Craig Calcaterra

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Dave Bergman, member of the 1984 Tigers, dies at age 61

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This is sad: Dave Bergman, a member of the 1984 Detroit Tigers team, has passed away at age 61. He had been suffering from cancer.

Bergman had a 17-year career. He was originally drafted by the Yankees in the second round in 1974. He only had 24 plate appearances for New York before being sent to Houston in a multi-player trade following the 1977 season. He played parts of four seasons in Houston and then went to San Francisco along with Jeffrey Leonard in a 1981 trade. In March of 1984 he was part of a large trade that resulted in him — and, more famously, Willie Hernandez — arriving in Detroit from San Francisco and Philadelphia, respectively.

That was a key trade for the Tigers, and not just because they acquired the 1984 MVP Award winner in Hernandez. Bergman was a key part of the World Series champions, playing in 120 games — the second most he’d ever play in a season — and hitting .273/.351/.417 while handling the larger portion of the Tigers’ first base platoon (Darrell Evans played far more DH that year). Bergman would go on to play in the bigs through the 1992 season, all with Detroit. For his career he finished with a line of .258/.348/.367 in 3,114 plate appearances. And as the video embedded in this story in the Free Press shows, Bergman was also pretty adept at the hidden ball trick.

After he retired he remained in the Detroit area and was active in youth baseball.

Alex Wood says there will be less “tomfoolery” in the Braves’ clubhouse this year

ST
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Alex Wood just turned 24-years-old. But he has the vocabulary of your grandpa:

No word on whether or not there will be monkeyshines, shenanigans, horseplay, hanky-panky or frolicsomeness. But certainly not tomfoolery.

Why there will be less of this is unclear, but someone in San Diego, Houston or St. Louis should ask the new players in those towns what they think about chicanery, devilry and mischief.

The Indians have a standing offer to Jason Giambi for a non-playing role

Chicago White Sox v Cleveland Indians
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Eventually Jason Giambi will have to stop playing. He may not have his brain around it yet, but the guy will be 44 this year, so the end is nigh. Heck, the end was probably a couple of years ago, but his likability and presence in the clubhouse is valued enough to where the Rockies and then the Indians have let him keep playing.

In the likely event that he can’t snag a job as a player this year, though, he can still make it to spring training:

He’s turned down coaching opportunities in the past. Given that he has a .185 batting average in 157 games dating back to 2012, my guess is that he won’t turn them down much longer.

The 10th best general manager of all time was a lawyer and sportswriter first. Hey . . .

Frank Cashen
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Mark Armour and Dan Levitt have written a book: In Pursuit of Pennants, which examines how front offices have historically found innovative ways to build winning teams. In support of that, they are counting down the top-25 GMs of all time over at their blog. Since it’s slow season, I’m going to continue linking to the countdown as it’s great stuff we rarely read about in the normal course.

Before Frank Cashen got into the baseball business he was a sportswriter, a lawyer and worked for a brewery. Basically, he lived my life and followed my passions. The only difference is that he had a clue about how to run a baseball team too, so he was able to build the Orioles of the 60s and 70s and then build the Mets of the 80s. I’ll likely write more about sports and drink more beer. Advantage: Cashen.

Go read Mark and Dan’s take on him here.

The Giants and Brandon Belt avoid arbitration

brandon belt giants getty
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Jon Heyman reports that the Giants and Brandon Belt avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $3.6 million contract. Belt had asked for $4.5 million and was offered $3 million from the Giants when arbitration figures were exchanged.

Belt’s 2014 was derailed by injuries, causing him to appear in just 61 games last season. He hit .243/.306/.449 with 12 homers. Which explains why the settlement number was a lot closer to the Giants’ submission than his own.

Belt has two more trips through arbitration in his future and can become a free agent following the 2017 season.