Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura, who was killed in an automobile accident early Sunday morning, was laid to rest yesterday in Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic. This story from the Kansas City Star, who had reporters Vahe Gregorian and Maria Torres on the scene, is touching, evocative and above all sad.
The funeral took place on the field of the ballpark where he learned to play the game as a boy but was attended by the teammates with whom he scaled to baseball’s greatest heights, his manager Ned Yost and Royals general manager Dayton Moore.
Sal Perez gave the eulogy:
“He wasn’t just a teammate or a friend. He was a brother. We’ve known him since he started playing for Kansas City. His moments aside, he had a big heart. It’s incredibly sad what we’re going through right now . . . I regret the loss of our brother Ventura. Only God knows why he does these things. “I love you. And on behalf of the Kansas City Royals, I wish for all of you strength.”
Eric Hosmer, Alcides Escobar, Mike Moustakas, Greg Holland, Jarrod Dyson and Chris Getz, sang at the ceremony.
Rest in peace, Yordano Ventura.
Jon Morosi of MLB Network said yesterday that the Detroit Tigers and Chicago Cubs have been engaged in trade talks involving starting pitcher Justin Verlander and catcher Alex Avila. Morosi also noted that the Los Angeles Dodgers have shown interest in Verlander as well. Whether this is idyl chitchatting of serious dispute is unclear, of course. Everything is unclear in the leadup to the deadline.
The veteran right-hander is carrying a 4.50 with a 120/57 K/BB ratio over 124 innings. Verlander impressed last year, finishing second in AL Cy Young Award balloting, but he has fallen back to Earth in 2017. His velocity remains high, however, and it’s not hard to imagine him going on a solid run in a way that could help a contender. He is owed $56 million over the next two seasons, however, and has a $22 million option that could vest for 2020, so negotiations for him could be tough. If the Tigers want talent back, they’ll have to eat salary.
Verlander got an ovation from a Detroit crowd last night which seemed to sense that, yes, it’s possible he pitched his last game for the Tigers. Given that he has 10/5 rights, allowing him to veto any trade, that decision is ultimately up to him. It’s not hard to imagine him accepting a trade to a contender, however.
We wait see.
The Dodgers beat the Twins last night thanks to a Cody Bellinger three-run homer. But Bellinger was not the only Dodgers rookie who had a notable game. A far more unconventional one is worth mentioning as well.
That rookie is reliever Edward Paredes, who made his big league debut last night. What makes him unconventional: he’s 30. Turns 31 in September, actually. Paredes pitched professionally for 12 years before making it to The Show. Most of that time was in the affiliated minors in the Mariners, Indians, Angels and Dodgers organizations. He spent time in the independent Atlantic League in 2013-15 as well.
Paredes did not do anything heroic last night. It was more of a right place/right time kind of appearance, retiring the side in order with a fly out, line out and a ground out and remaining the pitcher of record while Bellinger hit that three-run homer. That’s enough for a W, though. A W that Paredes waited a lot longer for than most pitchers who notch one in the bigs.