There are a lot of people upset about neither Fox nor Major League Baseball doing anything during the All-Star Game last night to honor Tony Gwynn. For what it’s worth, Fox is saying that they did too honor him. In the form of a video that, apparently, aired during pregame programming on Fox Sports 1:
I say “apparently,” because I’ve tried five times to get the video linked there to work and I can’t, but I’ll take their word for it. One reader says that he saw it and that it was a good piece featuring Ken Rosenthal interviews and such.
Not that this is going to make the people who are mad about this very happy. I presume the response will be that it didn’t air during the game and that it didn’t air on Fox, but on Fox’s cable channel which isn’t widely viewed.
Personally I think the outrage over this is a bit much. Obviously a well-done tribute to Gwynn would’ve been welcome, but I hardly see it as a capital crime that one did not take place during the game. There are major figures in baseball who die every year. Some do get honored during All-Star or World Series broadcasts. Some don’t. I don’t recall baseball making a point to run video montages and things like the Oscars do. And it’s probably worth noting that the Oscars frequently get criticized for missing someone here or there.
At bottom, I don’t think it’s fair to say Major League Baseball has somehow snubbed Gywnn’s death. When it happened there was all manner of nice gestures both by the league, its teams, broadcasters and almost anyone else you can imagine. If your thoughts about last night are “it would’ve been nice to see something,” that’s fine. But if you’re suggesting that Fox or MLB is somehow “disrespecting” Gwynn here, or that they owe apologies and the like, I think you’re overstating things.
This is especially true if you’re one of those people whose default mode is to think everything Fox and MLB do is somehow ill-conceived and mock-worthy. In that case, would you really want them to do something, or are you just firing complaints at big, common targets?
MASN’s Roch Kubatko is reporting that the Orioles have “some level” of interest in free agent outfielder Denard Span. The Nationals did not make a $15.8 million qualifying offer to Span, which means he doesn’t come attached with draft pick compensation unlike other free agents such as Alex Gordon and Dexter Fowler.
Span, who turns 32 in February, hit a solid .301/.365/.431 with five home runs, 22 RBI, 38 runs scored, and 11 stolen bases, but took only 275 plate appearances due to back and hip injuries. He underwent season-ending hip surgery in September but is expected to be ready to participate in spring training.
The Mets and Royals have also reportedly shown interest in Span’s services.
ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that the Blue Jays are on the prowl for relievers with closing experience. Ryan Madson is one of the names on their list.
Madson, 35, had a career rebirth with the Royals in 2015. He signed a minor league deal with the club that paid him a salary of $850,000 if he made it back to the majors. Due to a plethora of arm injuries, Madson hadn’t pitched in the majors since Game 5 of the 2011 NLDS against the Cardinals as a member of the Phillies. For the Royals, he wound up becoming a crucial member of the bullpen, finishing with a 2.13 ERA and a 58/14 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings.
While Madson allowed five runs in 8 1/3 post-season innings, he pitched well when it mattered most, as he hurled three scoreless frames in three appearances in the World Series against the Mets.
Madson has closing experience, with 55 career saves. 32 of them came in 2011 when he took over the closer’s role from Brad Lidge.
After signing Marco Estrada and J.A. Happ, and trading for Jesse Chavez, the Jays have bolstered their rotation but it was reported on Saturday that interim GM Tony LaCava is still focused on upgrading the pitching staff.
ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that free agent pitcher Trevor Cahill is looking for a one-year, bounce-back deal. The Pirates are one of the potential teams he is considering.
It’s no surprise that the Pirates are on Cahill’s list. Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage has garnered a reputation as a miracle worker after turning around the careers of a handful of pitchers, including Edinson Volquez, Francisco Liriano, and J.A. Happ. Volquez parlayed a one-year, $5 million deal with the Pirates into a two-year, $20 million deal with the Royals last December. Liriano signed with the Pirates on a one-year, $1 million contract and turned that into a three-year, $39 million deal. Happ, dealt to the Pirates from the Mariners at the most recent trade deadline, just signed a three-year, $39 million contract with the Blue Jays.
Cahill, once a highly-regarded pitching prospect, has scuffled over parts of seven seasons in the majors. The 27-year-old owns a career 4.13 ERA with a 754/427 K/BB ratio in 1,083 2/3 innings. Cahill had some brief success after signing with the Cubs as a free agent in mid-August, compiling a 2.12 ERA in 11 appearances out of the bullpen.
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that the Blue Jays have narrowed their search for a new general manager down to two candidates: current interim GM Tony LaCava, and Indians vice president of player personnel Ross Atkins. Former Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos resigned last month.
LaCava was promoted to interim GM on November 2 and has already made a handful of moves along with new president Mark Shapiro. The club acquired Jesse Chavez in a trade and signed pitchers Marco Estrada and J.A. Happ to multi-year deals.
Atkins worked under Shapiro in the Indians organization for 15 seasons, so it is no surprise that he is a finalist for the open GM position.