Tim Brown

  • Giancarlo Stanton puts his faith in the Marlins, and now the real test begins

    Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 9 days ago

    The man asked if he was embarrassed by the money, he being Giancarlo Stanton, who at that moment sat at the left shoulder of Jeffrey Loria. Still, the man in the audience remained laser-focused on Stanton and not Loria.

    Embarrassed, he said, as though Loria had panhandled $325 million on a street corner in South Beach, which, OK, he sort of did, but he didn’t have to. That was Loria’s choice. And that was Miami’s choice. If not the residents, then the city leaders, and now the city has an honest-to-goodness “generational player” (unless, disgusted, he were to leave) to go along with a lovely ballpark the taxpayers carried in on their backs.

    The game is rich. The owners – this one, in particular – are rich. And the man asked Giancarlo Stanton, someone who actually hits the home runs and catches the gappers, if this weren’t all so embarrassing. To, you know, Giancarlo Stanton. Personally.

    To which Stanton opened his eyes wide, confirming that that fastball had indeed missed his eye socket, and he smiled, showing teeth still connected to his gums in spite of that fastball.

    We’ll all find out together. He might know first.

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  • Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton agrees to richest contract in sports history

    Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 11 days ago

    Giancarlo Stanton, the 25-year-old National League MVP runner-up, and the Miami Marlins, baseball’s prodigal franchise, agreed to a 13-year, $325 million contract extension.

    The richest contract in sports history could keep Stanton in Miami through 2027, when Stanton would be approaching his 38th birthday. The Marlins agreed to include a no-trade clause and an opt-out opportunity after six years. Both are unusual for the Marlins, but speak to past practices that have made them an unstable franchise and unattractive to high-end free agents. The mammoth deal was confirmed by various media outlets Monday.

    Stanton was two years from free agency. In recent months, he’d seemed reluctant to commit to an organization whose direction had frequently changed, perhaps at the whims of owner Jeffrey Loria and president David Samson.

    The Marlins’ payroll was $102 million in 2012, when they stunned the industry by signing Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle and Heath Bell to large contracts. By mid-summer they were off-loading those contracts and others, and by 2013 and ’14 the payroll was half that.

    “You understand,” Stanton said, “how things can happen.”

    Stanton might be betting even more on them.

  • Dave Stewart, Diamondbacks will rely on analytics ... when necessary

    Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 16 days ago

    PHOENIX – I'm not sure how this helps him in his current job, and this might speak more for the company he now keeps than his own personal disposition, but Dave Stewart, at 57, is still the coolest guy in the room.

    The room today is fellow baseball general managers and reporters, and the room tomorrow will be the headquarters of what was in 2014 the worst team in the game, so, yeah, the competition for coolest is rather thin.

    He enters with a backpack slung over his shoulder, his walk easy and rooted, his eyelids at half-mast, his clenched jaw leading him. Going on 20 years since he threw a pitch, he still carries himself the way he would from dugout to mound to dugout again, and doesn't seem at all concerned that nearly every man in this room looks at the game differently than he does. Today, they are the ones with their caps pulled to their brows. Their eyes smoke with confidence. They're the ones with the fastballs.

    That said, he added, "We're not going to be an organization that's going to [run on] 70 percent metrics. That's not going to happen."

    Said La Russa: "We'll use it. It stops before the first pitch is thrown."

  • Tigers nearing deal to bring back Victor Martinez

    Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 16 days ago

    PHOENIX – The Detroit Tigers on Wednesday were nearing a four-year, $68 million contract with veteran designated hitter Victor Martinez, who, at 35, is coming off his best offensive season.

    In an offseason in which 18-game winner and 2013 Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer is also a free agent, the 90-win Tigers had the re-signing of Martinez as their first priority.

    Fox Sports was first to report the two sides were close.

    Martinez, who will be 36 next month and nearing 40 when the contract expires, batted .335 with 32 home runs and 103 RBI in 151 games for the Tigers. The switch-hitter led the American League in on-base percentage and on-base-plus-slugging percentage. He did play 35 games at first base and two at catcher.

    With Miguel Cabrera, J.D. Martinez and Victor Martinez posting OPS’s near .900 or better, the Tigers scored the second-most runs in the league, behind only the Los Angeles Angels.

    The Seattle Mariners were believed to be heavy bidders for Martinez, and there was interest from the Toronto Blue Jays as well.

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  • Marlins could offer Giancarlo Stanton $250M, but is that reason to stay?

    Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 17 days ago

    PHOENIX – The Miami Marlins could commit $250 million or more to Giancarlo Stanton, the 25-year-old outfielder with the size, strength, tools and conscience to steer an organization for at least a decade.

    They could make Stanton rich, and they could ride his talents through his prime, and they could have a good, authentic, loyal face for a franchise that hasn't always deserved it. This is the cost of privilege, of running an honest business, and this is why the Marlins are obliged to make it happen.

    But, what of the risk … for Stanton?

    Yeah, this is one of those rare negotiations in which the player is being asked to take all the money and assume most of the risk. Were it me, I'd want the money and a no-trade clause and an opt-out after every season, which is totally excessive yet wholly warranted given the franchise's recent history.

    And then you could sign with a franchise with a history of chasing championships and acting predictably.

    They are asking Stanton, Hill said, "to trust in the job Dan and I do."

    "I think his overriding desire is to win," he added. "He knows that's our goal. We want to win as badly as he does."

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  • Why MLB's offseason looks more chaotic than ever

    Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 18 days ago

    PHOENIX – There's an interesting vibe going here, beyond the usual early rattling of baseball's offseason, not all of which can be ascribed to Brian Cashman's new goatee-ish thing.

    Barely two weeks since the San Francisco Giants were forced to hurdle their own third baseman on the way to their championship party, general managers and their various hardball posses arrived in the desert to what feels like a strangely unsettled winter.

    When was the last time 28 general managers watched a World Series and found neither remaining team particularly susceptible to imitation? (OK, start with a pitcher who'll throw nearly every inning … )

    There are, turns out, six new general managers to these meetings, or new to these meetings under their current colors, which means at least those six new directions. Also, there are five – soon to be six, as soon as Tampa Bay whittles its list of candidates to a number that could fit in your typical party bus – new field managers, as well, which is not insignificant in a place such as Chicago and the hire is Joe Maddon.

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  • Rays veterans preparing for a change of tide

    Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 21 days ago

    LOS ANGELES – Evan Longoria stood at third base Friday afternoon at Dodger Stadium. Ben Zobrist was to his left.

    In a fifth-floor conference room, Andrew Friedman, via conference call, had just finished heralding the arrival of his new general manager. Gabe Kapler, who’d spent his final seasons alongside Longoria and Zobrist, was about to be named the Dodgers’ farm director. Joe Maddon was, well, it was hard to say, but if he were still in Tampa, it wouldn’t be for long.

    And Longoria was at third base. Zobrist was to his left. Both wore the colors of the Tampa Bay Rays.

    They’d be off to Japan on Saturday with a roster of other All-Stars and near All-Stars and other guys who would stand near the All-Stars. Friday was the first of two days’ preparation.

    Anyway, Longoria, the career Ray, and Zobrist, the near-career Ray, dutifully gathered their ground balls, and they took their batting practice, and they ran the bases in a line with their temporary teammates.

    And what I thought about was, “Consider the Lobster.”

    The Rays?

    So, yeah, this has been a fine party for the bibbed folks with buttery cheeks, maybe not so fine for the main course.

    He smiled.

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  • Alex Rodriguez now left to face his sad situation

    Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 23 days ago

    The news that Alex Rodriguez has confessed to routine performance-enhancing drug use probably means we’ve eliminated the last person who might have believed in his innocence, the existence of witch hunts and the over-aggressiveness of Bud Selig: that person being Alex Rodriguez himself.

    So, now, we can all move on, Rodriguez included.

    Not “move on” as though it never happened, but “move on” to the notion that this thing was ever anything but the obvious, and that the denials were nothing more than attempts to save some of his money (and what remains of his career), and that once again Rodriguez had listened to the wrong people far too often and for far too long.

    He’ll be 40 next summer, so maybe it was time to learn that lesson anyway. Today’s decisions might indeed make today more livable, but might not do much for tomorrow. Generally, tomorrow comes. Rodriguez has worn a lot of tomorrows.

    Take Wednesday, another one of those.

    That, of course, takes us to yet another of his tomorrows. They’re relentless like that.

    Baseball.

    You know, maybe.

  • Joe Maddon bringing a different style to the Cubs

    Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 25 days ago

    If you happened to spend any time around the Angels a couple decades back, you would have had to go out of your way to find Joe, the minor-league instructor, in a clubhouse or back field you wouldn’t otherwise have reason to be.

    Of all the men – young and old – wandering around with fungo bats over their shoulders and stopwatches in their pockets, Joe was different. He talked the game different. He saw the game different. He understood the young men inside the uniforms – underneath the numbers and the scouting reports – better.

    In a world of absolutes – and there were few worlds as absolute as baseball – Joe was a different guy. He read real books. He drank real wine, and still loved a domestic beer in a plastic cup. He laughed at the goofy stuff, and had a kind heart, and loved the new statistics that were popping up, and embraced the unknown. Yeah, he was a baseball guy, but he also was a life guy.

    So, you had to go find Joe.

    Whatta ya seein’? Who do ya like? What’s the deal with this guy? That guy? Where’d you eat last night? See this headline in the Times?

    Joe would coil his leg around his fungo bat, like a python around a tree limb, and say, “Body…”

    Same guy. Same Joe.

  • Cubs had little choice but to act swiftly, coldly in pursuit of their ray of hope

    Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 29 days ago

    Since the day he walked away from the Tampa Bay Rays, Joe Maddon appeared to fit best with the Chicago Cubs, the young team in need of direction and a sturdier future. Instability, after all, has been a tradition for the Cubs. For proof, look no further than the imminent hiring of, you know, Joe Maddon.

    In November 2011, Theo Epstein jumped to the Cubs from the Boston Red Sox. Since then, the Cubs have played three baseball seasons and Epstein has hired three managers. He’s fired, so far, two of them.

    Dale Sveum, hired and fired. Rick Renteria, hired and, presumably, fired, and at best reassigned. Lord help Maddon if Earl Weaver becomes available.

    The net result has been three fifth-place finishes, which, anymore, means last place.

    But, hey, this is the plan, and nobody doesn’t love the pretty prospects Epstein is stockpiling, and nobody doesn’t love the hiring of Maddon fundamentally, no matter how ruthless and cold-hearted it might look. Maddon is the best there is at this, and now he’s a Cub, and Epstein did that, because it’s not about personal loyalties, but loyalty to the plan, and lord help Maddon if Walter Alston becomes available.

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