January is always slow, but today is crazy-slow in the world of baseball. Really, not a substantive baseball happening since that Manny Ramirez story yesterday. This has left me to tweeting my close readings of Toto songs from the early 1980s and proposing liberal arts essays about it all. That’s pretty desperate and pathetic, even for me.
So, let’s look at what other people are writing about stuff that isn’t really news, which I have been reading so far today:
- In light of the Manny comeback news, here’s ESPN’s Jayson Stark and Tim Kurkjian discussing Manny’s Hall of Fame case. It’s interesting. While we can all agree he was a great player, his PED issues occurred in the post-testing world which makes me think he’s going to get way lower vote totals than any of the PED guys from the pre-testing era. And that makes sense. If we’re going to talk about character things, though, I’d say that PEDs are only the third worst offensive on Manny’s list. His alleged domestic violence incident and the time he attacked that Red Sox employee are the worst, followed by his transparent quitting on the Red Sox back in 2008;
- Mark Armour has been writing about baseball cards for the Society of American Baseball Research. Indeed, he has a whole blog at the SABR site solely about cards and SABR has a baseball card chapter now. His latest entry is about those weird, rare multi-player cards from the 1950s and 60s. I had the Hank Aaron/Eddie Matthews “Fence Busters” card when I was a kid. It was one of my favorites. Mark wants to know why they don’t make ’em anymore. It’s a good question.
- Did you know that Babe Ruth became great when he stopped throwing baseballs at random yaks? That 714 is more than 12? That Barry Bonds’ nickname was “Massive,” and that, if he tries to enter the Hall of Fame, the employees bang pots and pans until he is scared away? No? Well go educate yourselves with this statistical portrait of Babe Ruth. Buried lede: According to NASA, Chipper Jones is the second-greatest player of all time. Can’t argue with statistics.
Here’s hoping some news happens. If not, we’ll share more nonsense.
The Rays acquired right-handed reliever Sergio Romo from the Dodgers, the teams announced Saturday night. Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash hinted that the team was in on Romo during the offseason, but couldn’t quite make a deal happen at the time. The righty reliever was designated for assignment by the Dodgers on Thursday and will net the club cash considerations or a player to be named later.
Romo, 34, struggled to find his footing in his first season with the Dodgers. He left a closing role in San Francisco to play set-up man to established closer Kenley Jansen, and saw mixed results on the mound with a 6.12 ERA, 4.3 BB/9 and 11.2 SO/9 through his first 25 innings of 2017. It’s a far cry from the sub-3.00 ERA he maintained in 2015 and 2016, but the Rays don’t seem to have ruled out a second-half surge just yet.
The veteran right-hander is expected to step into a bullpen that already boasts a solid core of right-handed relievers, including Alex Colome, Brad Boxberger, Erasmo Ramirez, Chase Whitley and Tommy Hunter. According to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, the Rays were intrigued by Romo’s extensive postseason experience, affordability and hefty strikeout rate, but will likely continue to hunt for additional bullpen depth in the weeks to come.
Astros’ third baseman Colin Moran was carted off the field on Saturday night after a foul ball caught him in the left eye. He was forced to leave in the sixth inning when a pitch from Orioles’ right-handed reliever Darren O'Day ricocheted off the handle of his bat and struck him in the face, causing considerable bleeding and bruising around his eye. The full extent of his injury has yet to be reported by the team.
Prior to the injury, Moran was 1-for-2 with a base hit in the third inning. He was relieved by pinch-hitter/third baseman Marwin Gonzalez, who polished off the end of the at-bat by catapulting a three-run homer onto Eutaw Street.
Evan Gattis and Carlos Beltran combined for another two runs in the ninth inning, bringing the Astros to a four-run lead as they look toward their 65th win of the season. They currently lead the Orioles 7-4 in the bottom of the ninth.