Four years ago we linked a story about a girl who played little league baseball. That’s not a big deal. Lots of girls play little league baseball. What set her apart was that she was a knuckleballer who had been trained to throw the pitch by knuckleball legend Joe Niekro.
Flash forward to 2014 and Chelsea Baker is still at it. Of course she’s not a little leaguer anymore — she plays for the Durant High School baseball team in Plant City, Florida. And she’s legit: she went 3-0 with one save and a 0.74 ERA for the varsity team this year.
Yesterday she pitched BP to the Tampa Bay Rays. And while given that she’s a high schooler and it’s batting practice, of course the Rays made some solid contact. But on a few occasions she fooled the Rays hitters and made them look awkward up there like any good knuckleballer would. She also nailed Evan Longoria in the back once. I’m assuming it just got away from her and wasn’t about some past incident, but you never know with ballplayers. They all get hung up on perceived slights on occasion.
Here’s the story and here’s video from the Tampa Bay Times:
Angels outfielder Kole Calhoun had three more years of arbitration eligibility left, but he and the Angels decided to settle that future business at once on Wednesday, agreeing to a three-year extension worth $26 million, per SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo. The contract also includes a $14 million club option for the 2020 season.
Calhoun, 29, has been a dependable right fielder for the Angels over the last three seasons, batting an aggregate .266/.327/.436 with 61 home runs and 216 RBI in 1,895 plate appearances. According to FanGraphs, Calhoun has been the ninth-most valuable right fielder in baseball since the start of the 2014 season with 11.4 Wins Above Replacement. He ranks slightly behind Giancarlo Stanton (11.9) and just ahead of J.D. Martinez (10.9).
The Angels only have a handful of players signed beyond the 2017 season — just Albert Pujols, Mike Trout, Andrelton Simmons, and Calhoun. The club has options on Ricky Nolasco and Huston Street, while many others will be eligible for arbitration.
Nothing is happening as the baseball world waits four more hours for the Hall of Fame announcement. Question: why do it at 6pm? For MLB Network ratings? Let’s be real, there are “Golden Girls” reruns on third-tier basic cable that are gonna draw a bigger audience. Why not announce it now so people can get on with their lives? Oh well.
As we wait, let’s take a look in at Twitter, where Jim Bowden of ESPN passes along the rumor that the Washington Nationals are still interested in signing Matt Wieters and Greg Holland:
Great to know that the Nats’ baseball operations budget is dictated by its capital expenditures. Maybe they shoulda been smart like the Braves and suckered — er, I mean negotiated the local government to pay more for it? GO BRAVES!
Anyway, Bryce Harper had a response to that:
I take that to mean that he’d take the money used to construct the team store and give to Wieters and Holland. I haven’t seen the budget breakdown for the new spring training facility, but that would probably mean a major pay cut for Wieters and Holland. And where would we buy our “Make Baseball Great Again” caps? Think ahead, Bryce. Play the long game here.