Scott Boras can't be serious

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When Scott Boras talks, people listen. Take the winter meetings, for instance.
He’s bombastic. He’s outrageous. And sometimes he’s very close to
pushing his luck. The Yankees recently acquired the younger and
more-athletic Curtis Granderson in a blockbuster three-team trade,
providing general manager Brian Cashman with some flexibility in
negotiations for veteran free agent outfielder Johnny Damon. You
wouldn’t know it if you talked to Boras.




According to the New York Daily News, Boras told the Yankees to “not bother” tendering an offer to Damon unless it was for at least three years and no less than the $13 million salary he earned in 2009.
Obviously, the Yankees have no intention of granted the 36-year-old
Damon a three-year contract, and Boras can’t realistically expect him
to find one in free agency. It’s a rather obvious stunt.




So far, the Yankees have told Boras
they would like to bring Damon back, but they’ve drawn the line at two
years at around $8 million per season. Bobby Abreu’s recent two-year,
$19 million contract with the Angels seems like a fair compromise of
terms, but if Boras keeps pushing it, the Bombers will have no
qualms about moving forward.

Reds having Michael Lorenzen prepare as a two-way player

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For decades, a legitimate “two-way player” — a player who functions as both a pitcher and as a position player — was nothing but a fantasy. The skill sets required for both are too distinct and require too much prep work, it was thought. The Angels’ Shohei Ohtani shattered that illusion in 2018, posting a .925 OPS in 367 plate appearances as a hitter while posting a 3.31 ERA in 51 2/3 innings as a pitcher.

Since then, several more players have been considered in two-way roles. The Rangers signed Matt Davidson earlier this month and could potentially use him as a corner infielder as well as a reliever. Also earlier this month, James Loney signed with the independent Atlantic League’s Sugar Land Skeeters, who plan to use him as both a first baseman and as a pitcher.

You can add Michael Lorenzen of the Reds to that list. MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon reports that the Reds will have Lorenzen prepare this spring as a two-way player. He could both start and relieve while occasionally playing in the outfield. Lorenzen, in fact, took batting practice with the outfielders on Thursday. Previously, he had taken batting practice as extra work following a workout with fellow pitchers.

Lorenzen said, “It’s fantastic, the effort they’re putting in. A lot of the excuses were, ‘You know, we don’t want to overwork him.’ Well, let’s just sit down and talk about it then. They were willing to sit down and talk about it, which is one of the reasons why I love this staff so much and why I think the front office did a great job [hiring] this staff. They’re willing to find solutions for problems.”

New manager David Bell said, “We’ve put together a plan for the whole spring, knowing we can adjust it at any time. We didn’t want to go into each day not knowing what he’s going to do. We all felt better, he did, too. He was part of putting it together.”

Lorenzen, 27, pitched 81 innings last year with a 3.11 ERA and a 54/34 K/BB ratio. He’s one of baseball’s best-hitting pitchers as well. Last year, he swatted four homers and knocked in 10 runs in 34 trips to the plate. The last pitcher to hit at least four homers in a season was the Giants’ Madison Bumgarner, who did it in both 2014 (four) and 2015 (five). Lorenzen also posted a 1.043 OPS. According to Baseball Reference, there have been only 11 pitchers to OPS over 1.000 (min. 30 PA). The only ones to do it in the 2000’s are Lorenzen last year, Micah Owings in 2007 (1.033) and Dontrelle Willis in 2011 (1.032).