Big League Stew
- David Brown at Big League Stew40 mins ago
The second overall pick in the 2001 draft by the Chicago Cubs, right-hander Mark Prior came to the majors a year later with all of the promise in the world. Standing 6-foot-5 and weighing 23o pounds with thick legs and a pretty delivery, Prior looked like Hollywood had cast him to be the perfect pitcher in a movie.
And he was one of the best pitchers in the league in his second season, finishing third in Cy Young voting and ninth in MVP while also leading the Cubs to within five outs of the World Series. And yet, by the time Prior turned 23 years old, he was on the decline because of injuries to his shoulder and other body parts. He threw what would be his last big-league pitch about a month before his 26th birthday in 2006.
- David Brown at Big League Stew1 hr ago
Is this why the Philadelphia Phillies reportedly want to trade Jonathan Papelbon?
His wife, Ashley Papelbon, is very honest and brave for tweeting this "awkward family photo" of herself and her mustachioed husband, who's wearing an obnoxious Christmas sweater vest with a poinsettia pattern, along with a ... long-sleeved, turtlenecked, bow-tied ... shirt underneath. Papelbon capped off his look by making the kookiest face possible. He's a strange, strange man. And available in a trade, did we say?
Anyway, Merry Christmas and sweet dreams — if you dare close your eyes ever again.
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- David Brown at Big League Stew4 hrs ago
The U.K.'s Daily Mail has 'em! Wedding photos of Milwaukee Brewers slugger Ryan Braun and Larisa Fraser — obviously shot through a telephoto lens at great length by a paparazzi spy. But they're online for your viewing pleasure.
Braun and Fraser got married in Malibu, Calif. on Saturday, which surely is a sign that things have turned around for Braun, who has finished his 65-game suspension related to the Biogenesis investigation.
Braun has a Jewish father and a Catholic mother and identifies as Jewish and was last year named as number five on a list of 'the 50 most talented, intelligent, funny, and gorgeous Jewish men in the world', by Shalom Life.
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew4 hrs ago
It's that time of the year again. Baseball executives, agents, players looking for new teams and media members have gathered in Orlando this week for baseball's annual Winter Meetings.
The Stew is here to help you stay up to date with the latest news and rumors. We've set up his handy tracker for you to follow all the second-day wonder.
- David Brown at Big League Stew5 hrs ago
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Aside from the Hall of Fame voting results, Day 1 of the winter meetings was a dud, no offense to the Miami Marlins adding Garrett Jones. Major League Baseball can do better. The best bets for action include free agent Shin-Soo Choo signing a contract and the Los Angeles Angeles trading slugger Mark Trumbo. The Tampa Bay Rays also continue to dangle left-hander David Price.
One event is certain: The New York Mets will introduce outfielder Curtis Granderson, whom they recently signed. As for the speculation:
• The Texas Rangers and Diamondbacks reportedly interested in Choo, who is hoping to command between $126-$153 million over seven years. That's the range between the salaries of Jayson Werth and Jacoby Ellsbury — two other clients of agent Scott Boras. The Tigers were reported to be interested, but with Rajai Davis rumored to be heading to Detroit, interest in Choo would dry up.
- David Brown at Big League Stew18 hrs ago
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Baseball might be his life, but it is not life and death to Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon. When asked at the winter meetings Monday what the Rays starting rotation might look like if the team trades left-hander David Price — as many expect them to — Maddon did not reply with the attitude of a panicked man.
"Honestly, listen, I've been in an RV for a month," Maddon said. "I just saw my grandkids in Arizona, hung out in Long Beach for about a week. I mean this sincerely, I really put it down. I'm pretty good at putting it down. I think it's important to put it down."
He's been living in a van down by the river! Just like Matt Foley, the best character Chris Farley ever played on "Saturday Night Live." And like Foley, Maddon would make a great motivational speaker. But he also was being coy. It's important to note that the RV to which Maddon referred had several TVs, including satellite programming. If he wanted to keep up with the doings in baseball, he could have.
And he's been talking to Rays general manager Andrew Friedman, who has been keeping him in the loop, vacation or not.
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew18 hrs ago
The Walk-Off is your end-of-the-day collection of news and gossip from the world of baseball, plus the best of the blogosphere and other assorted goodness.
TODAY'S HOT COMMODITY: Angels slugger Mark Trumbo, who is so very back on the trade market. There are reportedly 12 teams in the mix. [MLB Trade Rumors]
GOSSIP: The sweepstakes for free-agent outfielder Shin-Soo Choo has reached the "critical" stage, with the Rangers still heavily involved. [@Ken_Rosenthal]
OH REALLY? A report out of Boston says there's "nothing to" the rumors of a Red Sox-Dodgers trade involving Matt Kemp. Of course, tomorrow is a new day. [WEEI]
GOSSIP: Philadelphia Phillies actively shopping Domonic Brown and his potent bat, trying to sell high. Looking for "controllable pitcher." [@JeffPassan]
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew19 hrs ago
Here's a new entry on the post-baseball jobs list: Ex-MLB slugger Magglio Ordonez has been elected mayor of his hometown in Venezuela, just a year and a half after retiring from MLB.
This is a little more complicated than local-boy-done-good coming home to be mayor, because Ordonez ran on the socialist ticket of president Nicolás Maduro, who won control of the country after controversial leader Hugo Chavez died in March. The recent elections in Venezuela were a show of force for Maduro, who called upon celebrities like Ordonez to help him win more support from the Venezuelan people.
From the Associated Press:
Ordonez's victory in the city of Sotillo in eastern Venezuela was announced by President Nicolas Maduro at a rally Sunday for pro-government candidates who won the majority of 335 races nationwide.
- David Brown at Big League Stew19 hrs ago
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Marvin Miller missed making baseball's Hall of Fame in his sixth and what his family hopes is his final opportunity. A legendary labor leader, Miller's contributions — while not universally appreciated, obviously — had as much or more of an effect on the game than those of anyone else in the past 40 or 50 years.
And yet, the various electorates in a position to acknowledge Miller's place in baseball have refused to do so, time and again. No disrespect to former managers Bobby Cox, Tony La Russa and Joe Torre — all of whom were announced as new Hall of Famers on Monday — but their awards are tarnished because Miller isn't already in Cooperstown. It's too bad for them, but that's way it has to be. And that's how Miller would have wanted it.
- David Brown at Big League Stew20 hrs ago
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — New Cincinnati Reds manager Bryan Price said he has heard the talk about slugger Joey Votto needing to tinker with his approach. Votto, who is third among active players in OPS, supposedly needs to be more aggressive, expand his strike zone and not take so many pitches — the argument goes — so that he might drive in more runs.
Votto has resisted that notion, and Price doesn't buy into it, entirely. Speaking on Monday at baseball's winter meetings, Price said:
"It's been mentioned, 'Oh, I think he needs to extend the plate and drive in runs' and I don't believe that. It can be very difficult to work hard and get an understanding of the strike zone and be able to manage it like Joey does, and then ask him to go outside that strike zone and be productive with runners in scoring position."
Phew. You've got to be blotto to want to change Joey Votto.