Earlier, following Derek Norris’ denial of his ex-fiancee’s domestic violence accusation, I said that we’re not likely to hear any more about this until MLB completes its investigation. That’s not the case. This afternoon his ex-fiancee, Kristen Eck, wrote a blog post recounting the specifics of the incident she first alluded to on her Instagram page.
The short version: Eck alleges that, on the night of October 20, 2015, she woke up to find Norris on the phone with another woman. Eck took the phone away from Norris to try to confront the other woman over the phone. Norris, she claims, approached her from behind and put her in a choke hold. Then, she alleges, when she tried to get away, he grabbed her by the back of her hair to pull her back to him and then held her by her upper arms as “he tried to drunkenly explain that he wasn’t talking to another female.”
Eck says she went to her parents’ house after that and returned to the home she shared with Norris a week later. By then, she says, the relationship had changed and she fell into depression and anxiety. Eventually, the relationship ended. Eck concludes by saying that she is sharing her story now in order to send a message to other victims of domestic violence that they are not alone.
This is certainly escalating in a very public way.
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.