Report: The Yankees sign Randy Winn

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Joel Sherman reports. One year deal. Sherman says it’s for that last $2 million that Johnny Damon couldn’t stoop to take.

I suppose there are ways the Yankees could rub Johnny Damon and Scott Boras’ face in it more than they already have today, but I’m struggling to imagine how.  Signing Canseco, maybe?  Ruben Rivera? Ronan Tynan?

As for Winn, he had 790 OPSs and played good right field defense in 2007 and 2008, but fell all of
the way to .262/.318/.353 last season. What’s worse is that while he’s a switch hitter, he hit.158/.184/.200 in 125 plate appearances vs lefties last year, which is the single worst split since at least 1954 (Retrosheet doesn’t have data before then) (thanks to Jay Jaffe for that tidbit).

Ultimately Winn is a bench player who could back up Nick Swisher and whoever gets the left field job (though if he brings anything different to the table than does Brett Gardner I’m struggling to see what it is).  He’s also taking up the last Yankee roster spot into which Johnny Damon could have dreamed of falling.  UPDATE: Wow, even Heyman has written Damon off.

Alex Bregman shows how easy it is to manufacture “controversy” in baseball

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In most sports it takes legitimate trash talk to create off-day “controversy.” In baseball, it takes the weakest sauce. We saw how weak that sauce was yesterday.

Alex Bregman and the Houston Astros are going to face off against Nate Eovaldi and the Boston Red Sox in Game 3 of the ALCS tonight. It’s worth noting that earlier this season, they hit back-to-back-to-back home runs off of Eovaldi when he was pitching for the Tampa Bay Rays.

Yesterday, in an act which was likely somewhat inspired by self-motivation, somewhat inspired by getting in Eovaldi’s head and somewhat inspired by a simple interest in having fun, Bregman took the video of those back-to-back-to-back homers off of Eovaldi and posted it to his Instagram:

Of course, since this is baseball, where even farting off-key can be construed as “showing up” the opposition or somehow disrespecting the game, it became a thing. Or at least people tried to make it become a thing.

Indeed, it took them a bit to find someone who would help them make it a thing, because Eovaldi himself didn’t care about it a bit, nor did Astros manager A.J. Hinch or Red Sox manager Alex Cora. Eventually, however, they hit pay dirt. Here’s Sox infielder Steve Pearce talking to WEEI.com:

“Wow. I don’t know why he would do that. We do our talking on the field. If he wants to run his mouth now we’ll see who is talking at the end of the series.”

My guess is that almost no one on the planet, Steve Pearce included, would care about this in a vacuum or if they allowed themselves to think through it for more than a second. Baseball culture, though — and let’s be clear about it, baseball media culture — has conditioned most of its players and participants to think that stuff like this is supposed to be controversial, so it actually takes effort not to start dancing to this kind of tune on auto-pilot.

Kudos to Hinch, Cora and Eolvaldi for exerting that effort and not dancing to it. To the press that automatically sought out comment on this and Pearce who dutifully gave it: hey, I get it. It’s hard to resist one’s conditioning. Maybe you’ll be able to resist it next time.