Adrian Beltre gets one year to convince somebody that he’s still capable of being an impact player, signing a one-year, $10 million deal to man the hot corner for Boston.
I actually discussed this when the Mariners signed Chone Figgins… Beltre remains a productive third baseman because his defense remains solid. Last year, Figgins was a better offensive player, but the difference in terms of plays made per 800 balls in play makes them a wash despite the fact that Beltre missed about a third of the season. In previous years, there’s no way I would have taken Figgins over Beltre. So, if Beltre can stay healthy and bounce back a little with the bat, he’s going to help out.
This also means that Mike Lowell will likely STILL get traded once his thumb surgery heals and he can pass a physical. [MLB]
Rockies add Olivo…
Miguel Olivo signed a one year, $2.5 million contract with Colorado where he will share catching duties with Chris Ianetta. Olivo COULD become a late round fantasy sleeper – he has power (though he’s not a high average hitter) and is durable and if he gets a hot streak going in April, he might get the bulk of the playing time. He’s active around the plate – if slightly error prone – and he’s now logging a lot of mileage changing teams… [ESPN]
Bucs Bring in Pitchers…
The Pittsburgh Pirates took low level chances on a couple of good arms hoping for another chance at making the big leagues… Neal Cotts (former Cub and ChiSox pitcher), Tyler Yates (former Brave and Pirate), and Brian Burres (former Oriole and Blue Jay) all signed minor league deals. Cotts and Yates are coming off of elbow reconstructive surgery (both happened in July). If nothing else, this gives the Pirates some organizational depth they can test at AA or AAA and, if needed, can move into the bullpen later in the season. [ESPN]
SI’s Jon Heyman explains his Hall of Fame vote – and why he didn’t vote for Bert Blyleven, saying that counting stats aren’t enough.
ESPN’s Jim Caple argues that Blyleven’s case for the Hall of Fame rests in a long career of top level performance and statistically significant contributions.
Personally, I’m pulling for Tim Raines.
A lot of famous Chicago guys, including Bob Dernier (1957) and Ron Kittle (1958) lead the birthday list. Here’s a more complete list:
Bob Carruthers (1864), Byron Bancroft (Ban) Johnson (1864), Bill Dahlen (1870), Art Fletcher (1885), Benny Kauff (1890), Riggs Stephenson (1898), Luke Sewell (1901), Earl Battey (1935), Charlie Hough (1948), Jim Gantner (1953), Milt Thompson (1959), Henry Cotto (1961), John Russell (1961), Danny Jackson (1962), Jeff Fassero (1963), Juan Nieves (1965), Chris Nabholz (1967), Mark Redman (1974), and the Minor Twins – Damon and Ryan (1974). I saw Ryan Minor play college ball when he was with Oklahoma and rooted for him, even though he never really made it work.
Ken Rudolph Called…
I’ll go a little further than this in a future post, but the other day was Ken Rudolph’s birthday. Rudolph was a member of the first MLB draft in 1965 – getting picked in the second round by the Cubs, and one of seven catchers (like Ray Fosse) taken ahead of Johnny Bench in that draft… Anyway – Rudolph made the Cubs and was Randy Hundley’s backup for about five or six years in Chicago before becoming a bit of a MLB nomad and later coach.
So, I decided to see if I could find Ken Rudolph online. A quick Google search found a YouTube video of Ken discussing (among other topics) steroid usage and mentioning that he coaches kids. So, I did another Google search but adding “high school” to the search terms and sure enough I found him. He’s coaching high school ball in the Phoenix area. Getting his email address, I shot him a happy birthday note and asked if I could talk to him about coaching kids and topics related to that. Well, yesterday he called me at the office and we chatted for fifteen minutes about various baseball topics.
I’ll have the article written (and published locally here in South Florida) shortly – but I wanted to take a second to thank Coach Rudolph for calling me back and giving me a few minutes of his time. It certainly made my day!
Of course, and this is the odd part, I chuckled at myself – I had to call dad to tell him (my dad, Kenneth, and my stepmother, Carol, are both Cubs fans) and for a half hour or so, I felt like a ten-year-old kid. I mean – I’ve published a book about baseball, and as a reporter I covered Bob Dole and a governor’s race in Kansas, chased any number of coaches and athletes and I STILL get the same butterflies. As goofy as this sounds, I hope that feeling never goes away.