Jayson Werth is an interesting guy. Not wired quite like most ballplayers. You get the sense that there’s a lot going on above and behind that beard of his. Wheels are always turning. Because sometimes you get quotes from him which don’t come out of the cliche factory.
Take his views on hitting as described in Adam Kilgore’s article in the Washington Post the other day. Werth’s friend Raul Ibanez told him that if you can hit you can do anything. Werth expands:
“Just because you can do something else doesn’t mean you can hit. If you can hit, you can do anything. Because it’s the hardest thing to do. There’s nothing harder. I can bake a cake. I could figure out a way to do algorithms. But a guy that knows how to do algorithms could never hit. It’s literally the hardest thing to do. If you can do the hardest thing, you can do anything else . . . There’s nothing harder in the galaxy,” he said.
Werth is married and has two kids and, based on my own personal experience at least, he had best not say such things around his wife lest he be forced to swallow and then pass a bowling ball as a means of approximating childbirth. Oh, and then take care of the bowling ball by himself for several years as his wife spends six or seven months at a time out on the road trying to hit baseballs. I feel like, eventually, his wife would be able to hit one of those baseballs. I question how well Werth would do with the bowling ball.
But we could say this about any number of things. Maybe the childbirth analogy is a bad one. Pick any other ones. I’m sure you can imagine many. Which isn’t to say that hitting is easy. Far from it. Most of us couldn’t make contact on batting practice pitches if we were given 100 chances. But it is probably the case that anyone who says that a thing they do at a hyper-elite level is the hardest thing to do in the world is worthy of your skepticism.
Even while injured, Miguel Cabrera is a force to be reckoned with. The 33-year-old slugger has been playing with a contusion on his knee since Wednesday, according to postgame comments made by Tigers’ manager Brad Ausmus.
That didn’t stop him from whacking a 410-foot home run against Atlanta right-hander Matt Wisler on Friday night, skirting the center field fence to put the Tigers up 3-0 in the first inning. In the third, he lead off the inning with another long drive off of Wisler, targeting his changeup for a 421-foot shot, his 38th home run of the season:
It’s Cabrera’s sixth two-run homer game since the start of the season, and his first against the Braves since 2005. He needs just two more home runs to keep an even 40 on the year, which would return him to the kind of league-leading levels that accentuated his MVP case in 2012 and 2013. If he can do it by the end of this Tigers-Braves game (unlikely, but not unheard of), he’ll be the 15th major leaguer to hit four home runs in a single game.
The Reds will roll with manager Bryan Price for at least one more season. Per MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon, Price has been extended through the 2017 season with a club option for 2018. He won’t be the only familiar face leading the team, as the Reds have reportedly asked the entire coaching staff to return as well.
This is Price’s second consecutive season with 90+ losses since Cincinnati signed him to a three-year contract back in 2014. While he hasn’t been able to replicate the same kind of success that former skipper Dusty Baker found in 2012 and 2013, he’s been saddled with a team that’s still in the throes of rebuilding, not one that looks on the cusp of playoff contention. It is, after all, the same team that has not seen a healthy season from Homer Bailey since Price’s arrival, one that unloaded Jay Bruce for a pair of prospects earlier this year and one whose pitching staff set a single-season record for most home runs given up by a major league team.
Justifying Price’s extension requires a different kind of yardstick, one that measures player development and individual success over the cumulative win-loss record. Here, Price has overseen solid performances from contributors like Adam Duvall, who is batting .244/.297/.506 with 2.9 fWAR in his first full major-league season, as well as young arms like Anthony DeSclafani, Brandon Finnegan, and Michael Lorenzen, among others.
From comments made by Reds’ CFO Bob Castellini, Price’s success within a rough rebuilding process appears to have cemented his place within the club, at least for the time being.
I like the young, aggressive team Walt and Dick have put together with players from within our system and from recent trades. […] Bryan has been here seven seasons now. He’s comfortable with the direction we are heading with our young players, and we are comfortable with him leading us in that direction.