Tag: John McDonald

Houston Astros v Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

John McDonald is retiring


I’m assuming he held the news a day so’s not to steal the thunder of the Hall of Famers, but journeyman infielder John McDonald has announced his retirement.

McDonald played for eight teams over a 16-year major league career [checks Baseball-Reference.com. Totally does a double take, realizing that, yes, McDonald was a 16-year big leaguer]. He lasted that long because, for most of his career, he was a downright spiffy defensive shortstop who could handle second, third and even play some outfield. There are a lot of guys who profile as utilitymen. Not many stick around as long as McDonald did. Keeping him from starting was a pretty poor bat, but nobody’s perfect.

So, so long, former Indian, Blue Jay, Diamondback, Pirate, Phillie, Red Sock, Angel and Tiger! Enjoy retirement.

Michael Brantley could return from concussion Saturday

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Indians outfielder Michael Brantley suffered a mild concussion on Monday evening when he banged his head and neck on the knee of Angels infielder John McDonald while trying to break up a doubleplay.

But he is expected to avoid the disabled list.

Indians manager Terry Francona told MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian on Wednesday that Brantley has been “passing tests each day” and could return to the starting lineup Saturday night against the Tigers. Brantley is expected to go through a workout Thursday to determine whether he’s fully symptom-free.

The 27-year-old has been a breakout star in the early going this season, boasting a .323/.391/.519 batting line with 11 home runs and 46 RBI in 69 games. Brantley has also tallied nine stolen bases in nine attempts.

Angels sign John McDonald

Arizona Diamondbacks v Philadelphia Phillies

John McDonald, who bounced around with four different teams last season, has signed a minor-league deal with the Angels. Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports that he’ll get a spring training invitation.

For years McDonald was a great enough defensive shortstop to offset his horrendous offense, or at least offset it enough to be a reasonable utility infielder. But now at age 39 it’s not clear if his glove is all that special any longer.

He hit .116 in 51 games last year and is a .235 career hitter with a .601 OPS.

Jonathan Papelbon compared the cultures of the Red Sox and Phillies

Jonathan Papelbon

Losing never feels good, even if you’re the most well-compensated player at your position. Following the conclusion of the 2011 season, the Phillies signed Jonathan Papelbon to the richest contract ever for a closer — a four-year, $50 million deal with a fifth-year option that can vest at an additional $13 million.

Papelbon has generally had good results, posting a 2.67 ERA in his two seasons with the Phillies, but he hasn’t been a beloved figure in Philadelphia the way he was in Boston. One reason is that Papelbon has been a rather outspoken critic of the Phillies. Last February, he said of the team’s clubhouse, “I haven’t seen any leadership.” In June, he questioned the team’s fundamentals. In July, he complained that he “definitely didn’t come [to Philadelphia] for this” after the Phillies lost their eighth game in a row.

On the air with WEEI’s Rob Bradford and guest host John McDonald on Thursday, Papelbon discussed the differences in culture between the two teams. He said:

“Look at the Red Sox last year. John [McDonald] will probably tell you the moment he walked into the Red Sox clubhouse there was an entirely different feel from when he left Philly. I’m not putting those words in John’s mouth by any means, but when you have a group of guys who go for 162 games plus spring training plus the playoffs, you have to have each other’s backs and know what he’s going to do before the next guy from you is going to do before he does it.”

Then he added:

 “Then I go to Philadelphia and it wasn’t necessarily that way, and I know that I’ve gotten a bad rap, some of the guys will say I’m not a good clubhouse guy because I’ll get upset and I’ll say something, but I’ve always said what’s on my mind. I don’t think I’ve ever shied away from my beliefs. But I think some of it reporters in Philly maybe take a little bit different because I was used to saying that, hey, this is how I feel, we’re not winning and I’m not happy.”

With the exception of Jimmy Rollins, who has drawn as much criticism in Philly as Papelbon for being willing to speak his mind, the Phillies have had a comparably quiet core of players, choosing to lead by example rather than by words. Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Cole Hamels, and Jayson Werth have all at one point or another been seen as a source of leadership on the team over the years and they’re not the type to be expressive on the field or through the media. It just doesn’t seem like Papelbon has fit in with the Phillies or in the city of Philadelphia at large.

That being said, the bigger concern is that he lost 3 MPH on his fastball since his last season with the Red Sox, which caused his strikeout rate to drop from an elite 34 percent to a pedestrian 22 percent. The Phillies can deal with a player who likes to talk a bit too much, but they cannot justify paying $26-39 million over the next two to three years to a player whose arm is on the way out.

The Rockies’ pursuit of Justin Morneau could “heat up” soon

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With Todd Helton now off to greener pastures, the Rockies need a new first baseman. You can expect them to start pursuing free agent Justin Morneau more heavily this week, tweets Troy Renck of the Denver Post. Morneau, now 32, was traded to the Pirates at the end of August after a 10 and a half year career with the Twins. He wasn’t particularly effective, mustering just a .681 OPS without hitting a home run in his month-plus with the Pirates.

Morneau has dealt with concussion issues since July 2010, when his head connected with then-Blue Jays second baseman John McDonald’s knee attempting to break up a double play. He missed the rest of the season, a total of 78 games. In late June 2011, he underwent surgery to address a herniated disc, knocking him out of another 55 games. He was shut down for the season at the end of August with an array of ailments, most importantly concussion symptoms that had flared up again. While he has played in at least 134 games in each of the past two seasons, he has been a shadow of his former self.

Colorado could be a good destination for Morneau, especially on a short-term deal. He would benefit from the hitter-friendly confines, which would allow him to rebuild his value and give him potentially one more chance to earn a nice contract before his career is over. In the event the Rockies don’t land Morneau, they consider James Loney their fallback option.