Jim Leyland is a funny guy

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I’ve learned to more or less ignore the managerial availabilities here at the Winter Meetings because, let’s be honest, they’re 30 slightly different exercises in saying nothing. At least they are now that Ozzie Guillen is gone. Just the offseason version of “we gotta take ’em one day at a time” ManagerSpeak.

I went to Jim Leyland’s just now, though, because he makes me laugh.  And he didn’t disappoint.  The highlights:

  • Leyland was asked about Miguel Cabrera playing in the World Baseball Classic. Leyland said he’s not a fan of the WBC but “I support it because the Commissioner gets mad when I say I don’t support it.” Mr. Leyland, Commissioner Selig is on line two. I think you had better take it.
  • He was asked about the Tigers’ closer situation and didn’t tip the Tigers’ hand, but he did say “One thing you can say about Jose Valverde, he knows how to turn the page.”  After watching him pitch late in the season, I think that book is “Fifty Shades of Grey.”
  • Asked about the future of the Tigers, and how long until Avisail Garcia or Nick Castellanos may become regulars, he said “you know, that’s a very good question.” He didn’t answer it, but he did acknowledge that it was a good question.
  • Leyland asked who the team to beat is in the AL Central: “Hopefully the Tigers.”
  • On an actually substantive topic, he was asked about Gene Lamont becoming the bench coach. He said that Lamont’s knees were going and it’d be easier on him to be in the dugout rather than couching third. Color me dubious. Leyland has never had a need for a bench coach and you don’t move an effective third base coach if you can avoid it. Gotta figure this was devised to get a better third base coach without firing Leyland’s longtime compadre.
  • Leyland, when asked about getting over the World Series, said “you can’t chew yesterday’s breakfast.” People who follow Leyland closely are mostly surprised that he only used that phrase once.
  • Leyland apparently just attended his 50th high school reunion. He said he had a good time. He was asked about the women at the reunion: “They looked pretty good to me. I wonder how they thought old Jimbo looked.” When people laughed he noted that, back in high school, he was voted “Most Popular Boy” and said that if we didn’t believe him we could go look in his yearbook.
  • Finally, as Leyland’s presser was ending, Terry Francona walked over and hovered, waiting to sit down for his own press conference. The reporters flocked to Francona, leaving old Jimbo with a much smaller crowd than he started with.

“Most Popular Boy” my foot.

OK, back to the rumors and stuff.

Yoenis Cespedes may need season-ending surgery

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Yoenis Cespedes is facing potential season-ending surgery, the outfielder told reporters following the Mets’ 7-5 win over the Yankees on Friday. Newly-returned from the disabled list after rehabbing a hip flexor strain and quad tightness, Cespedes appeared to be back to his old self after going 2-for-4 with a walk, base hit, and home run (his ninth of the year) during Friday’s series opener, but later remarked that he was suffering from calcification in both of his heels.

The only remedy, it appears, is a surgery that would require anywhere from 8-10 months of recovery. Should he elect to undergo the procedure now, it goes without saying that he won’t be able to return to the field before end of the regular season. On the other hand, if he postpones the surgery until the offseason, he could miss the first half of the Mets’ run in 2019.

The pain doesn’t seem to be debilitating, at least for the time being, but Cespedes added that any discomfort in his heels causes him to stand, walk, and run differently, which presents a definite problem if the club intends to ramp up his workload going forward. The Mets have yet to announce a final decision regarding any surgical procedure, though they will bench the outfielder for Saturday’s matinee against the Yankees. Following yesterday’s impressive performance, Cespedes is currently batting .262/.325/.496 on the year with 15 extra-base hits, three stolen bases, and an .821 OPS through 157 PA.