Craig Calcaterra


Ian Desmond signs a one-year deal with the Rangers to play left field


Fox’s Ken Rosenthal reports that the Rangers have agreed to a one-year, $8 million contract with Ian Desmond.
The deal is pending a physical. He’ll reportedly be the Rangers left fielder.

This is a hard, hard comedown for Desmond, who had previously rejected a $15.8 million qualifying offer from the Nationals. And, as I’m sure he’d like to not be reminded, he turned down a 7-year, $107 million deal from the Nationals in 2013. Meanwhile, it’s  a bargain for the Rangers, who will also have to give up the No. 19 overall pick in order to sign Desmond.

Desmond, who has seen a dramatic decline in his offensive production over the past several season (his OPS has gone from .845 to .784 to .743 to .674 since 2012) now looks to make the most of this by moving to a hitter-friendly park and by showing defensive versatility by covering left field. Meanwhile, the signing and the position he’ll cover tells you pretty much everything you need to know about the Rangers’ confidence in Josh Hamilton being healthy and productive.

Gerrit Cole had a great season. The Pirates considered cutting his salary.

Gerrit Cole

When a player leaves the team which brought him up via free agency, he is often considered “disloyal” and fans of his original team often turn on him. Rarely, however, does anyone consider whether or not the team treated him well or showed any gratitude for that which he accomplished.

If they considered that in Gerrit Cole‘s case, the Pirates may come up wanting.

Cole was fantastic for the Pirates last year, going 19-8 with a 2.60 ERA in 208 innings, striking out 202 batters and walking only 44. If it weren’t for some seriously historic seasons from a couple of other guys, that could easily have been a Cy Young kind of performance. It was certainly good enough for him to start the Wild Card game, showing without question that he is the ace of Clint Hurdle’s staff.

Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports, however, that the Pirates are treating him some rookie who should be happy to be on a big league roster:

On Saturday, Cole grudgingly signed a deal for $541,000 in base salary. That’s the same amount he made last year — $531,000 in base pay play a $10,000 bonus for making the All-Star team.

According to Cole, the team’s initial offer last week was for $538,000 – which was less than his total pay last year. The team refused to go higher than $541,000.

“They even threatened a salary reduction to the league minimum [$507,500] if I did not agree,” Cole said.

The Pirates have the power to do that, of course, because Cole is not yet arbitration eligible and players in such a situation have zero leverage (all players prior to the advent of free agency were in this situation as well, I might add). But having the power to do that and choosing to do that are too different things. That the Pirates would choose to do that speaks of a team that has no interest in signing Cole long term and which is needlessly antagonizing one of its most important players.

Baseball is a business and playing is a job regardless, so maybe matters of “loyalty” shouldn’t be of concern to anyone. But if you do care about loyalty, it should be a two-way street, should it not?

Yasiel Puig will not be allowed to fly a helicopter to games


Our country is pretty messed up. The middle class is being squeezed out of existence, home ownership is becoming a pipe dream for many, job security is a thing of the past and the cost of higher education is spiraling out of control. Meanwhile, we have Donald Trump leading the polls in one of the major parties and neither party seems to be listening to the very real and often desperate needs of the overlooked and invisible in our society.

We, as a nation, can likely overcome these obstacles, but we don’t need anything else weighing us down at this point. We don’t need any more oppression from The Man, curtailing our freedoms and squelching the few bits of beauty and wonder which manage to break through the dark, gnarly boughs of the hostile forest that is 21st Century society.

Simply put, we don’t need bad news like this:

Yesterday we had a dream of Yasiel Puig, swooping into Dodger Stadium in a chopper. Probably late anyway because that’s just what he does, but swooping all the same! Now even that dream is gone.

I’m moving to Canada. Or, if Trump promises that he’ll let Puig fly the chopper, I may take another look at him. I’m in a delicate vulnerable place right now, open to the power of suggestion.