Big League Stew
- David Brown at Big League Stew7 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 Stew7 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 Stew8 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 Stew8 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 Stew9 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.
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew10 hrs ago
This is The Stew's running list of trades and signings that happen during baseball's winter meetings. We'll keep updating this post as the news happens. For more chatter and rumors, be sure to check out our winter meetings tracker.
MONDAY White Sox add pitcher Felipe Paulino on a one-year deal The White Sox added starting pitching depth by signing Felipe Paulino to a one-year deal worth $1.75 million. He's coming back from 2012 Tommy John surgery. In 2011 and 2012, he pitched for the Colorado Rockies and Kansas City Royals.
BLS take : There's good potential here. There's also risk. His ERA was 4.46 in 2011, but advanced-stat minded pundits will tell you he's better than that. They love Paulino's FIP of 3.54 (that's from 2010-2012). This isn't a organization-altering move, but come July or August, the White Sox could look smart.
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew12 hrs ago
Apparently Barry Bonds' $25 million Beverly Hills mansion hasn't been dazzling potential buyers since it went on the market last January. Now the ex-MLB slugger has reduced the price by $1.5 million.
Poor Barry. Can't get into the Hall of Fame on his first try, can't sell his house. It is a nice crib too — 17,100-square-foot of nice, in fact. Here's how Realtor.com describes it:
Bonds’ enormous mansion is one of his finest home runs, which is saying something considering he hit 762 bombs over the course of his career. Beyond its sheer size — Bonds expanded the compound-estate by 5,500 square feet after buying it — the Hall of Fame property is flush in the finer things of life.
Looking right at home on its 1.85 acres, the seven-bedroom, 13-bathroom manse comes complete with “smart home” technology, allowing a person to control a number of functions from the touch of an iPad or iPhone (probably Android devices, too).
- David Brown at Big League Stew12 hrs ago
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — He might have been better off ignoring it, but Seattle Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik responded to a story in the Seattle Times that sometimes brutally questioned his qualifications and abilities to run a baseball team.
Zduriencik released a statement and later talked to reporters at the winter meetings Monday, addressing assertions made by former manager Eric Wedge and another former Mariners employee who said the M's front office was plagued by "total dysfunction and a lack of leadership."
In replying, Zduriencik attempts to paint Wedge as being disgruntled at not being given a contract extension. He did not address an assertion by Tony Blengino, his former top assistant, that Zduriencik misled the M's about a key part of his resume.
Here's the total statement by Zduriencik:
- David Brown at Big League Stew13 hrs ago
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Chris Sale is no Michael Jordan, says Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf. But don't put too much into a rumor that Sale might be traded by the White Sox here at baseball's winter meetings or later in the offseason.
Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports said other teams are "pushing" the White Sox to discuss Sale, an All-Star the past two seasons who finished fifth in Cy Young voting after posting a 3.07 ERA and 226 strikeouts in 214 innings in 2013.
A few minutes after the announcement Monday morning that Tony La Russa, Joe Torre and Bobby Cox had been elected to baseball's Hall of Fame, Reinsdorf — who gave La Russa his start in the major leagues in 1979 — was cornered about the Sale talk.
"I just heard that rumor. I only had one player in my 33 years of sports that couldn't be traded. He wore No. 23 — and 45 when he played baseball," Reinsdorf said, referring to Jordan, who famously played for Reinsdorf's Chicago Bulls in the NBA and Chicago White Sox in the minor leagues.
- David Brown at Big League Stew15 hrs ago
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Roy Halladay said he wanted to retire with two teams, the Toronto Blue Jays and the Philadelphia Phillies.
"I don't think that's possible," Halladay said with disappointment Monday at the winter meetings.
Toronto, where Halladay got his start in professional baseball, it is.
A two-time Cy Young winner who pitched a perfect game and a postseason no-hitter for the Phillies in 2010, announced he is retiring after signing a one-day contract with Toronto. Halladay went 203-105 with a 3.38 ERA, 2,117 strikeouts, 67 complete games and 20 shutouts for the Phillies and Jays.
His chances for the Hall of Fame probably should be described as "possible," if not likely. He used the dais at Disney World to reminisce about a fabulous career that ended because of injuries. Halladay said he has two pars fractures, plus an eroded disk between the L‑4 and L‑5 vertebrates. His shoulder bothered him because he tried to compensate for his back hurting. His voice cracked from time to time as he went over the past.