Masahiro Tanaka

The Yankees should hope that Tanaka is as disastrous as A-Rod

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You know you’ve reached peak A-Rod Derangement Syndrome when you use his experience with the Yankees as a warning sign. That’s what Joel Sherman does today at the New York Post. Here’s the tweet teasing the article:

And here’s the article. The upshot is just what the tweet implies: yes, everyone is happy on the day of the signing, but you never know what you’re going to get. With the “what you’re going to get” with A-Rod being painted as awful — the story literally says his example does not represent “success” — despite all the hope and promise his signing suggested back in 2004. Which is a pretty audacious level of revisionism.

What’s not in the article? Any mention that A-Rod led them to their last World Series title. That he won two MVP Awards in pinstripes. That in ten years with the Yankees he put up a line of .291/.386/.534 with 309 homers and 979 RBI, winning three Silver Slugger Awards. That during his tenure the Yankees won six division titles and won fewer than 90 games only twice (once when they won 89, once when he missed most of the season). That the Yankees were first in attendance every single year A-Rod played for them.

I’m not suggesting that A-Rod’s contract, financially speaking, ended up being the best deal. Nor am I suggesting the team-wide success and financial success of the franchise is attributable to A-Rod only. I am saying, however, that any suggestion that A-Rod was, in the aggregate, bad for the New York Yankees, takes a special kind of crazy and requires a special kind of denial of how good a baseball player and draw he was.

And, if Masahiro Tanaka is as successful with the Yankees as A-Rod was — if he wins a couple Cy Young Awards, routinely rates as one of the top pitchers in baseball and is part of a World Series champion — I don’t think that anyone would claim that the deal was a bad one like so many wish to do regarding A-Rod now.

Royals pay tribute to late Yordano Ventura during spring training opener

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 12: Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals delivers a pitch against the Minnesota Twins during the first inning of the game on August 12, 2016 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
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The Royals honored former pitcher Yordano Ventura prior to their first Cactus League game against the Rangers on Saturday. Ventura was killed in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic in late January.

Rangers’ third baseman Adrian Beltre and center fielder Carlos Gomez paid their respects to the pitcher with a floral arrangement that was laid on the mound. Both teams stood along the foul lines during a pregame video tribute that highlighted Ventura’s tenure with Kansas City. Following the game, Gomez spoke to the media about his relationship with Ventura, describing their frequent conversations during the season and commending the pitcher for having “the same passion that I had early in my career” (via WFAA.com’s Levi Weaver).

A plaque dedicated to the 25-year-old was also presented to club manager Ned Yost as a more permanent commemoration of Ventura’s contributions to the sport. Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star reports that the plaque will be mounted in the club’s spring training facilities alongside tributes to members of the Royals’ 2014 and 2015 playoff teams.

The full text of the plaque is below, via MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan:

A brother and a teammate, Yordano Ventura, passed away on the morning of January 22 in his native Dominican Republic, at the age of 25. He signed with the Royals as a 17-year-old, eventually making the big league team in 2013 as a 22-year-old. On most days, he could be found laughing and joking with his baseball family in the clubhouse. However, on days when he pitched, that smile was replaced by a quiet confidence and an intense fire, which he brought to the mound for every start. He had many highlights in his abbreviated career, not the least of which was throwing eight shutout innings in Game #6 of the 2014 World Series to force a Game #7 vs. San Francisco.

Gerrit Cole named Pirates’ Opening Day starter

BRADENTON, FL - FEBRUARY 19: Gerrit Cole #45 of the Pittsburgh Pirates poses for a photograph during MLB spring training photo day on February 19, 2017 at Pirate City in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
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Right-hander Gerrit Cole is set to take the mound for the Pirates on Opening Day, according to a team announcement on Saturday. It’s a spot that was most recently occupied by former Pirate Francisco Liriano, who made three consecutive Opening Day starts for the club before getting dealt to the Blue Jays last August.

The 26-year-old produced career-worst numbers during his fourth run with the Pirates in 2016, due in large part to bouts of inflammation in his right elbow. He finished the year with a 3.88 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 116 innings before getting shut down in September to avoid further injury to his elbow. When healthy, however, Cole has been lights-out for the Pirates. Prior to his injury-laden campaign last year, he touted a career 3.07 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 8.5 SO/9 and cumulative 10.2 fWAR from 2013 through 2015.

Cole will go toe-to-toe with the Red Sox during Boston’s home opener on Monday, April 3. Right-hander Jameson Taillon is scheduled to make the second start of the year, while fellow righty Ivan Nova will cover the Pirates’ home opener against the Braves on April 7. The Pirates’ third and fifth starters have yet to be announced.