Craig Calcaterra

Blogger at NBC Sport.com's HardballTalk. Recovering litigator. Rake. Scoundrel. Notorious Man-About-Town.
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Blue Jays sign Cuban infielder Lourdes Gurriel

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MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez reports that the Blue Jays have agreed to a multi-year contract with Cuban infielder Lourdes Gurriel. The deal is reportedly for seven years and $22 million.

Gurriel, 23, hit .269/.355/.414 in 1036 Serie Nacional plate appearances before defecting from Cuba. Baseball America’s Ben Badler has suggested that he has 20-homer potential in the majors one day. He’s played shortstop and second base, but is probably destined for a corner.

He’ll likely need some time in the minors before he sees time in Toronto.

Joe Torre, while cautiously optimistic, was not a fan of Trump’s campaign

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MLB’s Chief Baseball Officer Joe Torre was at a gala last night and he was asked about Donald Trump, with whom he has played golf before. Torre, quite surprisingly, given how few in the baseball world tend to offer actual opinions about politics, talked about how he was not a fan of the tone and rhetoric which spun out of Trump’s campaign. From the Daily News:

“I know (Trump). I played golf with him,” Torre said Thursday night before his Safe at Home gala at Cipriani Wall Street. “I’m not a fan of the process, I don’t mind saying that. I thought there was a lot of disrespect. I wasn’t a fan of it. Our children — it’s tough when you don’t want your children to watch a debate.”

The charity gala was for Torre’s Safe at Home foundation, which combats domestic violence. As such, he was asked about the allegations of sexual assault leveled against the president-elect:

“To me, whether you’re a Republican or Democrat or Independent, once the process reaches a conclusion, I think we should all be on the same team. We’ve all got to pull for good things to happen,” said Torre. “In relation to what we do (at Safe at Home), there are beliefs on both sides of the aisle and they’re different. I’m hopeful and confident that everybody involved wants to keep women and children safe. That’s really my concern.”

Former Braves, Reds manager Russ Nixon dies

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Mark Sheldon of MLB.com reports that former Atlanta Braves and Cincinnati Reds manager Russ Nixon died earlier this week. He was 81.

Nixon was a backup catcher in the majors for 12 seasons, spending time with the Red Sox, Indians and Twins between 1957 and 1968. He retired with a career line of .268/.310/.361 in over 2,700 plate appearances. After his playing career he was a minor league coach and manager in the Reds organization and a coach under Sparky Anderson on the big league club during The Big Red Machine days. He stayed on after Anderson was fired and was the Reds manager in the final decline days of the Johnny Bench Reds in 1982-83.

After a short stint as an Expos coach, Nixon moved to the Braves organization, first as a coach under Chuck Tanner and then, as a minor league manager. He would go on to succeed Tanner during the Braves’ disastrous 1988 season. he stayed on as the Braves rebuilt under new GM Bobby Cox in 1989 and for the first 65 games in 1990, when Cox moved downstairs into the dugout. Cox would finish the 1990 season and, of course, go on to manage the Braves for the next 20 years. Nixon would remain in baseball, primarily as a minor league coach and instructor, through the 2007 season.