It’s well known that the Yankees have a strict team policy regarding facial hair, but their players are still allowed to grow mustaches. They are taking advantage of it in a big way this season, with Brett Gardner, Dellin Betances, Jacoby Ellsbury, Chase Headley, and Brian McCann among those sporting ‘staches or at least their best attempt at one. However, a certain someone has yet to participate. Could that change?
Rodriguez is off to a strong start after his year-long PED suspension, batting .269/.424/.558 with four home runs and 11 RBI over 16 games, but growing a mustache would pretty much clinch the AL Comeback Player of the Year Award for him, no? It’s of utmost importance that this happens. We here at HardballTalk wish Gardner luck in his efforts.
Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca reports that the Blue Jays have released left-hander Ricky Romero.
It looked like the Blue Jays had one of the best young left-handed pitchers in the game after Romero compiled a 3.60 (119 ERA+) across his first three seasons in the majors, but his career veered off track after 2011 due to control problems and knee issues. He led the American League in walks in 2012 while posting a 5.77 ERA over 32 starts and hasn’t appeared in the majors since 2013.
With less than two years of service time, Romero signed a five-year, $30.1 million extension with the Blue Jays in August of 2010. This is the final guaranteed year of the deal. It had the potential to be a team-friendly deal, as most extensions with young players are, but Romero’s fall is a reminder that there’s always some risk involved.
Matt Albers is off to a nice start as a member of the White Sox bullpen after missing most of 2014 due to shoulder problems, but JJ Stankevitz of CSNChicago.com reports that he’s headed to the 15-day disabled list with a finger injury suffered during Thursday’s benches-clearing brawl with the Royals.
The specific diagnosis is a compression fracture of a finger on his throwing hand. White Sox general manager Rick Hahn is hopeful the injury won’t keep him sidelined for long, but there’s no clear timetable for his return.
Albers, 32, has allowed one run on four hits and one walk over 5 2/3 innings this season to go along with five strikeouts.
The Josh Hamilton trade between the Angels and Rangers isn’t official yet, but Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News has some details on the specifics. The upshot? The Rangers will only be responsible for less than $7 million over the next three years and their commitment could end up being less than that.
In order to satisfy the Players Association, which tries to ensure maximum value of contracts for its players, Hamilton will also be given an opt-out clause after two years, sources said. That qualifies as an “extra benefit” for the player that would allow some modification of the deal. If he were to opt out, the Rangers commitment would be reduced further to perhaps less than $5 million.
Hamilton began this season with about $80.2 million remaining on his contract. The Angels are reportedly willing to cover $68 million of his remaining salary in order to turn the page on the situation. Meanwhile, Hamilton has agreed to forfeit $6 million as part of the trade, but it basically works out as a wash due to the difference in state income tax.
This is a no-brainer deal for the Rangers, who could be getting a bargain in Hamilton if he proves to be anything close to a productive player coming back from his relapse and shoulder surgery. While his tenure with the Angels will be viewed as a disappointment, he had a 110 OPS+ from 2013-2014. He could thrive in his return to Texas. The baseball aspect aside, it should also help to be back in a supportive environment.
Good news here for the Nationals, as third baseman Anthony Rendon began a minor league rehab assignment with Double-A Harrisburg last night as he works his way back from a medial collateral ligament sprain in his left knee.
Rendon, who hurt his knee on a diving play in early March, played five innings at third base last night and went 1-for-2 with a double. He told James Wagner of the Washington Post that the pain is gone in his knee and he’s now trying to shake the rust and make up for lost time.
“Everything is good,” he said. “Getting back into the swing of things and trying to feel comfortable.”
Rendon will play seven innings today before getting the day off Sunday. He’ll then play seven innings again before staying in for a full game. He could be ready to join the Nationals for the start of a four-game series against the Mets next Thursday at Citi Field.
The Nationals weren’t at full strength to begin the year and have sputtered to a 7-10 start, but getting Rendon back in the lineup will be a big lift. While he didn’t get as much attention as he deserved, he proved to be the team’s most valuable player last season by batting .287/.351/.473 with 21 home runs, 83 RBI, and 17 stolen bases.