Author: Craig Calcaterra

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Yankees unlikely to pursue Scherzer, Lester, Shields or Sandoval

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The Yankees have a reputation for going big in free agency. Last year they signed, like, a half billion worth of contracts. This year? Don’t count on it. At least don’t count on it if Bill Madden and Mark Feinsand of the Daily News are to be believed. The report that the team “has no plans to pursue” any of those big four targets, at least two or three of which many have suspected the Yankees will pursue.

Instead: they plan to go hard to sign Brandon McCarthy and Chase Headley. The Yankees traded for those two during the season. Each performed admirably in pinstripes, filling much needed slots in the Bronx and improving significantly compared to where there were with their previous teams. Both also make sense for 2015 and beyond, with the Yankees needing both a starting pitcher and a third baseman. Of course, the Yankees probably need more than one starting pitcher. Lester, specifically, would seem to be a great fit for Yankee Stadium.

Also probably worth remembering: the Yankees have a long and rich history of saying they aren’t interested in this or that player or that they have no plans to exceed this or that figure in their budget, only to go ahead and drop serious cash anyway. So take all of this with a grain of salt.

Madison Bumgarner was pretty good on “The Tonight Show”

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Madison Bumgarner joined Jimmy Fallon on “The Tonight Show” last night. His laconic, country dude thing works pretty well in contrast to Fallon’s thing.

They talked pickup trucks. He said he and Jake Peavy were going to cut an album. Or maybe not.

And he gave Fallon some underwear.

In which a columnist acts as if Joe Maddon was the spouse who left him

Broken heart
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Tom Jones of the Tampa Bay Times does not like that Joe Maddon is with the Cubs now. He does not like it one bit:

This whole thing stinks to high heaven.

It smells rotten and it looks shady and it feels dirty.

No matter how you slice it, it all just feels wrong.

Joe Maddon is gone. It’s official now. The Cubs introduced him as their manager Monday.

He put on their hat. He put on their jersey. And that’s when it truly sunk in.

He isn’t coming back to Tampa Bay next season. It’s over. He belongs to someone else now.

All of the one-line paragraphs are his. There are many more of them, most of which detail the process which got Maddon to Chicago, which Jones believes was probably tampering of some kind. I don’t have facts sufficient to dispute him on that. I’ll note that, contrary to Jones’ position, Maddon would not be an idiot to leave Tampa Bay without having a job lined up because only a fool would think he couldn’t find a nice, lucrative one pretty quickly regardless. But no, I can’t prove that nothing untoward went down.

I think the bigger takeaway here, however, is the way Jones couches all of this. He said “If you’re a Rays fan, it’s easy to feel like a jilted lover,” but that clearly applies to some columnists too. And I suppose he’s entitled to his feelings on all of this. But really, you don’t write this column if you think sports are just like any other business and that highly-paid athletes and coaches in highly-profitable businesses are rational actors rather than avatars for fans who approach sports with a childlike naiveté.

I’d like to think that, after all of this time, we’re beyond thinking such silly things. But apparently we’re not.

The Indians give Terry Francona a two-year contract extension

Terry Francona
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Terry Francona was already under contract with the Indians through 2016, but the team decided they wanted him around longer, so they just announced a two-year contract extension for him. That locks Francona up through the 2018 season. The deal also contains club options for the 2019 and 2020 seasons.

Francona has managed Cleveland for two seasons. In that time he is 177-147. In 2013 the Indians made the Wild Card game, losing to the Rays. Overall Francona has managed for 14 years, compiling a record of 1206-1062 while winning two World Series rings with the Red Sox.

They’re already cashing in on Joe Maddon in Chicago

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One day after the introductory presser and the Joe Maddon merch is rolling out:

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I can’t tell if those are re-purposed Harry Caray glasses or what. Probably doesn’t matter, as Maddon seems to be slowly morphing into Caray anyway.

(h/t HoVG)