Last night Juan Pierre became the 18th player in baseball history with at least 600 stolen bases, which was cause for celebration in the Marlins clubhouse.
But as Craig Davis of the South Florida Sun Sentinel writes, they went in a different direction than the usual champagne:
The head-scratcher was the pyramid of Hawaiian Punch cans surrounded by Honey Buns. That was the result of the Marlins posing the question to Pierre’s wife Liz: What do you get a man who has stolen 600 bases?
“I love Honey Buns and Hawaiian Punch. That’s the thing. I don’t drink, so champagne or none of that, that doesn’t do me any good. Hawaiian Punch and Honey Buns is a very good surprise,” Pierre said.
So to all the kids out there: If you want to play 14 seasons in the majors as one of the fastest (and skinniest) players in baseball and remain a stolen base threat into your mid-30s the key is … Hawaiian Punch and Honey Buns. At least until MLB bans them for being performance-enhancing.
Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times unloaded a lot of interesting news items about the Rays last night, including a report that the Rays might have “mutual interest” in a deal with free agent first baseman/DH Mike Napoli. The Rangers declined Napoli’s $11 million option earlier this month and owe the veteran infielder a $2.5 million buyout.
Napoli, 36, had a strange year in Texas. He turned in 29 home runs, good for 11th-most among AL hitters, but finished the year batting just .193/.285/.428 over 485 plate appearances. According to FanGraphs, his -0.5 fWAR was the worst mark of his career to date, but on the bright side, he should come cheap for a team looking to swap out their veterans come spring.
Of course, the specifics of the Rays’ offseason plan have yet to be divulged — or, by all accounts from Topkin, even decided on. The club could go the refurbishment route, changing out some of their higher-paid veterans for a mix of prospects and cheaper aging players; or they could opt for a full rebuild, which Topkin cautions against as it could have a negative effect on the financing of a new ballpark. Either way, the Rays figure to offload some of their bigger contracts this winter, and will need to decide if they want to retain Alex Colome, Chris Archer, Wilson Ramos, Evan Longoria and others before pursuing any other major free agents.