Were you aware that David Eckstein was a short, scrappy winner?

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You would think that after ten seasons of people constantly writing some variation of the “David Eckstein may be small, but he’s a scrappy winner!” story, eventually newspapers would stop running it. You would think that, but you would be wrong. From the L.A. Times:

If David Eckstein  is right, if players like him are an endangered species because computer-generated calculations can’t quantify the value of hustling and the little things he does so well, baseball will be the poorer for it.

If there’s no room for someone like the San Diego Padres’ second baseman, the ultimate little guy with a big heart and a winning influence on every team whose dirt-stained uniform he has worn, the sport will lose a piece of its soul.

I realize that, blogging like I do, I have chained myself to the 10-minute Twitter-fed news cycle and thus many things in baseball about which more casual fans don’t yet know are old hat to me. But I don’t think I’m wrong in thinking that a lede like that in a David Eckstein story slipped into realm of parody a good five years ago. Really, if The Onion were to do a totally dry “Meet David Eckstein” story — with the joke being that we all met him a decade ago — it would start exactly like that.

At this point, rather than sit for the interview, Eckstein should just hand out a pre-printed list of his “I don’t listen to the scouts and the experts, I just go out and play” quotes and save himself a lot of time.

Colin Poche, Rays go to arbitration just $125,000 apart

Colin Poche torn UCL
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Reliever Colin Poche went to salary arbitration with the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday with the sides just $125,000 apart.

The gap between the $1.3 million the pitcher asked for and the $1,175,000 the team offered was the smallest among the 33 players who exchanged proposed arbitration figures last month. The case was heard by John Woods, Jeanne Vonhof and Walt De Treux, who will hold their decision until later this month.

A 29-year-old left-hander, Poche had Tommy John surgery on July 29, 2020, and returned to the major leagues last April 22 after six appearances at Triple-A Durham. Poche was 4-2 with a 3.99 ERA and seven saves in 65 relief appearances for the Rays. He struck out 64 and walked 22 in 58 2/3 innings.

Poche had a $707,800 salary last year.

Tampa Bay went to arbitration on Monday with reliever Ryan Thompson, whose decision also is being held until later this month. He asked for $1.2 million and the Rays argued for $1 million.

Rays right-hander Jason Adam and outfielder Harold Ramirez remain scheduled for hearings.

Players and teams have split four decisions thus far. All-Star pitcher Max Fried ($13.5 million) lost to Atlanta and reliever Diego Castillo ($2.95 million) was defeated by Seattle, while pitcher Jesus Luzardo ($2.45 million) and AL batting champion Luis Arraez ($6.1 million) both beat the Marlins.

A decision also is pending for Los Angeles Angels outfielder Hunter Renfroe.

Eighteen additional players are eligible for arbitration and hearings are scheduled through Feb. 17. Among the eligible players is Seattle utilityman Dylan Moore, who has a pending three-year contract worth $8,875,000.