Lefty Dallas Braden tossed a perfect game against the Rays on Mother’s Day — May 9, 2010. He finished the year with a 3.50 ERA in 192.2 innings, ranking as a solid #3 option in the Athletics’ rotation behind Gio Gonzalez and Trevor Cahill. Following surgery on the anterior capsule in his left shoulder in 2011, and surgery to mend a partial tear of his rotator cuff in 2012, Braden hasn’t tossed a pitch in professional ball since April 16, 2011.
Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Braden plans to hold a showcase for interested parties in January in the hopes of attempting a comeback. We have seen pitchers come back in strong form even after spending a year or more out of pro baseball. Scott Kazmir bounced back with the Indians last season after a year in the independent league, and Ryan Vogelsong had a rebirth with the Giants after a three-year gap in his professional career.
Ken Rosenthal and Josh Tolentino of The Athletic report that Rays starter Blake Snell has switched agencies, going from Apex Baseball to Boras Corporation. Snell is currently signed to a five-year, $50 million contract and will be under contract through 2023.
Snell found himself in hot water two weeks ago when he said on his Twitch stream that he wouldn’t risk his life to play baseball during a pandemic while receiving significantly reduced pay. Some described Snell as tone deaf for saying, “I gotta get my money. I’m not playing unless I get mine, okay?”
Boras represents many of baseball’s highest-paid players, including Gerrit Cole and Bryce Harper. Snell is not likely to win over any of the people he recently irritated by appearing to go after more money by hiring the highest-profile agent. What often goes unsaid is that players have a very limited window in which to use their elite athletic skills to make money.
Snell won the 2018 AL Cy Young Award, going 21-5 with a 1.89 ERA and a 221/64 K/BB ratio over 180 2/3 innings. He did not have nearly the same success last year, going 6-8 with a 4.29 ERA and a 147/40 K/BB ratio in 107 innings.