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Loek van Mil, tallest pro baseball player ever, dies at 34

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Some sad news: Loek Van Mil, the Dutch pitcher who spent ten seasons in the minors and who starred for the Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic, has died at age 34. The Netherlands baseball and softball association, KNBSB, said that his death was due to injuries sustained in an accident. Standing at seven feet one inch tall, van Mil was most notable for being the tallest man ever known to have played professional baseball.

van Mil joined the Twins as a non-drafted free agent at age 20 in 2005 and also played in the systems of the Angels, Indians and Reds, topping out at Triple-A. He would later pitch in Japan and Australia. We last took note of van Mil during the 2017 World Baseball Classic when he faced off against Nate Freiman of Israel, who is 6’8″. That plate appearance was believed to constitute the tallest batter-pitcher matchup in baseball history.

Buster Posey opts out of the 2020 season

Buster Posey has opted out
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San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey has opted out of the 2020 MLB season. The Giants have issued a statement saying that they “fully support Buster’s decision. Buster is an integral part of our team and will be sorely missed, but we look forward to having him back in 2021.”

Posey and his wife are adopting identical twin girls who were born prematurely and who are currently in the NICU and will be for some time. They are stable, but obviously theirs is not a situation that would be amenable to the demands of a baseball season as it’s currently structured. Recently Posey said, “I think there’s still some reservation on my end as well. I think I want to see kind of how things progress here over the next couple of weeks. I think it would be a little bit maybe naive or silly not to gauge what’s going on around you, not only around you here but paying attention to what’s happening in the country and different parts of the country.” He said that he talked about playing with his wife quite a great deal but, really, this seems like a no-brainer decision on his part.

In opting out Posey is foregoing the 60-game proration of his $21.4 million salary. He is under contract for one more year at $21.4 million as well. The Giants can pick up his 2022 club option for $22 million or buy him out for $3 million.

A veteran of 11 seasons, Posey has earned about $124 million to date. Which seems to be the common denominator with players who have opted out thus far. With the exception of Joe Ross and Héctor Noesí, the players to have opted out thus far have earned well above $10 million during their careers. Players that aren’t considered “high risk” and elect not to play do not get paid and do not receive service time.