Nick Markakis underwent fusion surgery today to repair a herniated disk in his neck. The doctor described he surgery as “a hot mess,” and that “God, I’ve never seen anything like it.” He then rocked slowly and muttered to himself with a vacant expression for an hour before collapsing in tears.
Wait, sorry. The surgery was deemed a success, as all surgeries are.
Markakis is expected to be able to begin baseball-related activities by mid-February and should begin failing to live up to the four-year contract the Braves gave him on schedule in April.
Tom Verducci’s Hall of Fame column has this fantastic anecdote from a conversation Verducci had with Pedro Martinez:
We were standing near the pitcher’s mound on a makeshift field where amateur players train in Santo Domingo in his native Dominican Republic. I was asking Martinez what it felt like on the days when he knew he had his best stuff. He motioned toward home plate and told me those are the days when the distance between the mound and the plate seemed to be shortened. And then a mischievous smile came over his face. “Then,” he said, “you are f—-d.”
There have been tons written about Pedro Martinez’s changeup, his fastball and his breaking ball. But I feel like if we could see how pitching looked from his perspective — heck, if we could only see one-tenth of what he saw in his prime — it would probably blow our minds.
Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports that there had been some strife between Wade Miley and the Arizona Diamondbacks regarding his conditioning and preparation prior to his being traded to the Boston Red Sox.
While noting that the Dbacks never intended to make this public, thus it’s not a case where the team is trying to bury a guy as he leaves, he does note the disagreement that talked to Miley about it, who is not exactly pleased:
Miley thinks it stems back to disagreements he had in the past with the team’s training staff, which he felt had a tendency to go overboard in its insistence on a healthy diet for players.
Miley doesn’t think there is anything wrong with his diet and believes his work ethic is where it needs to be.
This should all be in the past, now, as no one ever gets on players about their diet and stuff in Boston.
The Matt Kemp-to-the-Padres trade is not yet official. Why? The results of the physical have not yet been approved or rubberstamped or whatever one does with the results of physicals:
The chatter on this started a bit ago when Will Carroll of Bleacher Report tweeted this:
Others are saying that the Padres are optimistic that things are fine and want the deal to be done.
If, however, it’s not done for some reason, it could create a mess. Not only undoing the Matt Kemp trade, but also impacting the Jimmy Rollins deal too. Why? Because multiple reports have indicated that Zach Eflin, one of the prospects headed to Los Angeles in the Kemp deal, will then be traded to Philadelphia in the package that completes the Rollins deal.
So, we wait.
The Braves designated reliever Anthony Varvaro for assignment on Monday to make room for infielder Alberto Callaspo on the 40-man roster. Now it looks like they have a taker for him:
Varvaro has posted a 2.74 ERA in 123 appearances over the past two seasons. In 2014 the right-hander averaged 8.2 strikeouts per nine and only walked and 2.1 batters per nine, while inducing ground balls nearly 50% of the time. In short: he’s a pretty useful reliever.
In return, the Braves are getting minor league righty Aaron Kurcz and cash. Kurcz pitched pretty well in Double-A last year, striking out over 11 dudes per nine, but he missed all of 2013. Which, I presume anyway, means he had surgery of some kind.