In 2012 the Washington Nationals unwittingly created a gigantic headache for themselves when they publicly declared the existence of and then followed through on a hard shutdown date for their young, post-Tommy John surgery star. Or, rather, a shutdown innings limit, which kept him from pitching in the playoffs and, to this day, has led to criticism of Mike Rizzo and the Nats’ front office.
The Mets, Marc Carig of Newsday reports, are trying to avoid that situation with their young ace, Matt Harvey. Rather, they are going to have a “soft” number of innings they’d like to see him throw in the regular season and manage that workload with days off and skipped starts that, should the Mets make the playoffs, will allow Harvey to pitch.
As Carig notes, that shouldn’t be as hard for the Mets as it may be for some other teams given what, at the moment anyway, appears to be a surplus of starting pitching, including some young pitching which could go back and forth from Triple-A to New York.
The good news: at the moment, Sandy Alderson says the club and Harvey are in agreement with this approach. Though you can bet that some New York reporters will spend a lot of time this year trying to get Harvey to go on record with his own, potentially unique view of the arrangement.
It’s the day Giancarlo Stanton signs his massive deal and holds his press conference. Here’s the official tweet from the Marlins showing him putting his name down on the dotted line.
Is it just me, or does that hashtag — and really, this whole milieu — seem rather threatening?
Hero: I’ll never talk!
Villain: Have it your way, pal. And enjoy being . . . a fish for life!
In other news, today is the 35th anniversary of another guy who, at the time, became the highest paid player in baseball history. His name was Nolan Ryan and he signed a four-year, $4.5 million deal with the Houston Astros.
If you think that dealing with injury and expectations and losing has been hard for Ryan Howard, imagine what it’s been like for him to be in a legal and financial fight with his very own family.
That fight, now settled, but likely still a major cause of angst for anyone in Howard’s position, is detailed by David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News:
Court documents filed in Howard’s home state of Missouri paint a picture of a family in turmoil. Howard’s brother Corey alleged that he had unjustly terminated a consulting agreement between the two, and Ryan in turn alleging that his father, mother and brothers were enriching themselves at his expense.
It’s not totally unlike that which we have seen with other athletes or celebrities in the past — his focus is on baseball, everyone else’s focus is on . . . other things — but it’s notable given the sheer size of Howard’s contract and how, earlier in his career, his family was such a big part of his personal story. Back when he first came up we heard so much about his parents and his twin brother and the general idea of what a great foundation Howard’s career was built on. And maybe it was. But, sadly, it spiraled in unfortunate directions.
Here’s hoping Howard is able to put this stuff behind him as he enters the next phase of his career. One that could find him on another club next season.
MLB Productions comes out with a movie each year featuring that year’s World Series winners. The Giants one premieres next Monday. In the meantime, they have released a clip in which some Giants players do their best Madison Bumgarner impressions.
And, as you may expect, Hunter Pence’s is the best, what with the snake cut open to reveal live baby rabbits and . . . well, just watch.
Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston.com reports that the Red Sox have made a contract offer to Jon Lester.
No details yet and, according to Edes, the Sox do not expect a quick answer from Lester. Which makes it feel like a due diligence sort of thing. “Let no one say we never made an offer” or what have you.
Or just a realization that Lester’s market is pretty hot and pretty wide open at the moment, with the Cubs, Braves and Cardinals all either taking meetings or at least having a dialogue with him in recent days.