One of the things I love about the early hot stove season is the crazy trade talk. Once things get going hot and heavy in December people get realistic, but in the few days after a team is eliminated you get all kinds of insane speculation.
An excellent example of it comes in Jeff Schultz’s column at the AJC today. The overall point — should the Braves trade Jair Jurrjens? — is an interesting and valuable one. Maybe they should, if he’s not already seen as damaged goods. But the tag at the end of the piece is red meat for my crazy trade talk fixation:
I’ll leave you with this: Columbus, Ga., native and St. Louis center field Colby Rasmus clashed this season with manager Tony La Russa and
requested a trade two months ago. Would you be willing to part with
Jurrjens if he was part of a Rasmus trade?
The answer, yes. And I’d even be willing to throw in a couple hundred bucks to pay for the lobotomy that would be required for John Mozeliak to even consider it.
But the real beauty of that is the reference to Rasmus being from Columbus, Georgia. As if he’d have any real say in where he goes, thereby rendering the Braves a more likely target, even if the Cardinals were foolish enough to trade him. It’s that kind of little hook — geography usually, but sometimes a relationship with one of the target team’s coaches or something — that really makes the “hey, what the hell” trade speculation special.
I’m not trying to slam Schultz here. Fans and bloggers and stuff are way worse about coming up with silly trade scenarios. Just using his piece as an example of the stuff we can expect a flood of after the postseason is over. It’s what keeps us warm in the cold winter months, ya know?
After 16 years in the majors, longtime Tigers DH Victor Martinez capped his career with one final start at Comerica Park. Although there are seven games remaining in the club’s regular season schedule, Martinez said he felt he owed it to the fans to record his final at-bat at home. He’ll still cheer the rest of the team on from the dugout when they hit the road for their last six-game stretch on Monday, though he’s not expected to slot into the lineup at any point during their back-to-back away series against the Twins and Brewers.
In order to commemorate the occasion, the Tigers arranged a pregame ceremony to celebrate the veteran infielder’s seven years with the team, during which they presented him with Topps baseball cards, a recliner, a pair of boots, and a saddle, among other honors. Martinez also put in a special request to play first base, a position he hadn’t manned in over two years.
The 39-year-old didn’t waste a single minute of his final start in the majors. He deftly handled an inning-ending out in the top of the first, then laced a rare infield single to short in his first and final at-bat of the afternoon, beating the throw to first and advancing Nicholas Castellanos to second base in order to set up the Tigers’ first run: a two-out RBI single from Niko Goodrum that brought Castellanos home to score.
“I think that at-bat was the perfect at-bat to describe my career,” Martinez told reporters after the Tigers wrapped a 5-4 win over the Royals. “I had to sweat it out. I had to sweat it out the whole way. I had to grind it. That was my whole career.”
Following the hit — and the standing ovation that greeted it — the switch-hitter was promptly replaced by pinch-runner Ronny Rodriguez, who subbed in at second base in the top of the second while Goodrum shifted from second to first base. Taking Saturday’s performance into account, Martinez polished off his big league career with a lifetime .295/.360/.455 batting line, 423 doubles, 246 home runs, 1,178 RBI, and 28.4 fWAR across 1,973 games and three separate stints for the Indians, Red Sox, and Tigers. His accomplishments at the plate have been decorated with five All-Star nominations, two Silver Slugger Awards, and the designated hitter-exclusive Edgar Martinez Award following a career-best campaign in 2014.