Yesterday the Mets demoted rookie Travis d’Arnaud back to Triple-A and, based on manager Terry Collins’ comments, it sounds like the 25-year-old catcher should get comfortable in Las Vegas.
Asked by Adam Rubin of ESPN New York how long d’Arnaud was likely to remain in the minors, Collins replied:
I don’t have a timeframe, but it’s going to take him a while to get it going to where we think it’s, “Hey, look, it’s time to bring him back here.” … It’s very hard. He is our guy coming into spring training, and he’s been our guy since he got called up last year. But he’s a young player who is still learning, still trying to get better.
You weigh the factors of: Is he getting something out of this? Or is it hurting him in the long run to continue to struggle? As I told him last night, “You’re not the reason we’re not scoring, but right now the fingers are being pointed in your direction, which I don’t think is necessarily fair. So right now you’ve got to go get your swing, come back and tear it up like everybody expected.”
d’Arnaud was ranked as a top-100 prospect by Baseball America every season since 2010, including the No. 38 overall spot this year, but now he’s 25 years old with a .189 batting average through 70 career games and seems likely to spend at least the remainder of the first half at Triple-A (where he previously hit .328 with a .990 OPS in 86 games).
Terry Francona just won the American League pennant, the Manager of the Year Award and his Cleveland Indians will likely be among the favorites to win it all in 2017. Between that and his 17-year track record as one of the best managers in the business, he will have a job, somewhere, for as long as he wants one.
He said yesterday, however, that his body will likely limit how long he manages:
“It gets harder and harder physically. It really does. It takes me longer to recharge every year . . . I’ve had a lot of surgeries, a lot of health problems. It just takes a toll on you. I love [the game of baseball]. I really do, but I can’t see myself doing something else. But there is going to come a day when I feel like I’m shortchanging the team or the organization. That’s not fair.
“Even now, during batting practice, I’ll come in and get off my feet a little bit. I think everybody understands. But when there comes a day when it gets in the way, I’m going to have to pull back, and it’s not because I don’t love managing. You have to have a certain amount of energy to do this job right.”
Francona experienced some chest pains and had an elevated heart rate that caused him to leave a game early last season. In 2005 a similar episode caused him to miss three games while managing the Red Sox. He also has a history of embolisms and blood clots, some of which have hospitalized him.
With multiple World Series rings there isn’t much more in baseball that Francona can accomplish, but here’s hoping he sticks around and accomplishes a lot more before he trades in his baseball spikes for golf spikes and calls it a career.
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.