Yes, Vin Scully is good at describing the game action, but it’s not like he’s Al Michaels “Do you believe in miracles!” intense or anything. He has had a ton of great and dramatic moments, of course, but what sets him apart is how easy and pleasant he is to listen to over the long haul of a game and a season.
His thing is telling stories. That’s key to his flow. You’re watching a three hour game and your attention simply can’t be on the X’s and O’s all the time — and the less said about the “talking to hear myself talk” business of color commentators the better — so Scully provides a respite every inning or so with some bit of background on a player or manager. An anecdote or an obscure fact or two, seamlessly woven into his play-by-play. “Uggla” means “owl” in Swedish, for example. Or this player likes to play the sousaphone. When people try to describe how Vin Scully is relaxing to listen to, the stories are essential to that.
They’re not all beautiful gems, of course. Heck, I’d say most of them aren’t. They’re goofy a heck of a lot of the time and if anyone other than Scully was telling them you’d probably have a lot of “um, oookaaay” sort of reactions. Mostly because the story teller would laugh at himself or be self conscious about it.
For example, can you imagine anyone telling you a story that contained the line “and then a pigeon defecated directly on his head” without guffawing and losing his forward storytelling momentum? I don’t think anyone but Vin Scully could. And that’s what he did last night, describing how a bird crapping on Mike Matheny’s head in Ann Arbor one fine morning helped him decide to stay in school:
According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Nationals infielder Danny Espinosa declined to attend the team’s annual Winterfest because of his dissatisfaction with management following their trade for outfielder Adam Eaton.
A source told Castillo that Espinosa’s unhappiness stemmed from a belief that the acquisition would jeopardize his starting role in 2017. With Eaton in center field, Trea Turner will likely return to his post at shortstop, leaving Espinosa out in the cold — or, as the case may be, on the bench. The move shouldn’t come as a big surprise to Espinosa, however, as Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo spoke to the possibility of trading the infielder or reassigning him to a utility role back in early November.
Offensively, the 29-year-old had a down year in 2016, slashing just .209/.306/.378 with 24 home runs in 601 PA. Defensively, he still profiles among the top shortstops in the National League, with eight DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) and 8.3 Def (Defensive Runs Above Average) in his seventh year with the club.
Espinosa will reach free agency after the 2017 season.
The Red Sox might be trying to move the wrong pitcher, according to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo. Cafardo revealed that while the Sox have been trying to market right-hander Clay Buchholz, more teams would be interested in trades involving southpaw Drew Pomeranz.
The club appears reluctant to deal Pomeranz, especially because his price tag comes in at a cool $4.7 million to Buchholz’s $13.5 million in 2017. Those who have already expressed interest in the veteran hurlers, including the Twins, Mariners and Royals, also seem put off by Buchholz’s salary requirements as he enters his 32nd year.
Health could be another factor preventing teams from jumping to make trade offers, as Cafardo quotes an AL executive who believes the “medicals on both Pomeranz and Buchholz probably aren’t that great.” Neither pitcher suffered any major injuries during the 2016 season, though Pomeranz missed just over a week of play due to forearm soreness.
Pomeranz outperformed his fellow starter in 2016, pitching to a 3.32 ERA and career-best 9.8 K/9 through 170 2/3 innings with the Padres and Red Sox. He got off to an exceptionally strong start in San Diego, where his ERA dropped to 2.47 through the first half of the year before the Padres dealt him to Boston for minor league right-hander Anderson Espinoza. Buchholz, on the other hand, struggled with a 4.78 ERA and saw a decline in both his BB/9 and K/9 rates as he worked out a career-low 1.69 K/BB through 139 1/3 innings with the Sox.