Craig Calcaterra

OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 23:  Dave Henderson waves during a pre-game ceremony to honor the 1989 World Series team before the San Francisco Giants and the Oakland Athletics Major League Baseball game on June 23, 2009 at the Oakland Coliseum in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Getty Images

Dave Henderson, Bobby Dews, Jim O’Toole and Joe Strauss died over the weekend


The baseball world was hit hard over the weekend with the deaths of several members of the baseball community. Red Sox and Athletics outfielder Dave Henderson, Reds pitcher Jim O’Toole, Braves coach Bobby Dews and St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Joe Strauss all passed away over the weekend.

Dave Henderson died Sunday after suffering a massive heart attack. He was 57. He had had a kidney transplant in October. Hendu, as he was known by many, was an excellent hitter who launched one of the most famous home runs in postseason history when he went yard against Donnie Moore in the 1986 ALCS. His blast kept the Red Sox alive in that deciding Game 5 when the Sox were one strike away from elimination. Henderson was not just a one-trick pony, however. He played on four World Series teams and played 14 seasons total in the majors, hitting .275 with 84 homers, 123 doubles and 322 RBIs and posting a line of .258/.320/.436, which works out to an OPS+ of 108.

O’Toole was a really, really fine pitcher for the 1960s Reds, starting Game 1 of the 1961 World Series for Cincinnati after going 19-9 with a 3.10 ERA that year. In all he played ten years in the bigs, winning 98 games and making the All-Star team in 1963. O’Toole was 78 and died of cancer.

Bobby Dews played in the St. Louis Cardinals’ organization from 1960 to 1970, appearing in 142 games at the Triple-A level. He went on to manage in the Cards’ minor league system but ended up spending the final 37 of his 53 years in baseball with the Braves’ organization in various capacities, including big league coach and minor league manager, retiring in 2012. He died of natural causes at age 76.

Finally, St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Joe Strauss died of leukemia at age 54. Strauss covered all sports in his career, but was best known for his baseball work, serving as a beat writer covering the Orioles, Braves and Cardinals prior to becoming a full-time columnist. Strauss liked to challenge the assumptions of his readers, doing God’s work at rooting out the homerish tendencies of St. Louis sports fans. This got him labeled a troll by some and enraged a few, but that sort of voice is much-needed in sports journalism and no one gave it better voice than he did. More importantly, his work was always top notch. He wrote eloquently on deadline and was always a thought-provoking columnist, never retreating to the cliches or evergreen topics so many of his peers do.

Sad to see those four go. Good to know they will always be remembered.

The Mets are officially out on Yoenis Cespedes

Yoenis Cespedes

Jon Heyman reports that the Mets are officially out on Yoenis Cespedes and only offered the free agent outfielder “two or three years” and never even got to actual dollar figures.

In other words, the negotiations ended as soon as they started given that Cespedes is thought to be seeking a six-year deal worth well over $100 million. Of course Cespedes at that price is a huge, huge risk. Yes, he was amazing after he came over to New York from Detroit last year, posting a .942 OPS with 17 homers, and 44 RBI in 57 games down the stretch. Overall, however, he has been up and down, with two less-than-amazing years sandwiched in between his excellent 2012 and 2015 campaigns. If you get more of one of those Cespedeses your $100 million is well spent. If you get more of the other, not so much. And of course he will be in decline by the time a six-year deal ends.

Still, it’s somewhat sobering to learn that the Mets didn’t even make a halfway serious run at the guy on the basis of a couple of bad years on the back end being worth some good years on the front end while the young pitching is still good and cheap.

Adam Wainwright thinks Jason Heyward didn’t “want to be the man”


Jason Heyward recently said that he signed with the Cubs, in part, because Chicago’s core players are younger than the Wainwright-Molina-Holliday core in St. Louis and that he was worried about the state of the team three or four years from now. Which, when you’re signing a long-term deal, seems significant.

In the wake of that, however, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny bristled, seemingly thinking that Heyward was making some sort of judgment about the Cardinals’ players rather than merely noting the obvious and incontrovertible fact of their biological age and the fact that every single player ages and, eventually, loses effectiveness. Matheny’s response would make sense if Heyward said that old guys suck or that the Cardinals’ old guys are somehow bad or whatever, but he didn’t do that at all.

Matheny isn’t the only one reacting curiously. Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright was on Bernie Miklasz’s radio show and was asked about Heyward’s comments. He decided to go in a different direction altogether: armchair psychology!

After noting that Heyward is a great player and was a great teammate in his time in St. Louis, he said that Heyward wasn’t just making a financial and competitive decision. He speculated that Heyward lacks a certain quality of leadership that would make him want to be a St. Louis Cardinal:

“[I]t really comes down to a personality trait to me. The person that we want to give that kind of money to, that big money to, he needs to be a person that wants to be the guy that carries the torch. He needs to be a guy that wants to be the person, that after we leave, he carries on the tradition. And that’s just a personality thing, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But we’re looking for that guy who wants to be the man.”

That passage is fun, suggesting that, really, the Cardinals didn’t want Heyward after all or are relieved that they didn’t get him now that he’s revealed himself not to “want to be the man.” Which may make Wainwright and the other Cardinals feel better, but management certainly wanted him or else they wouldn’t have offered him in excess of $184 million to stay.

This is all rather hilarious. You would think that Heyward’s own comments about why he didn’t take the Cardinals’ offer — the relative ages of the teams — would be taken at face value. Or, if we didn’t take that at face value that we’d next go to more objective factors such as the Cubs’ giving him an opt-out clause which the Cardinals appear not to have offered him (or at least have not been reported to have offered him). Or maybe he has his own reasons of which none of us are aware.

But no. Rather than accept that a grown man made a professional and personal decision which suited him and his interests, Adam Wainwright decides to play psychiatrist and diagnose Heyward with some combination of Dependent Personality Disorder or Imposter Syndrome. That’s a great look. Way better than doing what most players do when someone leaves a team and either wishes him well or refuses to comment on him because he’s not with the club anymore and no longer their concern.

Between this, Matheny’s comments and the reaction of some portions of the Cardinals fan base and commentariat I can’t recall a more emotional and, in some cases, ridiculous response to a rental player in a walk year deciding to sign elsewhere.