Dusty Baker: “I’ve been getting hate mail, racial mail … all sorts of references to Barack Obama”

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Regardless of what you think of Dusty Baker as a baseball manager and whether or not you agree with the Reds’ decision to fire him today, this report from Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com is sad/depressing:

Baker quite likely started to sense that maybe his time was up in Cincinnati. Maybe that’s why he said what he said. “The last couple weeks, I’ve been getting a rash of hate mail, racial mail,” he said. “Maybe it is time to go.”

“This is really ugly,” he said. “There are all sorts of references to Barack Obama. So now I know where they are coming from. I don’t know, maybe people are mad at him, so they don’t like the idea of blacks in authority.”

Ultimately the Reds fired Baker because his teams didn’t have enough playoff success and he clashed with upper management on some key topics, which Heyman details in his article. However, setting aside all the baseball stuff and focusing more on the human being stuff … man, that’s really discouraging.

Cardinals extend José Martínez through 2020

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First baseman/outfielder José Martínez agreed to a two-year contract extension with the Cardinals on Saturday, per a team announcement. MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reports that Martínez will receive $3.25 million in the deal plus incentives if he earns a more stable place within the starting lineup.

Martínez, 30, played 887 games in the minors before making his major-league debut with the Cardinals at the tail end of the 2016 season. The veteran first baseman has been nothing but productive in the three years since his debut, however, and turned in a career-best performance in 2018 after slashing .305/.364/.457 with 17 home runs, an .821 OPS, and 2.3 fWAR through 590 plate appearances. While he brings some positional flexibility to the table, he’ll be forced to compete against Dexter Fowler and Tyler O'Neill for a full-time gig in right field this year, as Paul Goldschmidt currently has a lock on first base.

According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the extension wasn’t solely precipitated by Martínez’s productivity in the majors, but by a competing offer from an unnamed Japanese team over the offseason. Goold adds that Martínez would have earned “significantly more than he would in the majors” had the club sold his rights. In the end, they ultimately elected to ink him to a more lucrative deal themselves. He’ll be eligible for arbitration in 2020.