Two offseasons ago the Twins acquired Vance Worley from the Phillies as part of the trade for Ben Revere. At the time Worley was 25 years old with a 3.50 ERA in 278 career innings and looked capable of being a solid, cheap middle-of-the-rotation starter for several seasons.
He started on Opening Day for Minnesota, but was disastrous with a 7.21 ERA in 10 starts before getting demoted to the minors. Worley was so bad that the Twins removed him from the 40-man roster after the season and he passed through waivers unclaimed by the other 29 teams.
At that point the Twins could have simply assigned Worley to Triple-A, but instead they decided to cut bait completely and sold him to the Pirates for a little cash. It was a total give-away move and there was no real reason for it other than the Twins wanting to wash their hands of the entire situation.
Last night Worley tossed a complete-game shutout against the Giants, improving to 4-1 with a 2.54 ERA in 50 innings for the Pirates. At age 26 he once again looks capable of being a solid middle-of-the-rotation starter thanks to Pittsburgh getting him healthy, giving him some coaching on his mechanics, showing a little patience, and basically doing what Minnesota wouldn’t or couldn’t. And that’s become a familiar story for Twins fans.
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.