Craig Calcaterra

Allen Craig

The Red Sox are in “active talks” with someone about trading Allen Craig

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Who? I dunno. And neither does Jon Morosi, but he says it’s happening:

This is in contrast to yesterday’s report from Jerry Crasnick of ESPN that there was “nothing brewing” regarding Craig.

It still seems like, if they can find even a bit of room for him, the Sox would do better to let him show the world he’s healthy before selling low on him after his disastrous 2014 season. At least let him run around in spring training a bit, ya know?

Must-Click Link: Tyler Kepner salutes Sy Berger and baseball cards of the 1980s

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This column by Tyler Kepner of the New York Times is a must-read for anyone around my age or a bit younger. As it is, Kepner is two years younger than me and what he writes today is 100% on-point with my feeling and history with baseball cards in the 1970s and 80s.

The jumping off point is the death of Sy Berger, the longtime Topps employee who more or less invented modern baseball cards with the release of the 1952 set and beyond. Kepner notes just how important these cards were to young baseball fans and, in many ways, helped create baseball fans. In my case I can’t remember which came first, actually: the cards or watching the game? One certainly reinforced my love for the other, but I could not tell you which was the first mover.

I still have tens of thousands of cards. Most of them the worthless but charming as all get-out cards of the 80s, with a healthy amount of 1970s and a handful of early 90s thrown in. Kepner’s description of what it was like for people our age to collect and what the cards meant to us is absolutely perfect.

And, by way of some older baseball card content, my brother once got me the 1973 Topps set for Christmas. I wrote about that here and then, a couple of says later, wrote about the silly little cartoons on the back of every one. Enjoy.

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves on the United States’ conquest of baseball in Cuba

Cake
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The move to normalize U.S.-Cuba relations was announced a bit over 24 hours ago. In that time, U.S. baseball fans and writers have metaphorically carved up Cuba for the United States’ own baseball purposes. It’s almost like that’s what led to the revolution in the first place, ya know?

source:

Yes, I know things will change. Cuban players will come here in greater numbers. U.S. players may, once again, play in Cuba, be it in a winter league or a minor league team or what have you. There will certainly be an opening up of some kind.

But the talk of a draft of Cuban players, which I’m skeptical the Cuban government would allow, or wholesale free agency which neither MLB nor the Cuban government likely wants is premature at best. The talk about actually expanding into Cuba one day — Buster’s column today talks about that, even going so far as to have a guy create a logo — is almost silly. As friend-of-HBT Mark Armour notes, the average salary in Cuba is $22 a month. Major League Baseball turned-tail from Montreal and worries that places like Las Vegas and Portland won’t support a team. So, sure, they’re gonna run to expand to a place where a lot of people make less than the cost of helmet nachos as their monthly income.

No one knows what’s going to happen with baseball in Cuba. But before we start to speculate, it’s probably worth remembering that the country is poor. And that it’s still run by a communist regime whose very existence was predicated on a lot of people down there getting really pissed and resentful about U.S. companies coming down there, taking its resources and treating it like their little tropical playground.

The future of the Rays in St. Petersburg could be decided today

Tropicana Field
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We’ve talked about the deal reached between the Rays and the City of St. Petersburg which would allow the Rays to look outside of the city at new stadium sites. The deal requires city council approval, however, and that will be voted on today at a meeting that takes place at 3pm.

Is it a slam dunk? Not necessarily, the Tampa Bay Times reports that “several city business leaders have said it is a poor deal for the city and planned to lobby council members to vote it down.” The mayor has told the city, however, that if the deal is not approved, the Rays will likely be sold and it’s quite likely that any sale of the team would involve it moving to another city. The Rays’ owner has said as much himself. It’s unclear if that’s just pressure placed on city council or a legitimate statement of intent.

We’ll know soon.

Kenta Maeda will not be posted

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Jim Allen of the Kyodo News reports that the Hiroshima Carp have informed right-handed starter Kenta Maeda that he will not be posted this offseason.

Maeda, 26, had a 2.56 ERA and a 154/40 K/BB ratio in 179 innings this season for the Hiroshima Carp. He is not the hardest thrower around — low 90s is where he tops out — but he profiles as a back-of-the-rotation starter at the moment. Many thought this may be the year he would be allowed to come to play in the U.S. but, welp, no.

He will be an unrestricted free agent after the 2017 season.