Welcome to St. Jetersburg

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The New York Times has a feature on the outrageously large house Derek Jeter has built down in Tampa. Cost?! No man can say!

The 30,875-square-foot mansion, which overlooks Hillsborough Bay, features seven bedrooms, nine bathrooms, a pool, two boat lifts, a drive-through portico and a pair of three-car garages flanking the north and south ends of the property.

Look, I know he has more money than God and is the biggest star in baseball over the past 20 years or so, but on what planet does a single guy with no kids need a 30,875-square-foot mansion?

Sometimes my wife and I play the “what would we do if we won $200 million in the Powerball” game.  It almost always involves a relatively human-scale yet fortified compound that is generally hidden from civilization.

Why anyone would want to build a giant, gleaming white house that fronts a public thoroughfare like Jeter’s does is beyond me. But it certainly does make all of the “Derek Jeter is a humble and private man” stuff that tends to get written about him seem rather silly. He can do whatever he wants, of course, but  there is nothing at all private or humble about this Xanadu he has constructed.

Rays sign lefty Ryan Merritt to a minor league deal

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The Tampa Bay Rays have signed lefty swingman Ryan Merritt to a minor league contract. Nah, it’s not a big signing but we’ll take anything today.

Merritt, who has spent his entire career in the Indians organization, spent the entire 2018 season at Triple-A Columbus. It wasn’t a bad year for him — he posted a 3.79 ERA and a 52/2 K/BB ratio in 13 starts and two relief appearances covering 71.1 innings — but the Tribe just couldn’t find a role for him at the big league level. He has shown in the past, however, that he can hack it in the bigs, having posted a 1.71 ERA in 31.2 innings with the Indians between 2016-2017.

His thing is that he simply doesn’t strike guys out at anything approaching a typical clip for a big leaguer: 3.7 per nine innings in his small sample of major league outings and 6.3 Ks per nine innings in the minors. Which, while it may not prevent him from having success at the big league level, is likely a reason for the limited number of chances he’s been given.

The Rays are probably the best place he could go, frankly. They’ve shown themselves willing to utilize guys in unique ways and are more likely than most teams to find places to spot a lefty control specialist who has shown he can both start and come out of the pen.