Craig Calcaterra

The Giants are keeping in touch with Tim Lincecum


Giants GM Bobby Evans acknowledged to the San Francisco Chronicle that he has maintained contact with free agent Tim Lincecum.

Everyone has focused so much on the big-time free agents that we’ve sort of forgotten about the former back-to-back Cy Young Award winner. But he too is a free agent and, the Giants’ interest notwithstanding, is planning to hold a showcase for interested teams next month in Arizona.

Those Cy Youngs are pretty far back in the rear-view mirror, unfortunately. He has a 39-42 record with a 4.68 ERA, declining strikeout rates and climbing walk rates over the last four seasons. He’s also coming off of hip surgery. His name and reputation may get him a major league deal, but on the merits he seems like a minor league deal/major league camp invite sort of talent these days. It’d hard to picture him in a uniform other than a Giants uniform, to be honest.

Billy Butler talks about conditioning and the Athletics’ bad chemistry


A’s DH Billy Butler appeared at whatever Caravan/FanFest/Magical Mystery Tour the A’s, like every other team, have in January. There were a number of issues on the table, but the two that stuck out were his conditioning and the A’s team chemistry, as reported by John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle.

On the conditioning, Butler was pretty frank and honest about life, the universe and his physique. Rather than peddle Best Shape of His Life stuff like a lot of bigger guys coming off of a bad season might, he notes that (a) he is who he is and he’s never exactly been mistaken with the Bryce Harpers and Andrew McCutchens of the world; and (b) when you’re a big dude, no one ever asks you about your conditioning when you’re coming off of a big season. Both of those things are true.

More interesting are his comments about the Athletics’ chemistry:

Beyond all the losing, the A’s had a clubhouse-chemistry problem, and Butler acknowledged it Sunday, saying, “To say we had a bad clubhouse was accurate.

“You see there’s definitely people who are not here anymore that were part of the issue.”

For the record, the Athletics traded away Jesse Chavez, Brett Lawrie, Drew Pomeranz and Arnold Leon this offseason. Ike Davis is a free agent they’re likely not bringing back. Given that relief pitchers and swingmen/fifth starters tend not to rate very high on the clubhouse totem pole, my guess would be that Butler is talking about Lawrie here, who was criticized by some folks in Toronto. It’s worth noting, however, that Butler immediately went on to say that chemistry is always going to suffer when you’re losing 94 games because losing makes guys unhappy.

Which makes me think that even if Lawrie is a less-than-fabulous clubhouse guy, if the A’s lose 94 games again, there will be someone else who is none too happy in that clubhouse come September.

Why do people make up fake trade rumors anyway?

fleetwood mac rumors

One of the weirder parts of the offseason are the fake news reports and rumors. I don’t mean when a journalist saying something that doesn’t come to pass or seems far-fetched. I mean completely phony reports made up from whole cloth. They’re especially weird when they come from someone who has created a fake Twitter account designed to look like an actual reporter’s.

Why would anyone do that? What do they possibly hope to gain? And how do the real reporters feel about that?

Over at The Hardball Times today, Kyla Wall-Polin attempts to answer that question. She tracked down a couple of fakers and a reporter who has been impersonated and asked what the heck gives. I highly recommend reading the whole thing to get the odd flavor of this little corner of baseball media and fandom, but I’ll say that this sort of stuck out to me:

Greg didn’t strike me as a particularly bad person, just a bored dude trying to amuse himself on the Internet.

I think that explains most of the weird and/or bad stuff on the Internet, actually. It certainly applies here.