Jon Heyman reports that Cliff Lee has received medical clearance and is currently throwing with no issues. He says that Lee will try to pitch in 2016 if he “finds the right fit.”
Lee missed the entire 2015 season after suffering a torn flexor tendon in his throwing elbow during spring training. He only pitched 13 games in 2014 and was last effective over the course of a whole season in 2013. He’s 37 now. And, after the Phillies understandably declined his 2016 option, is a free agent.
What the “right fit” would be for Lee is unknown, but given his recent track record and health, it had better be “a minor league deal with an invite to spring training” at best, or else he won’t be pitching in 2016.
A late non-tender from last night: the Padres non-tendered infielder Will Middlebrooks.
Middlebrooks, the Padres’ Opening Day third baseman in 2015, hit .212/.241/.361 in 270 plate appearances in San Diego. This after posting a .522 OPS in 2014, followed by his trade from Boston for Ryan Hanigan
. There was a time when he looked like he was going to turn into a decent hitter — he put up a line of .288/.325/.509 in a little under half a season as a rookie in 2012 — but it seems like ages ago now.
The question poised in the headline is normally the sort of question I mock. I mock it because it’s often asked in the service of self-important people in the media thinking that they and their questions — and not the competition of professional sports — is the toughest part of an athlete’s job. Most of the time you see that construct, it’s from some columnist or a radio host flexing his muscles and preparing to go after some guy. It’s usually dumb.
But today there’s an actually good take on it! It comes from Rob Bradford at WEEI, and it’s good because it’s not premised on the notion that the media is some overwhelming force but, rather, a mere fact of life with which the player has to deal. A more bothersome fact in Boston than elsewhere, but an annoyance, not The Main Challenge. And, most importantly, it comes from a players’ perspective, not the perspective of the media.
Specifically, Bradford talks to Jonny Gomes, who played in Boston and played with Price and thus has a pretty decent handle on such things. Gomes’ main advice: be accountable. Talk to the media even if you had a bad game and, maybe, especially if you had a bad game. Not because they’re owed their tribute, really, but because you KNOW how the Boston media will react if you don’t and that’s an easily avoidable pain in the butt.
Anyway, a better way to approach a weird topic that often lends itself to ego-stroking. And maybe the best use of Jonny Gomes in, like, two years.
As for the answer to the question, “Can David Price Hack it in Boston?” Sure, probably. If he pitches well and shoots straight. Which is something he should probably be doing anyway.