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Monday, November 5, 2012

Some Baseball Notes From the Past Week

The last piece of ticker tape from the San Francisco Giants World Series victory parade had barely fluttered to the ground before the MLB offseason began in earnest. With impending award season, the start of free agency, and general news, it’s been a busy past week for baseball.

***Former major league pitcher Pascual Perez was senselessly murdered in the Dominican Republic during a botched home robbery. The three alleged killers, who have since been apprehended, told police they targeted Perez as part of a plot to steal his $2,400 monthly MLB pension check.

With a 67-68 career record over 11 MLB seasons, Perez was never a star, but often found himself in the news. He was an enigma, once showing up late to a game in Atlanta because he missed a highway exit. He and brothers Melido and Carlos also formed a rare trio of brothers to play in the majors.

Perez’s career was derailed by drug problems, but by all accounts he had cleaned up his life in recent years. Perez was 55-years-old at the time of his death.

***Mariano Rivera confirmed that he intends to pitch for the Yankees in 2013 (assuming he and the team can agree on a contract). The soon-to-be 43-year-old tore his ACL back in May, and speculation was rife that he would simply retire as opposed to go through the lengthy rehab.

Rivera is one of the most consistent and iconic players in history. Understandably, the Yankees can’t break the bank to re-sign him, but they should do everything in their power to bring back the future Hall of Famer and let him finish out his career on his own terms. He may be old and coming off a major injury, but his arm remains sound and he has performed for every second of his career and shouldn’t be doubted now.

***The Oakland A’s agreed to terms on a 2013 contract with portly pitcher Bartolo Colon for $3 million. Colon, currently serving a 50 game suspension for testing positive for a banned substance, will fill one of the back-of-the-rotation spots for the A’s. His suspension will end following the fifth game of the 2013 season. It’s a solid baseball move, as Colon has pitched surprisingly well over the past couple of seasons (though that may have been aided by some unnatural enhancers). If he can repeat that consistency he will help the team work towards another pennant, or he can be used as a valuable trade chip (his salary is a bargain if he comes close to 2012 results) if the team falls out of contention or wants to give one of their youngsters a shot.

****It’s concerning to see all of the speculation and rumors about a possible trade sending third baseman David Wright from the Mets to the Red Sox. In the aftermath of Boston trading away over $250 million in future salaries earlier this summer, making a move for Wright would be incredibly stupid.

Wright is an excellent player, but at 30 years of age he is not getting any better or younger. He is currently trying to negotiate a new contract that is sure to approach or exceed $100 million. Obtaining Wright would either require giving up or supplanting young Will Middlebrooks, who showed great promise this past year before succumbing to a season ending injury.

Not only is it reasonable to gamble that Middlebrooks might match or exceed Wright’s production over the next five seasons, but the Red Sox hold his rights during that time, meaning he will make a fraction of whatever Wright gets in his next contract.

The Red Sox will and should spend money, but doing so just to get a “name” player would be unwise and reverting back to habits that got them in trouble in the first place.

***Nothing has been said publicly, but the Yankees have to be sweating the Derek Jeter situation. The team captain was already one of the least-rangy shortstops in baseball; now about to turn 39 and coming back from a fractured ankle, there is a good chance he will be even more limited in the field. Owed $17 million in 2013, there aren’t a lot of options for the Yankees if he isn’t able to hold down the full-time shortstop job. The good news is that if anyone can make it back, it’s Jeter. However, even the most superhuman athletes are eventually overtaken by age and their own physical limitations. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out, and even this Red Sox fan hopes Jeter can finish his career gracefully. 


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