Pedro Strop

Pedro Strop would prefer if the home fans stop booing him

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Orioles reliever Pedro Strop has been struggling, allowing eight runs in his last four appearances, and he was booed off the mound by the home fans last night after coughing up four runs while recording one out.

Afterward he talked about being bothered by the boos, telling Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun:

I heard it when I was walking from the mound. Booing somebody like that–I was giving everything I’ve got to help the team win and to give a good show. … They don’t care about players. They care about good results.

It’s not a big deal. I know they just want to see good results, but at the same time, they don’t know what it takes, what hard work and dedication it takes to perform well. So that’s why they boo, because they don’t know.

I tend to agree with much of what Strop said, in that booing a player simply because he’s performing poorly–as opposed to, say, not giving a full effort–has always struck me as silly. Still, it’s tough to imagine there being any benefit for Strop speaking publicly about the boos.

The type of person who loudly boos a relief pitcher coming off the mound after a bad performance seems unlikely to read that relief pitcher’s thoughts in the newspaper and think: “Hmm, I never realized it could hurt his feelings. I’ll stop and tell everyone I know to do the same.”

Instead, next time Strop struggles I’d bet on the boos being even louder. Having delved into this topic quite a bit last year when Twins fans at Target Field were booing a struggling Joe Mauer, I know there’s nothing people who boo like less than being questioned about why they’re booing.

Are the Cardinals about to go on a free agent binge?

John Mozeliak AP
Associated Press
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The Cardinals have always emphasized building from within. In the 2016-17 offseason, however, they may end up being one of the bigger free agent buyers. At least according to some informed speculation.

St. Louis is already in agreement with Dexter Fowler. But Derrick Goold and Ben Frederickson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch write today that the Cardinals “could become more aggressive than previously believed,” with Mark Trumbo and Edwin Encarnacion as “possible pursuits.” Worth noting that separate reports alleged some interest on the part of the Cards front office in free agent third baseman Justin Turner.

The Cardinals are already losing their first round pick due to the Fowler signing, so any other top free agent won’t cost them more than the money he’s owed. And as far as money goes, the Cardinals have a great deal of it, despite being a small market team. They have a billion dollar TV deal coming online and Matt Holliday and Jaime Garcia are off the payroll now. Spending big on a free agent or three would not cripple them or anything.

Encarnacion or Trumbo would be first baseman, which wold fly in the face of the Cards’ move of Matt Carpenter to first base (and, at least as far as Encarnacion goes, would fly in the face of good defense). Getting either of them would push Carpenter back to second, displacing Kolten Wong, or over to third, displacing Jhonny Peralta. If you’re going to do that, I’d say that Turner would make more sense, but what do I know?

Either way, the Cardinals may be entering a pretty interesting phase of their offseason now. And an unfamiliar one as, quite possibly, the top free agent buyer on the market.

 

Bobby Valentine on short list to be U.S. Ambassador to Japan

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 12:  Former MLB player Bobby Valentine attends Annual Charity Day hosted by Cantor Fitzgerald, BGC and GFI at BGC Partners, INC on September 12, 2016 in New York City.  (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Cantor Fitzgerald)
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There is literally nothing you could tell me that the incoming administration is considering which would shock me anymore. As such, I saw this story when I woke up this morning, blinked once, took a sip of coffee, closed the browser window and just went on with my morning, as desensitized as a wisdom tooth about to be yanked.

Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports that Former Red Sox, Mets and Rangers manager Bobby Valentine is on a short-list of candidates for the job of United States Ambassador to Japan:

The 66-year-old, who currently serves as Sacred Heart University’s athletics director, has engaged in preliminary discussions with President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team regarding the position.

When contacted Thursday night, Valentine refused comment.

Huh. Given his history, I’d have assumed Valentine would be a better choice for the CIA, but what do I know?

Valentine managed the Chiba Lotte Marines of Japan’s Pacific League for six seasons, leading the team to a championship in 2005. He also knows the current prime minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, as both went to USC. Assuming championship teams meet the country’s leader in Japan like they do in the United States, Valentine has at least twice the amount of experience with top political leaders than does, say, Ned Yost, so that’s something.

The former manager, more importantly, is friends with Donald Trump’s brother, with the two of them going way back. Which, given how this transition is going, seems like a far more important set of qualifications than anything else on this list.