Nationals “have significant interest” in Oliver Perez

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At this point the Nationals have been linked to basically every free agent reliever who throws the ball left-handed and the latest is Oliver Perez, with Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reporting that they “have significant interest.”

Perez was awful in 2009 and 2010, and then out of the majors completely in 2011, but since shifting to the bullpen for the Mariners in 2012 he’s thrown 83 innings with a 3.16 ERA and 98 strikeouts.

But here’s the funny thing: Perez pitched for the Nationals at Double-A in 2011, starting 15 games with a 3.09 ERA and 58/27 K/BB ratio in 76 innings, but they let him go. And then the Mariners turned him into a valuable reliever.

Sandy Koufax to be honored with statue at Dodger Stadium

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Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports that Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax will be honored with a statue at Dodger Stadium, expected to be unveiled in 2020. Dodger Stadium will be undergoing major renovations, expected to cost around $100 million, after the season. Koufax’s statue will go in a new entertainment plaza beyond center field. The current statue of Jackie Robinson will be moved into the same area.

Koufax, 83, had a relatively brief career, pitching parts of 12 seasons in the majors, but they were incredible. He was a seven-time All-Star who won the National League Cy Young Award three times (1963, ’65-66) and the NL Most Valuable Player Award once (’63). He contributed greatly to the ’63 and ’65 championship teams and authored four no-hitters, including a perfect game in ’65.

Koufax was also influential in other ways. As Shaikin notes, Koufax refused to pitch Game 1 of the 1965 World Series to observe Yom Kippur. It was an act that would attract national attention and turn Koufax into an American Jewish icon.

Ahead of the 1966 season, Koufax and Don Drysdale banded together to negotiate against the Dodgers, who were trying to pit the pitchers against each other. They sat out spring training, deciding to use their newfound free time to sign  on to the movie Warning Shot. Several weeks later, the Dodgers relented, agreeing to pay Koufax $125,000 and Drysdale $110,000, which was then a lot of money for a baseball player. It would be just a few years later that Curt Flood would challenge the reserve clause. Koufax, Drysdale, and Flood helped the MLB Players Association, founded in 1966, gain traction under the leadership of Marvin Miller.