BRADENTON — It’s raining harder now, and someone just told me that they’ve issued a tornado watch for the area. Yet they still haven’t banged the game. Crazy, but it’s their ballpark. They can do what they want.
The Pirates did, however, open their clubhouse to the media at 11am, maybe because everyone knows that there won’t be a postgame session today. I didn’t have anyone specific I wanted to talk to on the Pirates, so I went over. I didn’t talk to anyone, but man, I’m sure glad I did.
Why? Because on the wall of Clint Hurdle’s office is a poster with a painting of Roddy Piper from “They Live” on it, and the words “I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass… and I’m all out of bubblegum.” It’s all stylized to look like a Big League Chew package. I searched for it desperately online a bit ago, but I couldn’t find it. I assume it’s a custom job. Whatever it is, it is the single best thing I’ve seen in a manager’s office, bar none. I wish Clint was made available for the press, because I wanted to hug him more than anything in the world just now.
UPDATE: Reader dremmel69 found it. Here it is. This is where it came from.
Otherwise? A lot of ballplayers playing cards, eating lunch and clearly waiting for them to call this game. Even if I wanted to talk to them I couldn’t do so easily, as someone had country music blaring louder than you’ve ever heard. Really, you could hardly hear yourself think. I don’t know who it is, but I have this feeling that he’s buddies with the guy who parked this thing outside of the Pirate City complex this morning:
It’s not Grant Balfour’s ride, but it’s pretty impressive.
That’s all I got from Bradenton today. As soon as this game is called, I’m getting on the road to Ft. Myers for tomorrow’s Red Sox game at Jet Blue Park. Here’s hoping we get sun.
From Jon Heyman of CBS Sports comes word that the Orioles “like” free agent starter Yovani Gallardo and “have reached out to him” to gauge his interest in coming to Baltimore and what that might cost.
Gallardo rejected a one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer from the Rangers earlier this month and so his free agency is tied to draft pick compensation, but that shouldn’t hurt his bottom line all that much.
The 29-year-old right-hander posted a solid 3.42 ERA in 184 1/3 innings (33 starts) this past season for Texas and he pitched well in his one ALDS start.
Heyman reported a few weeks ago that the Diamondbacks are interested, and the Cubs, Blue Jays, and Dodgers were tied to him just ahead of the July 31 trade deadline.
David Price has expressed a desire to return to Toronto, where he finished out the 2015 season, but FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal writes Wednesday that the Blue Jays “are not expected to be a major factor in his free agency.”
The teams that should be considered serious suitors, per Rosenthal, are the Cubs, Cardinals, Giants, Dodgers, and Red Sox — all deep-pocketed teams looking to contend in 2016. Money is apparently the issue for the Blue Jays, who are currently owned by Rogers Communications.
Price registered an outstanding 2.45 ERA, 1.076 WHIP, and 225/47 K/BB ratio in 220 1/3 innings (32 starts) this past season between the Tigers and Jays, finishing second in the American League Cy Young Award race behind Dallas Keuchel of the Astros.
The 30-year-old left-hander is probably looking for a six- or seven-year contract worth more than $25 million per season. He is represented by agent Bo McKinnis.
Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald wrote three weeks ago that the Marlins were probably going to explore an extension this winter with second baseman Dee Gordon. And it sounds like those talks are underway.
Via beat writer Joe Frisaro of MLB.com:
As a guest on MLB Network’s “Hot Stove” show Wednesday morning, Gordon confirmed his camp has been in talks with the Marlins regarding a multiyear deal. A source told MLB.com that the discussions are preliminary and have just recently started.
“My agent is doing the talking,” Gordon said on the show. “They’re just keeping me in the loop. I think it’s going pretty well right now. We’ll see how that goes. I’m just playing the waiting game. We’re going to do the right thing.”
The 27-year-old carries three more seasons of salary arbitration, so there’s no real rush to get something done before next spring. Gordon carries quite a bit of leverage after posting a career-best .333/.359/.418 slash line in 145 games this past season for the Fish. He led all major leaguers in hits (205) and stolen bases (58).
Bud Norris has found a home for his attempt at a bounceback season, signing a one-year deal with the Braves. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com says it’s worth $2.5 million, which is a huge cut from his $8.8 million salary this year.
Norris had established himself as a solid mid-rotation starter from 2009-2014, but had a brutal 2015 season split between the Orioles and Padres with a 6.72 ERA in 83 innings and a late-season move to the bullpen.
In announcing the signing the Braves referred to Norris as a starting pitcher, so joining the rotation for a rebuilding team gives him a chance to get his career back on track with an eye on hitting the open market as a free agent again next offseason. And if he fares well, the Braves could use him to add a prospect or two at the trade deadline.