Ken Rosenthal’s story following last night’s US-Dominican Republic game is a good one. And what’s described in this paragraph is both sad and predictable:
Some American fans on Twitter actually objected to the constant horn-blowing of the Dominican fans and the on-field celebrations of their players in the ninth. Some old-school baseball types object, too, as if the only proper way to play the game is in staid, humble fashion.
I believe the Twitter stuff because people will object to anything on Twitter. If you tweeted something about giving everyone in the world free pie someone would tweet about how you’re a no-good cake-hater. Twitter was built for contrary cranks, which is part of the reason I love it so.
But who are the “old-school baseball types?” I’m just speculating here — and if I’m wrong I expect Rosenthal would tell me so — but I bet he’s referring to press box cranks who were sitting near him during the game.
It’s easy to spot a curmudgeon baseball writer when he writes in a curmudgeony fashion, but there are a lot more of them who write things straight up while acting like total curmudgeons in person, especially in the box. Sometimes it takes the form of great, misanthropic wisecracks which, frankly, can be wonderful and hilarious. But you often see simply joyless cranks too. Guys who complain when a game gets exciting late because it’ll make their story harder to write. Guys who actually complain when it’s noisy in the park because they’re trying to talk to someone on the phone. You can’t cheer in the press box, obviously, but you wonder if these guys actually like baseball very much.
I can picture it from last night: crowd going crazy, Dominican team celebrating. Actual baseball drama and emotion in March! And some dude saying “Jesus, you’d think they cured cancer or something.” Which is about the saddest thing I can imagine.
According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Nationals infielder Danny Espinosa declined to attend the team’s annual Winterfest because of his dissatisfaction with management following their trade for outfielder Adam Eaton.
A source told Castillo that Espinosa’s unhappiness stemmed from a belief that the acquisition would jeopardize his starting role in 2017. With Eaton in center field, Trea Turner will likely return to his post at shortstop, leaving Espinosa out in the cold — or, as the case may be, on the bench. The move shouldn’t come as a big surprise to Espinosa, however, as Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo spoke to the possibility of trading the infielder or reassigning him to a utility role back in early November.
Offensively, the 29-year-old had a down year in 2016, slashing just .209/.306/.378 with 24 home runs in 601 PA. Defensively, he still profiles among the top shortstops in the National League, with eight DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) and 8.3 Def (Defensive Runs Above Average) in his seventh year with the club.
Espinosa will reach free agency after the 2017 season.
The Red Sox might be trying to move the wrong pitcher, according to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo. Cafardo revealed that while the Sox have been trying to market right-hander Clay Buchholz, more teams would be interested in trades involving southpaw Drew Pomeranz.
The club appears reluctant to deal Pomeranz, especially because his price tag comes in at a cool $4.7 million to Buchholz’s $13.5 million in 2017. Those who have already expressed interest in the veteran hurlers, including the Twins, Mariners and Royals, also seem put off by Buchholz’s salary requirements as he enters his 32nd year.
Health could be another factor preventing teams from jumping to make trade offers, as Cafardo quotes an AL executive who believes the “medicals on both Pomeranz and Buchholz probably aren’t that great.” Neither pitcher suffered any major injuries during the 2016 season, though Pomeranz missed just over a week of play due to forearm soreness.
Pomeranz outperformed his fellow starter in 2016, pitching to a 3.32 ERA and career-best 9.8 K/9 through 170 2/3 innings with the Padres and Red Sox. He got off to an exceptionally strong start in San Diego, where his ERA dropped to 2.47 through the first half of the year before the Padres dealt him to Boston for minor league right-hander Anderson Espinoza. Buchholz, on the other hand, struggled with a 4.78 ERA and saw a decline in both his BB/9 and K/9 rates as he worked out a career-low 1.69 K/BB through 139 1/3 innings with the Sox.