We’re actually posting about Mike Olt signing a minor league deal

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It has been said that to accomplish anything in life you either need inspiration or desperation. Given how little is happening on the hot stove front right now, let’s settle for desperation.

To wit: Mike Olt has signed what is almost certainly a minor league contract with the Minnesota Twins. We don’t even know about this because of a team press release or an agent whispering sweet nothings into Ken Rosenthal’s ear. We know it because Olt posted about it on his Instagram page. I sure hope newsrooms around the country are staffed-up enough to handle this breaking story.

You may remember that Olt, who is 30 now, was once a highly-regarded Rangers prospect. He didn’t pan out as a big leaguer, though, having posted a career line of .168/.250/.330 in 400 plate appearances. He hasn’t played in the majors since 2015, but he took a lot of walks last year in Red Sox’ organization going .214/.346/.412 with 11 homers in 74 games.

Olt is perhaps most famous for breaking camp as the Cubs’ Opening Day third baseman in 2015. He got the gig over Kris Bryant, who was kept in the minors in one of the most notorious acts of service time manipulation you’ll ever see. For a couple of weeks poor Joe Maddon had to pretend, when asked, that Olt was the smarter call and that Bryant needed to “work on his defense” or some such nonsense (note: Bryant’s defense was so shaky that the Cubs put him out in center field within a week of his eventual promotion).

Olt went 0-for-4 that Opening Day and lasted all of six games with the Cubs, going 2-for-15 and then breaking his wrist, at which point Bryant was finally called up, exactly one day later than the date which would’ve given him a full year’s service time in 2015, thereby pushing his free agency off a year. One wonders what might’ve happened if Olt broke his wrist earlier. Who knows? Anyway, after rehabbing his wrist he was waived after which he played 24 lackluster games with the White Sox and that was that for his big league career. Bryant, of course, won the Rookie of the Year Award that season and the MVP Award in his second season.

Unless of course he catches fire at Rochester and makes it to the bigs with the Twins, of course. Which would be nice to see. Partially because it’d be nice for a one time prospect to have another shot at it. Partially because is bums me out that Olt’s most notable big league accomplishment so far has been to be used by the Cubs front office to save them a year of service time on Bryant.

Gaylord Perry, two-time Cy Young winner, dies at 84

Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports
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GAFFNEY, S.C. — Baseball Hall of Famer and two-time Cy Young Award winner Gaylord Perry, a master of the spitball and telling stories about the pitch, died at 84.

Perry died at his home in Gaffney, Cherokee County Coroner Dennis Fowler said. He did not provide additional details. A statement from the Perry family said he “passed away peacefully at his home after a short illness.”

The native of Williamston, North Carolina, made history as the first player to win the Cy Young in both leagues, with Cleveland in 1972 after a 24-16 season and with San Diego in 1978 – going 21-6 for his fifth and final 20-win season just after turning 40.

“Before I won my second Cy Young, I thought I was too old – I didn’t think the writers would vote for me,” Perry said in an article on the National Baseball Hall of Fame website. “But they voted on my performance, so I won it.”

“Gaylord Perry was a consistent workhorse and a memorable figure in his Hall of Fame career,” MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement, adding, “he will be remembered among the most accomplished San Francisco Giants ever … and remained a popular teammate and friend throughout his life.”

Perry was drafted by the San Francisco Giants and spent 10 seasons among legendary teammates like Hall of Famer Willie Mays, who said Thursday that Perry “was a good man, a good ballplayer and my good friend. So long old Pal.”

Juan Marichal remembered Perry as “smart, funny, and kind to everyone in the clubhouse. When he talked, you listened.”

“During our 10 seasons together in the San Francisco Giants rotation, we combined to record 369 complete games, more than any pair of teammates in the Major Leagues,” Marichal said. “I will always remember Gaylord for his love and devotion to the game of baseball, his family, and his farm.”

Perry, who pitched for eight major-league teams from 1962 until 1983, was a five-time All-Star who was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1991. He had a career record of 314-255, finished with 3,554 strikeouts and used a pitching style where he doctored baseballs or made batters believe he was doctoring them.

The National Baseball Hall of Fame said in a statement that Perry was “one of the greatest pitchers of his generation.” The Texas Rangers, whom Perry played for twice, said in a statement that the pitcher was “a fierce competitor every time he took the ball and more often than not gave the Rangers an opportunity to win the game.”

“The Rangers express their sincere condolences to Gaylord’s family at this difficult time,” the team’s statement said. “This baseball great will be missed.”

Perry’s 1974 autobiography was titled “Me and the Spitter,” and he wrote it in that when he started in 1962 he was the “11th man on an 11-man pitching staff” for the Giants. He needed an edge and learned the spitball from San Francisco teammate Bob Shaw.

Perry said he first threw it in May 1964 against the New York Mets, pitched 10 innings without giving up a run and soon after entered the Giants’ starting rotation.

He also wrote in the book that he chewed slippery elm bark to build up his saliva, and eventually stopped throwing the pitch in 1968 after MLB ruled pitchers could no longer touch their fingers to their mouths before touching the baseball.

According to his book, he looked for other substances, like petroleum jelly, to doctor the baseball. He used various motions and routines to touch different parts of his jersey and body to get hitters thinking he was applying a foreign substance.

Giants teammate Orlando Cepeda said Perry had “a great sense of humor … a great personality and was my baseball brother.”

“In all my years in baseball, I never saw a right-handed hurler have such a presence on the field and in the clubhouse,” Cepeda added.

Seattle Mariners Chairman John Stanton said in a release that he spoke with Perry during his last visit to Seattle, saying Perry was, “delightful and still passionate in his opinions on the game, and especially on pitching.

Perry was ejected from a game just once for doctoring a baseball – when he was with Seattle in August 1982. In his final season with Kansas City, Perry and teammate Leon Roberts tried to hide George Brett’s infamous pine-tar bat in the clubhouse but was stopped by a guard. Perry was ejected for his role in that game, too.

After his career, Perry founded the baseball program at Limestone College in Gaffney and was its coach for the first three years.

Perry is survived by wife Deborah, and three of his four children in Allison, Amy and Beth. Perry’s son Jack had previously died.

Deborah Perry said in a statement to The AP that Gaylord Perry was “an esteemed public figure who inspired millions of fans and was a devoted husband, father, friend and mentor who changed the lives of countless people with his grace, patience and spirit.”

The Hall of Fame’s statement noted that Perry often returned for induction weekend “to be with his friends and fans.”

“We extend our deepest sympathy to his wife, Deborah, and the entire Perry family,” Baseball Hall of Fame chairman Jane Forbes Clark said.