Philadelphia Phillies v Atlanta Braves

Bud Selig, the Braves still think Hank Aaron is the all-time home run leader


Last I checked 762 > 755, but don’t tell that to the Commissioner of Baseball or anyone associated with the Atlanta Braves:

Speaking with reporters after the ceremony, Selig was asked about Aaron being called the true home run king.

“I’m always in a sensitive spot there, but I’ve said that myself and I’ll just leave it at that,” Selig said.

If that’s the standard we are well and truly screwed, because these are things Bud has also said himself:

  • No one wants replay
  • Abner Doubleday invented baseball
  • We’re committed to finding a solution to the A’s stadium situation
  • We tried to keep the Expos in Montreal.

As a long-time friend of Hank Aaron’s Selig is obviously going to be partial to the guy and you can’t begrudge him his personal feelings. As the Commissioner of Baseball, however, he has an obligation to either recognize the records set as legitimate or to do something to render them officially illegitimate. He can’t have it both ways.

The Braves will always want it that way, of course:

During the ceremony Braves chairman Terry McGuirk said Aaron “set the home-run record the old-fashioned way” and added “You will always be the home run king of all time.”

Retired Braves broadcaster Pete Van Wieren earned a big ovation when he said Aaron is “still recognized as baseball’s true home run king.”

When McGuirk and Van Wieren agree to vacate the wins with which the Braves were credited while David Justice, Gary Sheffield, Darren Holmes, John Rocker, Paul Byrd, Mike Stanton, Matt Franco, Denny Neagle, Todd Pratt and Kent Mercker were on the team, fine, then they can have their own true home run king. Until then, they’d be better served to let baseball’s records fall where they may.

Tigers in discussions with Jordan Zimmermann

Jordan Zimmermann
AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports that the Tigers are in discussions with free agent starter Jordan Zimmermann. His sources have told him that the talks have become “serious”.

Zimmermann, 29, has a career 3.32 ERA across parts of seven seasons in the majors. He finished fifth in National League Cy Young Award balloting in 2014, finishing with a 2.66 ERA and a 182/29 K/BB ratio over 199 2/3 innings.

Among starters who have amassed at least 1,000 innings since 2009, only Cliff Lee, Dan Haren, Madison Bumgarner, and Zack Greinke have compiled a better strikeout-to-walk ratio than Zimmermann’s 4.09. While he doesn’t have the star power of other free agents such as Greinke or David Price, the Tigers would certainly improve their rotation by bringing him on board.

Blue Jays still focused on upgrading their pitching

Marco Estrada
AP Photo/LM Otero

Having already added Jesse Chavez and J.A. Happ to the mix and re-signing Marco Estrada early in the offseason, Blue Jays interim GM Tony LaCava said the team will continue to pursue pitching upgrades, as Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports. Nicholson-Smith added that LaCava declined to comment on free agent ace David Price. It is believed that the Jays will not pursue Price and other big-name free agent starting pitchers given their November activity.

The Jays re-signed Estrada to a two-year, $26 million deal on November 13, acquired Chavez from the Athletics in exchange for reliever Liam Hendriks on November 20 and signed Happ to a three-year, $36 million deal on Friday.

Nicholson-Smith notes in a column on Sportsnet that the Jays need to address the bullpen in particular. That is especially true after swapping Hendriks, who had a career-best 2.92 ERA out of the Jays’ bullpen in 2015, for a back-end starting pitcher.

Report: Jonathan Papelbon is “untradeable”

Jonathan Papelbon
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports spoke to an anonymous baseball executive, who said that Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon is “untradeable”. The Nationals are hoping to trade both Papelbon and the man he displaced, Drew Storen.

Papelbon has a poor reputation in baseball, particularly after a dugout altercation with superstar outfielder Bryce Harper. Focusing strictly on what he does on the field, Papelbon still gets the job done. The 35-year-old finished the last season with a combined 2.13 ERA, 24 saves, and a 56/12 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings between the Phillies and Nationals.

The Nationals owe Papelbon $11 million for the 2016 season.

Minor league home run king Mike Hessman retires

NEW YORK - JULY 29:  Mike Hessman #19 of the New York Mets bats against the St. Louis Cardinals on July 29, 2010 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. The Mets defeated the Cardinals 4-0.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper reports that corner infielder Mike Hessman has retired from professional baseball after 20 seasons. Hessman hit 433 home runs in the minor leagues, an all-time record. He broke Buzz Arlett’s record this past August and with style as #433 was a grand slam.

Hessman, 37, was selected in the 16th round of the 1996 draft by the Braves and remained with the organization through the 2004 season. He then went to the Tigers from 2005-09, the Mets in 2010, then drifted into the Astros and Reds’ farm systems before returning to the Tigers for the last two years.

Hessman took 250 plate appearances at the major league level, batting .188/.272/.422 with 14 home runs and 33 RBI.