On Monday a reporter in the Dominican Republic claimed that Yordano Ventura was alive immediately after his automobile accident and that he was robbed as he lay dying. The report was given wide dissemination by Pedro Martinez, who tweeted about it. Today the Kansas City Star reports that this claim, never confirmed by authorities, is not true.
Ventura died instantly, the Star reports, relaying that the coroner who examined Ventura told the Royals that he died on impact. What’s more, several items of jewelry, collected from the scene of the accident, were given directly to Ventura’s family by officials. His World Series ring was not among the personal effects, but it was not known if he had the ring with him at the time of the accident. One suspects that the presence of a World Series ring was assumed and its absence formed the basis of the now refuted report.
Thank goodness the initial report was unfounded. It’s a bad enough world and a bad enough story without further ugliness adding to it.
Around this time last year, the ink was drying on Manny Machado‘s 10-year, $300 million contract with the Padres and Bryce Harper was about to put the finishing touches on his 13-year, $330 million deal with the Phillies. We had gotten used to premier free agents hanging out in limbo until late February and even into March. This past offseason, however, was a return to normal. The top three free agents — Gerrit Cole, Anthony Rendon, and Stephen Strasburg — all signed in December. Once the big names are off the board, the lesser free agents subsequently tend to find homes. There were a handful of noteworthy signings in January, but pretty much everyone was off the board when February began.
There are a handful of free agents remaining as I write this, with one name really sticking out: Yasiel Puig. Last season, between the Reds and Indians, Puig hit .267/.327/.458 with 24 home runs, 84 RBI, 76 runs scored, and 19 stolen bases in 611 plate appearances. He was one of only seven players in the league last year to hit at least 24 home runs and swipe at least 19 bases. While Puig has had some problems over the years, he still possesses a rare blend of power and speed that would seem useful.
The Marlins, White Sox, and Rockies have been linked to Puig this offseason. His market has been otherwise quiet since he became a free agent. The Athletic’s Jim Bowden suggests Puig will have to settle for a “pillow contract” — a one-year deal with which Puig reestablishes his market value, aiming to pursue a multi-year deal the following offseason. Along with the aforementioned three teams, Bowden suggests the Mariners, Indians, Pirates, Giants, Red Sox, and Cardinals as other teams that could potentially fit with Puig, which is not to be confused with teams having expressed interest in his services.