While Dirk Hayhurst and Jack Morris have chimed in, none of this “Clay Buchholz is cheating” talk is coming from Blue Jays players or management. And it probably won’t. The Blue Jays don’t want to go accusing someone of cheating and then have their own dirty laundry aired.
The Red Sox, for instance, still seem to think the Blue Jays are stealing signs in Rogers Centre games. This was something that first came up a couple of years ago and eventually spurred an ESPN Outside the Lines investigation that found four players willing to say they’ve witnessed someone in the center-field stands relaying signs to hitters. Orioles starter Jason Hammel said last year that he thought something shady was going on.
Of course, the 2013 Red Sox, more than any other team in baseball, know exactly what was going on with the Blue Jays in 2011-12, given that they now employ Toronto’s former manager, John Farrell, and third-base coach, Brian Butterfield. And while those two haven’t spoken up about anything like sign stealing, they’ve continued to employ the method the Red Sox first used in 2011 of having the catcher give multiple signs to the pitcher with no one on base. It’s something they’d have absolutely no reason to do unless they thought someone in the field of view — such as behind the center-field wall — was watching.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes will opt out of his contract shortly after the World Series concludes. Cespedes, who earned $17.5 million for the 2016 season, has two years and $47.5 million remaining on his deal which includes an opt-out clause.
That Cespedes plans to opt out isn’t surprising as he’s almost certain to get a better contract entering a weak free agent market. He hit a terrific .280/.354/.530 with 31 home runs and 86 RBI in 543 plate appearances for the Mets this past season.
It remains to be seen how the Mets will deal with potentially losing Cespedes. They can pick up a $13 million club option for Jay Bruce, but he performed terribly after joining the Mets in a trade from the Reds. The Mets could also go after free agents Jose Bautista or Mark Trumbo. Curtis Granderson and Michael Conforto will handle the other two outfield positions.
Major League Baseball announced on Wednesday that former Red Sox DH David Ortiz and Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant won the 2016 Hank Aaron Award in their respective leagues.
Ortiz, 40, flourished in his final season, batting .315/.401/.620 with 38 home runs and 127 RBI in 626 plate appearances during the regular season. His .620 slugging percentage, 1.021 OPS, and 48 doubles led the majors while his 127 RBI led the American League. Ortiz also won the Hank Aaron Award back in 2005.
Bryant, 24, is the likely winner of the National League Most Valuable Player Award as well. He hit .292/.385/.554 with 39 home runs and 102 RBI over 699 plate appearances. He also led the league by scoring 121 runs. Bryant is the first Cub to win the Hank Aaron Award since Aramis Ramirez in 2008.
Last year’s winners in the AL and NL, respectively, were Josh Donaldson and Bryce Harper.