AP Photo/Ben Margot
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Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage has become the king of the reclamation project. And it sounds like he’s about to take on another big one …

Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that the Pirates have expressed interest in free agent Justin Masterson. The expectation is that it will be a one-year deal with the goal of rebuilding the right-hander’s value in an environment where many other struggling veteran pitchers have executed significant career turnarounds.

Masterson earned his first (and only) All-Star nod in 2013 when he registered a 3.45 ERA, 195 strikeouts, and three shutouts in 32 appearances with the Indians. But he had a 5.88 ERA in 128 2/3 innings between Cleveland and St. Louis in 2014 and he continued struggling to the tune of a 5.61 ERA with the Red Sox in 2015.

It’s not clear whether the Bucs would try him as a starter or reliever.

Zack Greinke deal “could come soon,” Dodgers and Giants lead the bidding

Zack Greinke
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

Jordan Zimmermann signed with the Tigers on Sunday for five years, $110 million. David Price signed with the Red Sox on Tuesday for seven years, $217 million.

Two big dominos have fallen in this loaded free agent market for starting pitchers, and another big one is about to go …

FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal says a deal for Zack Greinke “could come soon” and it’s currently “Dodgers vs. Giants” at the top of the bidding ladder.

ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick confirms that both the Dodgers and Giants are looking for an answer from Greinke, adding that the 32-year-old right-hander seeks a five- or six-year deal with a greater average annual value (AAV) than what Price just secured from Boston. That number would be $31 million, so we’re talking something close to $32 million through 2020-2021.

Greinke opted out of the remaining three years and $71 million contract with Los Angeles in October after posting a 1.66 ERA and 0.84 WHIP across 222 2/3 regular-season innings in 2015. He finished second to the Cubs’ Jake Arrieta in the National League Cy Young Award balloting.

The Red Sox get their ace! Boston signs David Price to a 7-year, $217 million deal


Multiple reports circulated in the past week that the Red Sox would need to unload the money truck in order to sign David Price. Well, the truck just got unloaded: Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe reports that the Red Sox have signed David Price to a seven-year, $217 million contract.

This is, by far, the largest free agent contract the Red Sox have ever given a pitcher. It beats Max Scherzer‘s seven-year, $210 million deal signed last offseason as the largest ever free agent pitcher contract. Clayton Kershaw‘s contract extension with the Dodgers was for $215 million.

Price went 82-47 with a 3.18 ERA pitching in the AL East while with the Tampa Bay Rays. After being traded to the Tigers just before the 2014 trade deadline he went 13-8 with a 2.90 ERA in 32 starts. He returned to the AL East with the Blue Jays this year, going 9-1 with a 2.30 ERA in 11 starts. He also pitched in the playoffs for the Jays starting three times in four overall appearances.

The Red Sox were in dire need of pitching and they were said to be gunning for Price to fill that need. Target: acquired.

Major League Baseball’s annual drug testing report has been released

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MLB and the MLBPA just released the annual public report from the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program’s Independent Program Administrator. It’s the annual report, mandated by the JDA, which says how many positive drug tests there were, what the drugs were, etc.

The notable numbers, which cover the period starting when the 2014 World Series ended until the 2015 World Series ended:

  • Total number of tests administered: 8,158. 6,536 of them were urine tests, 1,622 of them were blood tests for HGH;
  • 10 tests resulted in positives which led to discipline: 7 for PEDs, 2 for stimulants, one for DHEA;
  • The previous year there were 7,929 total tests with 12 which resulted in discipline;
  • There were the same number of Therapeutic Use Exemptions granted this year as last: 113. All but two were for attention deficit disorder. One was for gynecomastia, which is the swelling of the breast tissue in men due to a hormone imbalance, one was for a stress fracture in someone’s elbow.

A use exemption line item which had appeared on the list for the previous several years — hypogonadism — was not there, so congratulations to the anonymous player who was either cured or who retired.

As we always note, the number of players who got exemptions for ADD drugs is a bit higher than the occurrence of ADD in the population at large and, once you eliminate kids from ADHD occurrences, it’s likely considerably higher. But that’s none of my business.