Yesterday we linked the story about Aroldis Champan’s offseason in the wilderness. He’s having adjustment problems. He sleeps late. He seems aimless in the offseason. It was kind of sad, actually, and you do wonder about where his head is at.
Paul Daugherty certainly wonders. He’s quite upset at the story — he even questions its veracity it is so surprising to him — and he gives Chapman a talking-to via his column. A serious one. If you doubt that, note that he cites Joey Votto as a positive example. This after Daugherty has spent the past year ripping Votto until Hell wouldn’t have it. Any weapon at hand, I guess.
The weird thing, though, is that Daugherty doesn’t even mention the single biggest reason to rip Chapman: that he is apparently a chain smoker. On what planet that’s acceptable for a professional athlete these days is beyond me, but Daugherty doesn’t mention it. If he had I’d be nodding in chorus.
What he does rip him for is (a) not considering starting pitching, preferring only to be a closer; and (b) working on his hitting and saying that the game gets repetitive.
Daugherty asserts that Chapman and Chapman alone has insisted that he be a closer, but that doesn’t exactly jibe with stuff we’ve heard from the Reds in the past. Dusty Baker and others in the organization used to give a lot of quotes about preferring that Chapman close. Maybe that has changed — perhaps the Reds approached Chapman recently and asked him to start only to have him refuse — but if that’s the case it’s both news and it’s, in all likelihood, a partial function of how the club has treated Chapman in the past few years: as a closer.
As for the other stuff? Eh, a lot of players get bored and try different things in the offseason. Some players spend all winter in duck blinds or something. Chapman goes to the batting cage and sleeps in. So what? It seems to me that the biggest takeaway from the Chapman profile is some concern about how he’s been adjusting (or not) not dissatisfaction at his attitude. But that’s just me I suppose.
But seriously, Aroldis: quit smoking. That crap will kill you.
Aaron Judge may be the talk of the town right now, but let’s not forget some of Major League Baseball’s more established sluggers. Take the Nationals’ Bryce Harper, for instance, who jumped on a full count during the first inning of Saturday’s game and postmarked the ball to the center field concourse in Chase Field.
Harper’s mammoth hit was the first career home run allowed by Diamondbacks’ rookie Anthony Banda. Banda quickly recovered with an inning-ending strikeout to Ryan Zimmerman, but was booted from his big league debut after Harper, Zimmerman and Anthony Rendon combined for a three-run spread in the sixth.
The first-inning homer also served another purpose: it extended Harper’s hitting streak to 15 games, the longest current streak in MLB this season. He’ll need four more games to tie the 19-game streak Royals’ infielder/outfielder Whit Merrifield established back in June.
The Nationals currently lead the Diamondbacks 4-2 in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Rangers’ right-hander Chi Chi Gonzalez is slated for Tommy John surgery, according to a report by Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. Gonzalez was placed on the 60-day disabled list back in early April with a partial UCL tear and was working towards a throwing program before getting sidelined with more elbow pain. He’s expected to miss the entirety of the 2018 season while recovering from the surgery.
This is the second straight season that has been derailed for Gonzalez due to injury. The 25-year-old starter pitched just 10 1/3 innings in 2016 after recovering from a torn UCL, and was optioned to Triple-A Round Rock to finish out the year after compiling an 8.71 ERA, 7.8 BB/9 and 6.1 SO/9 in three starts with the club. He showed more promise in Triple-A with a 4.70 ERA, 2.9 BB/9 and 5.9 SO/9 through 24 starts and 138 innings.
It’s a tough blow for the Rangers, who have seen Gonzalez healthy in just one major league season to date. General manager Jon Daniels told reporters that a recent MRI showed signs of weakening in the ligament, which disrupted the team’s plans to have the right-hander stick to a six- to eight-week recovery timetable after getting a platelet-rich plasma injection (via Stefan Stevenson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram). The surgery is expected to take place next week and will put Gonzalez’s earliest return date sometime in September 2018.