When you fire your GM, you give his replacement carte blanche to burn it all down and sell everything off. You do that in the middle of the season when you actually have some useful relievers, you’re definitely gonna make some trades because everyone wants bullpen help in the middle of the year. That’s where the Padres find themselves right now. Even though they don’t yet have a replacement for the fired Josh Byrnes.
Jon Heyman reports that the Padres are receiving calls about Huston Street and Joaquin Benoit. Both of them are having excellent seasons, with Street posting a sub-1.00 ERA and Benoit doing almost as well. Each have closing experience and each would be attractive targets for contenders seeking help for the back end of the pen. Contract-wise, Street is making $7 million this season with a $7 million club option for 2015 and Benoit is making $6 million this season and $8.5 million in 2015 and a 2016 club option. Both of those represent relative bargains for closers these days and the deals are quite tolerable even if they’re used as setup men.
Heyman has the Tigers, Angels, Blue Jays, Orioles, Brewers and Marlins as possible landing spots for Street and Benoit. But really, almost any and every contender at least kicks the tires on bullpen arms in July most years.
Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Rays and free agent reliever Shawn Tolleson are close to finalizing a contract.
Tolleson, who turns 29 years old on Thursday, had an ugly 2016 season, finishing with a 7.68 ERA and a 29/10 K/BB ratio in 36 1/3 innings. He was one of the Rangers’ best relievers in the two seasons prior to that, however, which included saving 35 games in 2015.
It’s not known yet what kind of contract the two sides are negotiating. It could be a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training, a non-guaranteed major league contract, or a guaranteed major league contract.
The big presidential pardon news today concerns the commutation of Chelsea Manning’s sentence. We’ll leave that aside. For our purposes, know that someone in the world of baseball was pardoned: Willie McCovey.
Yes, Hall of Famer Willie McCovey, who in 1995 pleaded guilty to income tax fraud related to the non-reporting of income received from memorabilia and autograph shows. Duke Snider pleaded guilty alongside McCovey. They were given two years probation and fines of $5,000. Snider died in 2011. McCovey still works with the San Francisco Giants as a senior advisor and goodwill ambassador.
President Obama’s release of McCovey’s pardon was pretty succinct. But it’s enough to scrub the record of one of the greatest sluggers of all time.