Padres hold second private workout with Yasmany Tomas; Yankees probably not interested

35 Comments

Couple of updates here on the developing market for Cuban defector Yasmany Tomas, who was declared eligible for free agency late last week by MLB …

Ben Badler of Baseball America reports that the Padres held a second private workout with Tomas on Wednesday in the Dominican Republic. The first was last Friday. Both of these workouts were attended by new Padres GM A.J. Preller, who also scouted the 23-year-old corner outfielder at his open showcase on September 20. That means Preller has seen Tomas three different times in about three weeks.

Tomas is thought to be seeking more than $100 million and the Padres don’t often spend big, but perhaps team ownership has opened up the purse strings a bit for Preller. San Diego is in desperate need of a long-term power bat, and Tomas probably fits that mold better than anyone on the market this winter.

George A. King III of the New York Post, meanwhile, is hearing that the Yankees do not plan to seriously pursue Tomas. They’re committed to a starting outfield of Brett Gardner, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Carlos Beltran, and the designated hitter spot should be filled next season by Alex Rodriguez.

Tomas has done other private workouts in the Dominican with the Rangers and Phillies.

Barry Zito rooted against his own team in the 2010 World Series

Getty Images
6 Comments

Retired big league pitcher Barry Zito has a memoir coming out. Much of it will likely track the usual course of an athlete’s memoir. The thrill of victory, the agony of defeat and a few fun and/or sad and/or thoughtful anecdotes along the way. One bit of it, though, is not the stuff of the usual athlete memoir.

He writes that he ctually rooted against the San Francisco Giants — his own team —  in the 2010 World Series. He did so because he was left off the postseason roster, felt miserable about it and let his ego consume him. From the San Francisco Chronicle:

“It was really hard to admit . . . I rooted against the team because my ego was in full control and if we lost then I could get out of there . . . It would a) prove they couldn’t do it without me, and b) take me out of the situation because I was so miserable coming to the field every day. I was so deep in shame. I wanted out of that situation so bad.”

Zito at that point was midway through a seven-year, $126 million contract he signed with the Giants after the 2006 season. Almost as soon as he signed it he transformed from one of the better pitchers in the game — he had a 124 ERA+ in eight seasons with the Oakland Athletics and won the 2002 Cy Young Award — to being a liability for the Giants. Indeed, he only had one season in San Francisco where, again, by ERA+, he was a league-average starter or better. In 2010 he went 9-14 with a 4.15 ERA and was way worse than that down the stretch. It made perfect sense for the Giants to leave him off the 2010 postseason roster. And, of course, it worked out for them.

Things would improve. He’d still generally struggle as a Giant, but in 2012 he was a hero of the NLCS, pitching the Giants past the Cardinals in a must-win game. He then got the Game 1 start in the World Series and beat Justin Verlander as the Giants won that game and then swept the Tigers out of the series. As time went on he’d fine more personal happiness as well. When his contract ended following the 2013 season Zito took out a full-page ad in the San Francisco Chronicle thanking Giants fans for their support. He’d leave the game in 2014 and pitch three more games for the Athletics in 2015 before retiring for good.

Not many baseball memoirs deliver hard truths like Zito’s appears willing to do. That’s pretty damn brave of him. And pretty damn admirable.