Washington Nationals v Miami Marlins

Kevin Frandsen still unhappy with how things ended with Phillies

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In March 2011, the Phillies signed Kevin Frandsen to a minor league deal. He performed well enough with Triple-A Lehigh Valley, but the Phillies didn’t have a use for him. He stuck around with the Phillies on another minor league deal in 2012 and earned a call-up in late July, hitting .338 with an .834 OPS in 210 plate appearances. In 2013, his overall production tailed off significantly, but he led the league in pinch-hits with 14.

While he wasn’t exactly starter material, he was a quality bench bat or, if the Phillies cared about things like platoon splits, a good platoon bat given his career .771 OPS against left-handed pitchers. Stunningly, the depth-lacking Phillies couldn’t find room for Frandsen on their bench going into 2014, opting to cut him towards the end of March. Frandsen became a free agent and signed with the Nationals on a one-year, $900,000 contract a few days later.

Frandsen still isn’t happy about the way things ended with the Phillies. He says he was blindsided by their decision to cut him. Via CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury:

“I was pissed,” said Frandsen, looking back at the Phillies’ decision. “I earned my way to being on the bench, to being a vital part over there. That’s what I thought and that’s the feeling I have and I’m going to go with it.”

[…]

“I don’t care what it was on timing and circumstance,” Frandsen said. “I earned my way. I earned my right to have that contract. I went about it the right way to be on that team over there. It didn’t happen.”

Frandsen, who led the majors with 14 pinch hits for the Phillies in 2013, has found happiness in Washington.

“We’re four games over .500 here, and I’m loving that,” he said. “I’m loving winning.”

Frandsen has performed well for the Nationals, carrying a .714 OPS into Friday’s action. Meanwhile, Phillies pinch-hitters have slashed .194/.257/.387. They have had MLB-worst production out of third basemen Cody Asche, Freddy Galvis, and Jayson Nix with an aggregate .478 OPS. Outfielder John Mayberry, Jr. has the highest OPS among the team’s bench players at .673.

As Adam Kilgore wrote in his column on the subject, “It’s hard to imagine Frandsen wouldn’t be one of the Phillies’ best 25 players.” In fact, Frandsen might’ve been one of the top-ten most productive players on the Phillies’ current roster.

David Ortiz could be in the Red Sox TV booth this season

BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 02:  David Ortiz #34 of the Boston Red Sox tips his cap to fans during the pregame ceremony to honor his retirement before his last regular season home game at Fenway Park on October 2, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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A month or so ago it was reported that David Ortiz was going to meet with the Red Sox and NESN to discuss, maybe, spending some time in the broadcast booth in 2017. He’s retired now, of course. Gotta keep busy.

Today we read that, yes, Big Papi may take the mic. Red Sox president Sam Kennedy said that Ortiz may be in the booth on a limited basis, and that Ortiz has talked about wanting to “dip a toe in that water.”

I’m quickly becoming a fan of ex-players who want to, as Kennedy puts it, “dip a toe” in broadcasting as opposed to those who want to make it a full-time job. Former players who become full-time broadcasters tend to start out OK, but eventually burn all of their good anecdotes from their playing days and just become sort of reactionary “back in my day” dudes. There are some exceptions to that of course — guys like John Smoltz and Dennis Eckersley have kept it fresh and Tim McCarver never rested on his playing laurels as he forged a long career in the booth — but for any of those guys there are just as many Rick Mannings Bill Schroeders.

The part time guys who dip in and dip out — I’m thinking Pedro Martinez, Alex Rodriguez and even Pete Rose, who did a good job this past fall after a rocky 2015 postseason — tend to be more fresh and irreverent. They really don’t give a crap on some level because it’s not their full time job, and that not giving a crap allows them to say whatever they want. It makes for good TV.

If Papi can hold off on the F-bombs, I imagine he’d be a pretty good commentator. If he can’t, well, at least he’ll be a super entertaining one for the one or two games he gets before getting fired.

Blue Jays reliever was a bike messenger a couple of offseasons ago

DUNEDIN, FL - FEBRUARY 21:  Matt Dermody #50 of the Toronto Blue Jays poses for a portait during a MLB photo day at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium on February 21, 2017 in Dunedin, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
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The Toronto Sun has a story about reliever Matt Dermody of the Blue Jays. Dermody made his big league debut in 2016, pitching in five games. Before that he pitched three full seasons in the minors, never rising above A-ball, before paying in three levels of the minors last season, just before getting to the show.

It was certainly a wild ride for Dermody after his time in the bush leagues. But nowhere near as wild as some of his rides in the 2015-16 offseason, when he took a job as a bike messenger in New York:

. . . four times he was involved in accidents, the worse being when he was sent head over heels on to the street.

“I was going down 2nd Ave. and I was riding behind another bicycle in the middle of the street,” said the 6-foot-5, 190-pound lefty. “But the bike in front of me decides to break really hard and swerves and I didn’t have time to react so I hit him and I flew over him and I skid on the ground and all the contents in my bag flew out on the street, traffic stopped and everything. I’m pretty fortunate I didn’t get hurt. I landed pretty nicely and kept working.”

It’s good that he’s fine and he can laugh about it now, but the story is just as telling as it is, in hindsight, amusing.

Dermody was a 28th round pick, so he didn’t get a sizable bonus. Not having risen above A-ball, he wasn’t making much money and, in all likelihood, did not yet show up too prominently on the big club’s radar. He was both incentivized to take a job that is super dangerous and allowed to do so because no one asked or, apparently, cared. This past offseason, with his big league debut behind him and a chance to make the 25-man roster for the full year, he has stayed home and worked out, no doubt with the front office and coaching staff keeping tabs on him.

It’s a nice story, but it’s one that provides you with a pretty good look at how major league teams look at — or, in Dermody’s case, don’t really look at — their minor leaguers.