A nation mourns Derek Jeter’s tragic, heroic calf strain

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There are, like, two dozen injury stories a week. Seriously, go back through the HBT archives and you’ll see that a huge percentage of our minor posts are this guy straining that muscle and this or that body part being sore.  It’s easily the most rote kind of post we or anyone else who writes about baseball does because it’s just matter-of-fact news, rarely with any serious potential to impact the general narrative.

But when it’s Derek Jeter, boy howdy, are things different. At least to Ian O’Connor of ESPN New York, who writes about Jeter’s Grade 1 calf strain like it was the bullet that took out the Archduke Ferdinand.

After an opening paragraph that cited an unwritten pact of honor Jeter has with Yankees fans and a second paragraph with the now de riguer Joe DiMaggio comparison, O’Connor cites all of Jeter’s past glories, in which he selflessly put himself before his team, with the ultimate price being paid by his body finally — tragically — breaking down.  Get your hankies out folks:

… if Jeter were available to comment after his MRI he surely would’ve said he would return to the lineup the only way he knows how—ASAP. No captain who busted up his cover-boy face on a teeth-first dive into the stands against Boston in 2004 and then played against the Mets the following night would ever allow a silly little calf strain to keep him down for long … It was something that reminded all witnesses of Jeter’s extensive wear and tear, and of a noble willingness to play hurt that reminded Monahan of certified ruffians the likes of Thurman Munson.

Grade 1 calf strain, dude. Really.

I know O’Connor just wrote a book about Jeter and likely still has stars in his eyes and everything, but save the purple prose for Jeter taking a gunshot wound or dying young of typhus or something.

Yankees trade Sonny Gray to the Reds

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The deal was much talked about all weekend and now the deal is done: The Cincinnati Reds gave acquired starter Sonny Gray and lefty Reiver Sanmartin from the Yankees in exchange for second base prospect Shed Long and a 2019 competitive balance pick.

The key to making the deal happen: Gray agreeing to a a three-year, $30.5 million contract extension. The Reds will likewise hold a $12 million club option for 2023. The deal had been struck and a window granted through close of business today to get Gray to agree to the extension and, obviously, he has.

The Reds will get a pitcher coming off of a bad season in which he posted a disappointing 4.90 ERA in 23 starts and seven relief appearances. He was hammered particularly hard in Yankee Stadium but pitched better on the road. Great American Ballpark is not a great pitcher’s park itself but any change of scenery would be nice for Gray, who had become much unwanted and unloved in New York. In Cincinnati he has the assurance of a spot in the rotation and, even better for him, he will be reunited with his college pitching coach, Derek Johnson, who joined new manager David Bell’s Reds staff earlier this offseason. If he bounces back even a little bit, the Reds will have a useful starter at a below market price for four years. If he doesn’t, well, they haven’t exactly gone bankrupt taking the chance.

The Reds will also get Reiver Sanmartin, 22, who started in the Rangers system before being traded to the Yankees. He’s a soft-tosser who figures to be a reliever if he makes the big leagues. He played at four different levels last season, with one game at Double-A and the rest below that, posting a composite 2.80 ERA in 10 starts and 13 overall appearances while striking out 7.8 batters per nine.

The Yankees will get Shed Long, who is ranked as the Reds’ seventh best prospect. The 23-year old second baseman hit .261/.353/.412 at Double-A in 2018 and has hit very close to that overall line for his entire six-year minor league career. He strikes out a bit and may not stick at second base long term, shifting to a corner outfield slot perhaps, but he’s a legitimate prospect.

The Reds get another starter with some upside. The Yankees get rid of a problem and gain a prospect and a draft pick. Sonny Gray gets some job and financial security at a time when it is not at all clear what his future holds. Not a bad baseball trade.

UPDATE: Welp, the Yankees don’t have a prospect anymore. They just traded long to the Mariners for outfielder Josh Stowers. Stowers was a second-round pick in last year’s draft. He’s 21 and batted .260/.380/.410 with five homers and 20 steals over 58 games in Short-Season ball in 2018. He’s ranked by MLB.com as the Mariners’ No. 10 prospect, but now he’s New York bound.