Author: Craig Calcaterra

Freddie Freeman

Fredi Gonzalez says Freddie Freeman will be a Brave next season


The other night rumors circulated that the Braves were considering trading first baseman Freddie Freeman. While that seemed somewhat far-fetched — Freeman is the Braves’ best hitter, he is under a reasonable long term deal and the team is starved of offense — the Braves have traded a lot of players once thought off-limits in the past year or two.

Today Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez took to the airwaves and shot those rumors down:


Probably worth noting here that front offices do themselves no favors if they telegraph their moves in public. Indeed, just last January team President John Hart said that the club had no plans to trade Craig Kimbrel and he was gone before Opening Day. It was a decent deal for the Braves, perhaps in part because they made it seem like they really didn’t want to part with him. That’s how negotiation works.

For this reason — and, as the Kimbrel example shows — you can’t take an executive’s public pronouncements about a player at face value. So, while Gonzalez’s words sound pretty emphatic, and while it makes far more sense for Freeman to remain with the Braves than to be traded, remember that things can always change. All it takes is one phone call and the right offer.

David Ross to retire after 2016

David Ross

Cubs catcher David Ross was on MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM yesterday and was asked if 2016 would be his last year.He answered in the affirmative, saying “I think this is probably going to be it for me, time to be a dad, I’m going to give it one more run.”

Ross will be entering year two of a two-year, $5 million contract. He hit a paltry .176/.267/.252 in 182 plate appearances in 2015. He’ll turn 39 during Spring Training. He’s basically Jon Lester‘s personal catcher, however, so it’s not like he’s expected to carry too much weight.

(h/t MLB Trade Rumors)

Who will win the Manager of the Year Awards tonight?

Joe Maddon

Night two of the BBWAA Awards is tonight, and the Managers of the Year will be announced in both the AL and the NL just after 6pm Eastern time. The finalists were announced a week ago. They are Terry Collins, Joe Maddon and Mike Matheny in the National League and Jeff Banister, A.J. Hinch and Paul Molitor in the American League.

In early October I broke down this race, making a case for who should win and a guess as to who will win. As I made clear in that post, however, the Manager of the Year Award is not really a matter suitable for analysis and prediction in the way the other awards are. A manager’s success is insanely dependent on his team’s talent level and health and, just because an otherwise good manager’s team doesn’t fare well doesn’t mean they somehow forgot how to manage well. If you do better with what outsiders thought you had six months earlier, hooray, you’re the manager of the year.

And so it is here. The Mets and Cubs have men who are widely perceived to be excellent managers at the helm but were considered to be less-than-ready for true contention. Most figured the Mets were a potential wild card team and it turns out they won the NL East before ballots were submitted. Most thought the Cubs wouldn’t be a playoff team for a year or two at least, and they won 97 games. Mike Matheny was expected to have a strong contender and more than fulfilled those expectations with a 100-win season but did so despite injuries to key players. A month or so ago I figured that Maddon would win and maybe should, but Collins is a great choice given the parameters typically used by voters. Injuries notwithstanding, Matheny will likely fall victim to the same implicit argument Joe Girardi usually does: “hey, your team is SUPPOSED to win!”

In the AL we have a more traditional setup: three new managers who took over teams perceived to be non-contenders at the beginning of the year but which greatly exceeded expectations. Hinch was considered a disaster of a manager in Arizona but one good year later and he’s new looked on in a new light. Molitor and Bannister had no track record. All three could turn out to be the Next Great Managers in Baseball History, about which books are written, but now their calling card is, primarily, having exceeded those expectations. Any could win. I have no idea who should. If I had to guess I’d say Banister, but it’s really a pick ’em.

Willie Mays, Yogi Berra to be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom

Major League Baseball hall of famer  Willie Mays, who spent the majority of his career as a center fielder with the New York and San Francisco Giants, smiles as President Barack Obama honors the 2012 World Series Champion San Francisco Giants baseball team, Monday, July 29, 2013, during a ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington. The team beat the Detroit Tigers in the 2012 World Series, their second championship since the franchise moved to San Francisco from New York in 1958. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

It was just announced that Willie Mays and Yogi Berra will be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama on November 24. Berra’s will be posthumous, of course.

The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the nation’s highest civilian honor. According to the White House, the award is given to individuals “who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.” The last baseball winner was Ernie Banks, in 2013.

For a reminder of just how much more Yogi Berra was than the cute, funny legend he somehow became by the end of this life, please read my remembrance of Berra from just after his passing. For Mays’ life and accomplishments, check out this biography over at SABR.

Other recipients this year: Steven Spielberg, Barbra Streisand, Stephen Sondheim, Gloria Estefan, James Taylor, Bonnie Carroll, Emilio Estefan, Lee Hamilton, Katherine G. Johnson, Barbara Mikulski, Itzhak Perlman and William Ruckelshaus. Other posthumous recipients will be Shirley Chisholm, Billy Frank Jr. and Minoru Yasui.

There is a football field in Fenway Park

fenway park seats getty

I try not to judge. Everyone can do what they want within reason I guess, as long as they aren’t harming anyone else. This is a free country and we all have the right to express ourselves how we want to and to associate with who we want to.

But there are just certain laws of nature which shouldn’t be messed with. And this is simply unnatural:


This is for the Notre Dame-Boston College game on Nov. 21.  Here’s a time-lapse of how they transformed the field from baseball — as GOD intended it — to football, which in this particular context is an even greater abomination than it already is.


Here’s hoping the clergy who works for these two fine universities perform whatever rites are required to turn Fenway Park back into what it was intended to be before April.