Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 59 mins ago
Jenrry Mejia is 26 years old. With any kind of luck at all, that leaves him with a lot of life left, and with any kind of prudence would have meant a lot of baseball career left.
He grew up in Santo Domingo, where he shined shoes for a few pesos at a time. According to the stories, written as Mejia and his big fastball were arriving in the big leagues five years ago, he only discovered baseball at 15, only found he was reasonably good at it sometime after that, and only then began to understand what it could do for the rest of his life.
He was in the major leagues with the New York Mets at 20. He was established in their bullpen at 24. He was suspended twice after testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs at 25. And on Friday afternoon, at 26 years old, Jenrry Mejia became the first player – major or minor leagues – to be banned for life because of a third positive test.
Maybe he is that foolish, that shortsighted, that reckless, that wasteful. Maybe he is that insecure. That fragile.
Tim Brown at Big League Stew 9 days ago
Your browser does not support iframes.
In our Homer History series, writers re-tell the stories of memorable home runs from their perspective. In this installment, Yahoo Sports MLB columnist Tim Brown remembers the game in which little Shane Robinson came up big for the Cardinals against the Dodgers in the 2013 postseason.
The best home run is the one you never saw coming. The best home run challenged everything you thought you knew about the game and then everything you knew, if anything, about science. The best home run rose up from the actual intentions of a 5-foot-9, 165-pound outfielder and landed in the seats – on a hop, technically – because the game isn’t always settled in the moment of contact.
[2016 Yahoo Fantasy Baseball is open for business. Sign up now]
Maybe not the best home run, exactly. But certainly among the most charming, and on a short list of the least predictable, and precisely why this particular home run has settled into my heart as one of happiest collisions of bat, ball and career I’ve witnessed.
“You put a good swing on it,” Mabry said.
“Inside of me,” he said, “I was going nuts.”
Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 20 days ago
Outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, the last of the high-end free agents, on Friday agreed to return to the New York Mets on a three-year contract, a negotiation that preyed on a thinned market for the 30-year-old Cuban and in the end pitted the Mets and their NL East rivals, the Washington Nationals.
Cespedes comes off a 35 home-run season in which, after being traded from the Detroit Tigers, he energized a mid-summer run by the Mets and charmed a fan base thirsty for its team's relevance. Three months after their season ended in the World Series, the Mets appeared to have only half-hearted interest in Cespedes, who was expected to command a nine-figure salary over at least five years. The Nationals are believed to have made an offer in that range this week, and the Mets countered with an offer that would allow Cespedes to re-enter the market sooner and with less competition.
The news that Cespedes would consider a short-term alternative to free agents of comparable value – Jason Heyward and Justin Upton, for two – should have reinvigorated Cespedes' market, though it seems his choice in the final hours was between the Mets and Nationals.
Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 24 days ago
Free agent Justin Upton, the 28-year-old outfielder who in recent seasons skipped from Arizona to Atlanta to San Diego, on Monday agreed to terms with the Detroit Tigers on a six-year contract that, according to reports, would be worth $132.75 million.
Assuming the deal is completed, Upton would play left field for the Tigers and hit in the middle of a daunting – if predominantly right-handed – lineup that will include Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez, J.D. Martinez, Ian Kinsler and Jose Iglesias. Upton, according to Fox Sports, could opt out of the contract after the second year.
Before coming to agreement with Upton, the Tigers were believed to have engaged Chris Davis, who re-signed with Baltimore, and Yoenis Cespedes, who remains a free agent.
In a market thick with outfielders, Upton stood with Jason Heyward, Cespedes and Alex Gordon as the most attractive. He has five times hit at least 26 home runs in a season and five times stolen at least 18 bases, while simultaneously falling short of some expectations that he would be a generational talent.
USA Today was first to report news of the contract agreement.
Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 27 days ago
The Baltimore Orioles on Saturday agreed to terms with free-agent slugger Chris Davis on a seven-year, $161 million contract, sources confirmed to Yahoo Sports, concluding more than two months of negotiations between Davis and the team for which he hit 159 home runs over four seasons. The contract is by far the largest ever for the Orioles.
Davis, 29, has twice led the American League in home runs and twice struck out at least 199 times and once – in 2013 – finished third in the MVP vote since being traded to the Orioles in the summer of 2011.
Like many before him, including Nelson Cruz a year ago, Davis threatened to price himself out of Baltimore. The Orioles indeed had appeared to be preparing for life after Davis, who a month ago reportedly rejected a seven-year, $154 million offer from the Orioles. They'd traded for Mark Trumbo, a designated-hitter type who also could play left field or first base. They'd signed Korean Hyun-soo Kim, a left fielder or DH. And then, as the Davis talks dragged into mid-January, the Orioles had made an offer to Yoenis Cespedes, the free-agent outfielder whose market sagged.
Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 29 days ago
Dee Gordon is rich, starting today. He was yesterday, too, by plenty of standards. But today he is $50 million rich, which is lifetime money if you are fortunate enough to have zero critical vices and half a pocket of common sense, for which he qualifies. He'll be 28 in April, which means the lifetime money came along at a good time, maybe the best time, and by all of this I mean to say, forget the money and remember the story.
Gordon earned this day two winters ago, before the All-Star Games, the batting title, the Gold Glove. In a game where it's easy to be forgotten, and then easy to blame the game for your becoming forgettable, Gordon gathered up whatever was to come next, hoisted it to those narrow shoulders and lugged it all to here. An inch at a time. A rep at a time. Ninety feet at a time.
In two years since: 293 games, a .311 batting average and .342 on-base percentage, 122 steals, 20 triples and a fearlessness that says, "I belong."
The money will spend. What will serve him better and for longer is that winter, the one in which he learned again who he could be, and so became the ballplayer he would be. The story's better.
More MLB coverage:
They are called "older rookies" or "late bloomers," these young men who today arrive well into their twenties or beyond, who grow into their bodies or their lives after most. We applaud a spirit that kept them plodding ahead through the bus rides and the 50-50 raffles and host families' pullout sofas, and then who see something better through all that haze. That right there is determination, we say. That's why this game is great, because it'll wait 'til you're ready, within reason, long as you can hit or throw. Long as you believed. And it's true. Today, it's mostly true.
Then Monte Irvin dies and you look and, damn, he arrived four months after his 30th birthday, and that's a helluva thing, and it reminds us again that not so long ago it didn't matter if you could hit or throw or believe.
This at a time when baseball seemed out ahead of most, too.
Another from Irvin, passed along by MLB historian John Thorn: "Baseball has done more to move America in the right direction than all the professional patriots with their billions of cheap words."
It was 60 degrees Monday midday in Scottsdale, so Bud Selig, a few hours after his daily tromp on a stationary bike, was out for a walk. He had a telephone to his ear, and near the end of a 40-minute conversation his breath was coming a bit louder, though he assured his caller he was only getting started.
He is 81 years old, almost a year into retirement. He does what he wants, pretty much when he wants, which is how retirement ought to work. For the near future, that means the Alabama-Clemson football game on Monday night outside Phoenix, and Dennis Gilbert's Baseball Scouts Foundation dinner Saturday night in Los Angeles (he's presenting an award in his name to Joe Torre), and maybe another few words on paper toward the writing of his memoir.
"I'm reticent to talk about it," he says. "The world is changing."
"But, from 1992 on" – the start of his tenure on Park Avenue – "the world was changing," he says. "I have every confidence, whatever the subject, that Rob will deal with it objectively and sensitively."
"I'm doing very well," he says when he answers his phone. "I love my teaching."
Course, to get to that sentence, one had to sit through videos of his children — any of the three of them — on a football field or a basketball court. He’d bring them up on his iPad.
“Wait, watch this,” he’d say, and soon the next generation of Griffeys was hoisting threes in a yellowy high school gymnasium and turning wheel routes into 80-yard touchdowns against overmatched 17-year-olds.
It was revealing, that part of a guarded Junior, seemingly bored with conversations about who he is or, nearer the end, what he was. He didn’t have much time for comparisons to this guy or that guy, didn’t have the head space to ponder a game that had taken regular appointments at seedy wellness clinics, and most of all hadn’t the heart to mourn his days on disabled lists. Didn’t matter to him. He did what he could for as long as he could, did it long enough to become iconic in two big-league towns, hit 630 home runs, kill thousands of rallies in center field and turn Jackie Robinson Day into a participation sport.
“It’s truly an honor,” he said.
“Amazing,” his father said.
Ken Griffey chuckled about those little boys from four decades ago.
“We won,” he said. “And we won a lot.”
In that way, just in terms of perception, this is the inter-sport equivalent of the Miami Marlins reassigning their general manager to field manager, which maybe isn’t such a horrendous idea in some markets with some general managers, but would be in Miami because of all that came before that decision and how all things in Miami will be viewed as long as “J. LORIA” is painted on the parking space nearest the front door. Some ideas are doomed to failure based solely on whether they’ll be good for a laugh some day. In that, the Browns might have considered how “HIRED A BASEBALL GUY” would look mixed into a timeline of the other stuff that maybe hasn’t worked. You know, like, “DRAFT DAY.” Or, “SUNDAY.”
All that said, I love the hire. I love DePodesta’s decision to give it a shot. I think he’ll be good at it and the Browns will be better for it. They won’t be worse for it.
First, anyone who thinks DePodesta couldn’t be nuttier for taking a job with the Browns wasn’t around when he took a job with the McCourts. So, that.