The Detroit Free Press is running an incredible three-part “final” interview this week with the late (and great) Ernie Harwell, who passed away on Tuesday at the age of 92. From the Free Press’ lead-in:
“Last fall, Free Press sports editor Gene Myers, photographer Mandi
Wright and picture editor Diane Weiss visited Ernie and Lulu Harwell at
their modest apartment in Fox Run Village, a retirement center in Novi.
Ernie had agreed to do a long interview, to be his last extensive
session with the local media.”
The first part is up on their website this morning. Part Two will run on Monday and Part Three on Tuesday. Harwell spent nearly his entire adult life around the game of baseball and has more anecdotes on America’s pastime than anyone could possibly take in all at once. The interviews are a must-read for any baseball fan, not just Tigers fans.
Free agent right-hander Ervin Santana picked up a minor league deal with the White Sox, according to various reports Friday. Per Bruce Levine of 670thescore.com, Santana will make $4.33 million if he manages to crack the major-league roster this spring. Any official confirmation from the team is still dependent on the results of a physical.
The veteran righty hasn’t seen any action in MLB for some time. He was laid low by prolonged discomfort in his right middle finger last spring, and underwent a capsular release/debridement procedure that kept him off the mound for all but 24 2/3 innings of his 2018 campaign with the Twins. When healthy, however, he’s been as durable and productive as they come. Santana earned his second career All-Star distinction in 2017 and pitched to a 16-8 record in 33 starts with three shutouts, a 3.28 ERA, 2.6 BB/9, 7.1 SO/9, and 2.9 fWAR through 211 1/3 innings.
Barring further complications with his pitching hand, the 36-year-old should be a stabilizing force for the White Sox’ rotation in 2019 — assuming he can beat out southpaw Manny Bañuelos and right-handers Jordan Stephens and Dylan Covey for a back-end role, that is. According to FanGraphs, the club’s starters ranked worst in the league in 2018 with a collective 5.07 ERA, 5.18 FIP, and 3.1 fWAR.