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.
Twins’ right-hander Nick Burdi is set to undergo Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, the team announced on Friday. Burdi made 14 appearances for Double-A Chattanooga before succumbing to a torn ulnar collateral ligament and is not expected to make his major league debut until mid-2018 at the earliest. A UCL tear doesn’t always require Tommy John surgery — less severe cases can be treated with platelet-rich plasma injections, for example — but Twins’ chief baseball officer Derek Falvey told the press that surgery was unavoidable as Burdi had sustained a “full thickness tear” in his elbow.
Entering the 2016 season, Burdi was widely considered a top ten prospect in the Twins’ system. His exceptional velocity and potent fastball-slider combo made him a fearsome relief option as he came off of his first season in Double-A Chattanooga in 2015. During the 2016 season, however, the 24-year-old experienced a significant setback after a bone bruise cut his season short in late July. Prior to Friday’s diagnosis, he appeared to be staging an impressive comeback with the Chattanooga Lookouts this spring, decorating his efforts with a sparkling 0.53 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 10.6 SO/9 over 17 innings.
It’s a tough break for the Twins, whose farm system was ranked 21st in the league by Baseball America. “Obviously he’s proven when he’s healthy he’s an absolute premium prospect, and the Twins are treating him that way,” Burdi’s agent, Matt Sosnick, told Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press. “We just want to make sure everything we do ultimately leads to the goal of getting him back on the field as quickly as he can.”
Things have gone from bad to worse for Red Sox’ outfielder Brock Holt, who was shut down “for the foreseeable future” on Friday after meeting with head trauma specialist Michael Collins. The Red Sox placed Holt on the 10-day disabled list in April after he began experiencing vertigo, the latest in a series of head injuries he’s sustained since last spring.
According to the Boston Herald’s Jason Mastrodonato, the outfielder was initially advised to attempt playing through his symptoms, but it quickly became apparent that the strategy wasn’t going to work. Now, the plan is to shut him down from any game activity in the hopes that he’ll be able to recover from all lingering symptoms before returning to the roster. Club manager John Farrell told reporters that the 28-year-old is still cleared to take batting practice and work on his defense, but won’t continue his rehab starts in Triple-A Pawtucket for the time being.
Holt had been making regular appearances for the Pawtucket Red Sox and was batting .209/.292/.372 with two home runs through 14 games this spring. This season marks his fifth run within the Red Sox’ organization. He experienced a bit of a slump at the plate in 2016 and slashed .255/.322/.383 after breaking out during his first All-Star year in 2015.
Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe suggests that the team’s concern for Holt extends past his setbacks at the plate. It’s still a long road to a full recovery, and while Farrell told reporters he believes the outfielder is on track to make a return sometime in 2017, he’ll need to make sure that Holt is both physically and mentally prepared to do so.