You’ve probably heard the “Mystery Team” thing around free agent and trade deadline time. It was a term invented by Jon Heyman at the 2010 Winter Meetings in Florida. That’s when he published a rumor in Sports Illustrated that then-free agent Cliff Lee was being courted by “the Texas Rangers, New York Yankees and a third mystery team.” He added — and I am not making this up — that “the mystery team remains a mystery and is also seen as a long shot.”
That was initially seen as a joke — and by some as Heyman trying to sound plugged in when he didn’t know anything — but he showed all of them when, the very next day, Cliff Lee signed with the Phillies who were, in fact, the “Mystery Team.” With that a meme was born, and Heyman has owned it since then, mostly ironically, but certainly as a part of his personal brand. I’ve long been critical of Heyman for a lot of things, but the “mystery team” thing is kind of fun, actually. Takes some of the seriousness out of all of this.
Heyman may be extending his brand from free agents and trade targets to owners now. He doesn’t use the phrase “mystery bidder” in his latest report today about a potential new suitor for the Miami Marlins, but he really should have:
While people involved with sale talks involving the Marlins continue to suggest that one of the two leading groups – the Derek Jeter group and the Tagg Romney-Tom Glavine group – are “most likely” to win the team through negotiation, sources suggest that at least one other viable prospect owner has entered the picture . . . The third viable owner is not known at this time.
Heyman says that, according to Rob Manfred, a new Marlins owner could be in place by the end of next month. He’s also spending some time in there beating back rumors that the Marlins’ books are a mess, but there are few details. Based on well-reported stuff from places like the Miami New Times over the years, I sort of doubt those books look great, but what do I know?
Anyway, good job on the brand extension, Jon, and good luck to whoever is going up against Jeter and Glavine. Most people in competition with those two didn’t get the best of them.
The Athletics followed Friday’s 3-0 shutout with a rookie-led home run derby on Saturday afternoon, watching not one, not two, but three rookies belt their first major league home runs off of the White Sox’ James Shields.
Right fielder Matt Olson was the first to strike, taking Shields deep on a first-pitch, two-run blast in the first inning for his first home run in 49 major league plate appearances:
Fellow outfielder Jaycob Brugman duplicated his teammate’s results in the second inning with a solo home run, his first extra-base hit of any kind since he made his debut on June 9:
In the third, with a comfortable 4-0 lead backing two scoreless frames from Oakland right-hander Daniel Gossett, Franklin Barreto took his shot at Shields. After getting the call several hours prior to Saturday’s game, he became the fastest of the three rookies to record his first big league homer, going yard on a 2-2 changeup and driving in Bruce Maxwell to give the A’s a six-run advantage.
The Athletics currently lead the White Sox 8-2 in the top of the sixth inning.
The Athletics called up their top prospect on Saturday, inserting shortstop Franklin Barreto into the lineup for their second game against the White Sox. Barreto was originally scheduled to make his major league debut on Sunday, but got a head start after Jed Lowrie sustained a minor knee sprain in Friday’s 3-0 win and was scratched from Saturday’s lineup.
Barreto, 21, has been rapidly climbing the rungs of the A’s minor league system after getting dealt by the Blue Jays in 2014. He got his first taste of Triple-A action late last year, going 6-for-17 with three RBI and getting caught stealing in two attempts. He fared little better this spring, slashing .281/.326/.428 with eight home runs and a .754 OPS through his first 309 PA in Nashville.
While his minor league production has been solid, if underwhelming for a prospect of his caliber, the A’s are expected to give the rookie infielder a long leash with both Marcus Semien and Chad Pinder sitting on the disabled list. Pinder landed on the 10-day DL after suffering a left hamstring strain on Friday. Semien, meanwhile, is still working his way back from the 60-day DL with a right wrist fracture and likely won’t rejoin the team until he completes a rehab assignment with High-A Stockton.