Jarrod Washburn could retire

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MLB_washburn.jpgIt’s not been a great offseason for Jarrod Washburn.  Rumored at various times to be going various places, Washburn still doesn’t have a job.  The two teams most prominently mentioned in Washburn rumors — the Twins and Mariners — don’t seem particularly interested in him.  In light of that, Jon Paul Morosi reports that Washburn may just hang it up:

So now what for Washburn?

It remains possible that Seattle or
Minnesota could boost its payroll by enough money to give Washburn an
enticing one-year offer. If that doesn’t happen, and if Washburn doesn’t want to play elsewhere, he has a third option.

Retirement.  It
sounds extreme, yes. But one major league source said Thursday that the
left-hander might decide to stay home in Wisconsin if he doesn’t get
the right offer from the right team.

I don’t know if Jarrod Washburn deserves a Major League job. He’s not as good as he looked in the first half of last year and he was pretty terrible for Detroit after the trade. He’s also reported to not be particularly motivated to play for anyone but Minnesota — where he lives — or Seattle, where he prospered.  It may just be the end of the line for him.

But I can’t help but wonder if one more factor is at play here, and that’s his agent. Fella by the name of Scott Boras, who doesn’t seem like he would be the best representation if you, like Washburn, were in a position where the difference between getting a job and not getting a job is your willingness to go to a team with hat in hands.

MLB executive: Bruce Maxwell’s kneeling may keep him from finding work, not his arrest

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In September 2017, former Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell became the first major league player to kneel during the national anthem, joining the handfuls of NFL players who had been doing the same to protest police brutality and racial inequality. Maxwell’s effort was laudable, but he got into trouble a month later when he was arrested for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and disorderly conduct. Maxwell allegedly pointed a gun at a food delivery person.

Maxwell, 27, played sparingly for the Athletics in 2018 and then was designated for assignment at the beginning of September. He officially became a free agent on November 2 and has had trouble finding work in the month-plus since.

Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Maxwell fired his agent, Matt Sosnick on Thursday because he’s still jobless. According to an unnamed MLB executive Slusser spoke to, “It’s the kneeling thing that might keep him from getting another job, not the arrest. Owners aren’t going to want to deal with that whole anthem issue.”

That makes a lot of since since abusive players haven’t had too much trouble finding new work otherwise. Addison Russell, Jeurys Familia, and José Reyes, among others have either stayed with their teams or quickly found new work. Given the relatively weak catching market, had Maxwell only had the assault charge, there is no doubt he would have been signed to be a backup catcher somewhere.

In the NFL, Colin Kaepernick — who popularized kneeling during the anthem — has remained unsigned even though teams have opted to sign and start clearly inferior quarterbacks like Mark Sanchez, Josh McCown, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jay Cutler, Matt Barkley, and Sam Bradford, among many others. Team owners tend to run conservative in terms of politics, so they may not like the protest to begin with, then there is the public blowback to signing such a player as those who dislike such protesting make up a slight majority in the U.S., according to various polls including one done by the Washington Post.

It’s worth noting that Maxwell has a career .240/.314/.347 triple-slash line in 412 plate appearances. We’re not talking about J.T. Realmuto or Buster Posey here. That being said, there have been 15 other catchers to have put up a lower aggregate OPS since 2016 (min. 400 PA). One of those players, Derek Norris (.600 OPS since 2016), signed a minor league contract with the Tigers just three months after being suspended by Major League Baseball for violating its domestic violence policy. Makes you think.