Barry Bonds showed up at San Francisco Giant camp in Scottsdale today, where he will begin a week as a coach/instructor. As I type this, he’s sitting with Bruce Bochy for a press conference.
Having a guy who is among the best ever at baseball coming in to your camp to teach players is huge. Moreover, having a guy who is among the best ever but who, when he played, was reputed to be surly and not always approachable by teammates willingly coming to be a coach is even bigger. Certainly more newsworthy. It’s not anything we’d ever really expected and that’s sort of the definition of news.
But of course, from what I’ve seen of the press conference, the media wants to ask him about PED and Hall of Fame stuff. Because of course they do. For the record, Bonds’ response to PED questions was to tell the reporters to go read the court transcripts. Which, OK, whatever. His response to whether he should be in the Hall of Fame was to say, yeah, he should definitely be in the Hall of Fame but that that’s up the voters and he’s not going to tell them how to do their jobs.
Personally, I’m more interested in Bonds now and the impact an all-time great might have on the 2014 Giants. But since Pedro Gomez and a bunch of those guys are at the presser, I feel like the coverage that comes out of it is gonna smell an awful lot like 2007.
Free agent first baseman James Loney has reportedly signed a minor league deal with the Rangers, per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The deal includes an invite to spring training and a $1 million salary if he makes the major league roster in 2017.
Loney picked up a one-year stint and starting role with the Mets in 2016, slashing .265/.307/.397 with nine home runs in 336 PA. While his numbers were down a hair from the .280/.322/.357 batting line he produced with the Rays in 2015, he provided the Mets with a necessary, if underwhelming upgrade over an injured Lucas Duda through most of the season.
The 32-year-old infielder is expected to have some competition at first base, with at least five other candidates in the mix: Jurickson Profar, Ronald Guzman, Ryan Rua, Joey Gallo and Josh Hamilton. Rumor has it that the team is planning on platooning Rua and Profar in 2017, barring any impressive breakouts or injuries during spring training, though Loney could still provide the club with some veteran depth and a decent left-handed bat off the bench.
Comments from an anonymous team official suggest that Rangers right-hander Tyson Ross will not be expected to join the rotation until May or June, per a report from Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Both Ross and GM Jon Daniels favor a conservative approach for the 29-year-old as he works his way back up to full health after undergoing surgery last October to relieve thoracic outlet syndrome.
The delay is reportedly being implemented so that Ross will be have the strength and stamina to contribute during the stretch run. Per Daniels:
We would rather err on a little extra time up front with the goal being to finish strong, pitching in big spots, meaningful games down the stretch and hopefully past 162.
Ross signed a one-year deal with the team on Thursday after pitching through an injury-riddled season with the Padres in 2016. If all goes according to plan, he’ll slot into a rotation that includes Yu Darvish, Cole Hamels, Andrew Cashner and Martin Perez. The Rangers are expected to narrow down their fifth starter alternatives in spring training.