Big League Stew

  • BOSTON, MA - JULY 18: Manager Bobby Valentine #25 of the Boston Red Sox shares a laugh prior to the game against the Chicago White Sox on July 18, 2012 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
    Bobby Valentine in 2012, the last time he managed a professional baseball team. (Getty Images)

    Ex-baseball players go on to all sorts of careers. Some go into coaching or managing, some go into the business world, and others take up a career in broadcasting. And yet a few others do something different, like go into politics.

    Bobby Valentine might be entering into that last category. The 66-year-old former player and manager of the New York Mets and Boston Red Sox is reportedly on the short list to be the Ambassador to Japan, according to WEEI.com. Valentine is currently serving as Sacred Heart University’s athletic director.

    This isn’t completely out of the blue. Valentine managed the Chiba Lotte Marines of the Japan Pacific League in 1995 (after which he was fired), and then returned to manage them in 2004 for five years after he was fired as the Mets manager in 2002. Valentine led the Marines to their first championship in 31 years in 2005, sweeping the Hanshin Tigers in the Japan

    Read More »from Bobby Valentine reportedly being considered for U.S. Ambassador to Japan
  • NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Baseball’s annual Winter Meetings are a surreal place. Practically everyone in the baseball industry converges into a mega hotel for an event that’s a combination of general managers and agents trying to woo each other, reporters looking for scoops, front-office job seekers looking for a gig and trade-show people trying to sell their latest products.

    That absurdity isn’t helped by the fact that the days run upward of 16 hours sometimes and it’s not hard to spend three days at the Winter Meetings without even going outside.

    Here's what really goes on at the Winter Meetings.
    Here’s what really goes on at the Winter Meetings.

    To the naked eye, it really just seems like a lot of people standing around. Sometimes they assemble in circles — like when an MLB manager has a scheduled media session or late at night when they’re discussing the day’s events in the bar or hotel lobby — but sometimes it’s more like thousands of people waiting for something to happen.

    That leads to a pretty simple but fascinating question: What

    Read More »from Video: What do you actually do at baseball's Winter Meetings?
  • Koji Uehara will pitch for the Cubs in 2017. (Getty Images/Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox)
    Koji Uehara will pitch for the Cubs in 2017. (Getty Images/Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox)

    Welcome to The Stew’s Hot Stove Digest, our daily rundown of MLB news, rumors and gossip for Hot Stove season. Here you’ll find a quick recap of all the day’s action and other fun stuff from around the internet that we think is worth your time.

    WHAT A RELIEF: The Chicago Cubs have agreed to a deal with free-agent reliever Koji Uehara. The 41-year-old Uehara posted a 3.45 ERA over 47 innings with the Boston Red Sox last year. He’ll likely slot into a setup role behind the newly-acquired Wade Davis. Uehara is still an effective pitcher despite his age, but doesn’t often pitch on back-to-back days anymore. [@JonHeyman]

    GETTING CLOSE: The St. Louis Cardinals are getting close to signing outfielder Dexter Fowler. St. Louis has been linked to Fowler all offseason, so it’s not surprising they would be interested in the 30-year-old. Fowler hit .276/.393/.447, with 13 home runs, over 551 plate appearances

    Read More »from Hot Stove Digest: Cubs agree to deal with Koji Uehara
  • Disco Demolition Night at Comiskey Park. (AP Photo)
    Disco Demolition Night at Comiskey Park. (AP Photo)

    The Chicago White Sox added a lot of explosive, young talent during the 2016 Winter Meetings. When those players eventually play together in the majors, the franchise will have to hope it goes better than the last time explosive materials were used on the field.

    Yes, we’re talking about Disco Demolition Night. The now infamous promotion has gone down as one of the worst decisions ever by a team. The whole event was crazy, and a complete disaster, and that makes it the perfect story to retell on Comedy Central’s “Drunk History.”

    Bob Odenkirk, better known as the actor who plays Saul on AMC’s “Better Call Saul,” retold the story on the program. As the title of the program suggests, Odenkirk imbibed a few adult beverages before launching into the tale, a fitting choice considering the state of many of the fans at the game.

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    Aside from being an excellent actor and entertainer, Odenkirk is a great choice to recount this story. He grew up in

    Read More »from Bob Odenkirk recalls Disco Demolition Night on 'Drunk History'
  • Ten lingering questions from the Winter Meetings

    Baseball’s Winter Meetings are wrapping up today, and the affair proved to be an eventful three days. Chris Sale changed teams, Ian Desmond and Aroldis Chapman signed new contracts and that was just the tip of the iceberg. (For the rest of the iceberg, check out our done deals post, which contains info and analysis for every signing and trade that happened at the Winter Meetings.) But as executives and writers alike flee National Harbor, Maryland, there are still a few questions that haven’t been resolved.

    What will the White Sox do next?
    Yahoo Sports’ own Jeff Passan says that the White Sox won the Winter Meetings, but there’s a lot more offseason left. Considering the big moves they’ve made so far — trading Chris Sale and Adam Eaton for healthy returns — they’re far from being done with their first rebuilding offseason in years. They still have assets to trade, like closer David Robertson, third baseman Todd Frazier, or if they’re really looking to start over, they could deal the

    Read More »from Ten lingering questions from the Winter Meetings
  • Shohei Otani would forfeit a significant amount of money by coming to MLB in 2018. (Getty Images/Masterpress)
    Shohei Otani would forfeit a significant amount of money by coming to MLB in 2018. (Getty Images/Masterpress)

    Nippon Ham Fighters superstar Shohei Otani doesn’t care about the money. Despite the new international spending limits, Otani still plans on coming over to Major League Baseball next offseason, according to Jim Allen of Kyodo News.

    That should come as a bit of a surprise, considering MLB’s stance on altering a new rule in the collective-bargaining agreement (CBA) that would prevent Otani from receiving a massive contract until 2019.

    The new rule gives teams a $5 million budget to spend on international free agents every year. That rule, however, doesn’t apply if the player is 25 or older. Because of that, Otani, who is 22, would be limited to a contract around $10 million if he comes over before

    Read More »from Shohei Otani still wants to come to MLB in 2018 despite new rule
  • For the first time since 1908, there was true joy in Wrigleyville after the Chicago Cubs won the World Series. Now we’ll have a unique opportunity to experience the joy up close and personal with some of the Cubs most loyal fans, which range from worldwide celebrities to the family next door.

    The aptly titled program “Joy in Wrigleyville,” will be the first offseason installment of the popular documentary series MLB Network Presents. It will air Thursday at 8 p.m. ET, right after the Winter Meetings coverage wraps up. But thanks to the kind folks at MLB Network we were able to view it advance. Trust us, it’s a must-see program for fans of all generations and of all teams.

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    Hosted by Bob Costas, the program focuses on the emotions of a starved fanbase as its beloved franchise nears history. We’ll experience all of the highs and lows with them, from the moment the Cubs won the National League pennant for the first time since 1945, to being on the

    Read More »from MLB Network's 'Joy in Wrigleyville' is chock full of emotions
  • Welcome to The Stew’s Hot Stove Digest, our daily rundown of MLB news, rumors and gossip for Hot Stove season. Here you’ll find a quick recap of all the day’s action and other fun stuff from around the internet that we think is worth your time.

    THE BIG ONE: If you missed the biggest news of Wednesday night: Aroldis Chapman chose to return to the New York Yankees, agreeing to a record-setting five-year deal worth $86 million. Chapman was the No. 3 overall free agent on the market. [Yahoo Sports]

    THE NEXT ONE: Chapman making his choice leaves Kenley Jansen as the latest elite closer on the market. Jansen, the ex-Dodger, is said to be choosing between going back to L.A. or heading to the Miami Marlins. Per Passan, the Marlins are being quite aggressive in their pursuit of Jansen, offering five years and more than $80 million too. [@JeffPassan]

    Read More »from Hot Stove Digest: Where will Kenley Jansen wind up?
  • Have you ever lived in a city or worked for a company that you promised yourself you’d never live in or work for again?

    New York Yankees free-agent signee Matt Holliday has, and though his chosen profession essentially guarantees he’ll return to the city of his apparent disdain temporarily, the negotiating power of his agent has reportedly guaranteed he won’t return there permanently or work for his former employer again.

    Well, at least during the 2017 season.

    As we learned on Wednesday, Holliday’s one-year, $13M contract with the Yankees reportedly includes one very interesting and unique provision. It’s essentially a one-team no-trade clause that prevents the Yankees from trading Holliday to the Oakland A’s, where he played during the 2009 season.

    Holliday was traded from the Rockies to the A’s prior to the

    Read More »from Matt Holliday made sure Yankees can never trade him to one former team
  • Done Deals: Mariners get Chris Heston in trade with Giants

    Chris Heston, he of the 2015 no-hitter, is headed to the Mariners. (AP)
    Chris Heston, he of the 2015 no-hitter, is headed to the Mariners. (AP)

    This is The Stew’s running list of trades and signings that happen during baseball’s Winter Meetings. We’ll update this post as news happens.

    WEDNESDAY
    Mariners get Chris Heston in trade with Giants
    Because Seattle Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto wasn’t leaving the Winter Meetings without making at least one trade, the M’s struck a deal with the Giants to acquire pitcher Chris Heston. There’s no immediate return for the Giants. They’ll get a player to be named later. Jon Morosi of MLB.com was first to report the news.

    BLS Take: Heston, 28, is best known for throwing a no-hitter in 2015 as a rookie. Beyond that, his MLB career has been pretty unremarkable. He’s 13-12 with a 4.16 ERA in parts of three seasons with the Giants. In 2016, though, he didn’t see much time at the big-league level. He started 14 games in Triple-A (2-9, 4.54) and worked his way through injuries. The real reason the Giants are making the deal? Well,

    Read More »from Done Deals: Mariners get Chris Heston in trade with Giants
  • The Chicago Cubs are still the team to beat, according to Bovada Las Vegas oddsmakers, but a flurry of moves on Tuesday has the Boston Red Sox right on their heels.

    In a span of hours, Boston added another ace by acquiring Chris Sale in a trade with the Chicago White Sox. They also picked up a critical bullpen piece, trading for right-handed reliever Tyler Thornburg from the Milwaukee Brewers. To cap off their big afternoon, Boston signed first baseman/designated hitter Mitch Moreland to a one-year deal.

    Though the Red Sox also parted with coveted prospects Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech, that series of moves changed the landscape quickly, moving Boston from a 9/1 favorite on Nov. 3 to a 11/2 on Wednesday. That closed the gap on Chicago, which was a 7/2 favorite the day after winning the 2016 World Series, and is now a 15/4 favorite. 

    Boston's acquisition of Chris Sale from a real needle-mover according to Las Vegas oddsmakers. (Getty Images)
    Boston’s acquisition of Chris Sale from a real needle-mover according to Las Vegas oddsmakers. (Getty Images)

    Here’s a look at Bovada’s current top ten

    Read More »from How much did Red Sox World Series odds improve following Chris Sale trade?
  • Tim Tebow is getting a baseball card. (Getty Images/Christian Petersen)
    Tim Tebow is getting a baseball card. (Getty Images/Christian Petersen)

    Rejoice and be glad, because Tim Tebow baseball cards are coming just in time for the holidays. Panini America will release its 2016 Elite Extra Edition on Dec. 21, which will feature an autographed card of Tebow with the New York Mets.

    Here’s a glance at what that card will look like, courtesy of Blowout Buzz:

    This technically isn’t the first Tebow baseball card to be available to the public. Leaf put out some on-demand cards of Tebow which can be purchased on the company’s page on eBay. That Leaf list was somewhat … gimmicky … as it also included cards featuring Gene Wilder, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump and Harambe.

    The Elite Extra Edition card will be the first autographed Tebow card to hit the market, and will represent the

    Read More »from You'll be able to purchase a Tim Tebow baseball card very soon
  • NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — The Washington Nationals are getting the centerfielder they’ve been chasing and the Chicago White Sox now look like a team stockpiling big-name prospects.

    The two teams completed a trade Wednesday that will send Adam Eaton to the Nats in exchange for a package of prospects led by Lucas Giolito, a 22-year-old right-handed pitcher who is the Nats’ No. 1 overall prospect. The Sox are getting two more minor-league pitchers too.

    Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports was first to report the deal was done. Our Jeff Passan confirmed it:

    According to Dan Hayes of CSN Chicago, the White Sox are also getting Reynaldo Lopez, the Nats’ No. 3 prospect, and Dane Dunning, the Nats’ No. 6 prospect.

    That’s a big return for Eaton, a 28-year-old who slashed .284/.362/.428 last season and plays above-average

    Read More »from White Sox trade Adam Eaton to Nationals for Lucas Giolito, two others
  • Don Mattingly's presser at the Winter Meetings on Wednesday. (AP)
    Don Mattingly’s presser at the Winter Meetings on Wednesday. (AP)

    NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — A lot has happened since the last Winter Meetings Journal. Chris Sale was traded, finally. Ian Desmond got a $70 million deal from the Colorado Rockies. Wade Davis is going to the Cubs. The Orioles said they won’t sign Jose Bautista because their fans don’t like him. Good times, right?

    Now that we’re in the last full day of the Winter Meetings — Thursday is mostly the Rule 5 Draft then getting to the airport on time — it’s time to see what unfinished business teams are trying to wrap up before we all depart the Gaylord National Resort & Conference Center.

    For this installment of the Winter Meetings Journal, we’re starting with five rumors like always, then a trip around the trade show, news on a long-overdue Hall of Fame nod and my favorite moment of the 2016 meetings.

    FIVE HOT RUMORS FOR TODAY
    1. It could be time for us to get some decisions out of the top two closers on the market. Our own Jeff

    Read More »from Winter Meetings Journal, Day 3: Time to wrap up that unfinished business
  • The Rockies signed Ian Desmond to a huge deal Wednesday. (Getty Images/Scott Halleran)
    The Rockies signed Ian Desmond to a huge deal Wednesday. (Getty Images/Scott Halleran)

    Imagine being a Colorado Rockies fan Wednesday morning. As you sit at work hoping your team does something this offseason, your phone buzzes. It’s a Rockies alert. You slowly start to read the words.

    “Rockies agree,” it begins, and you start to get excited. The Rockies signed someone. That’s great.

    The next words read, “to $70 million deal.” OK, now you’re losing your mind. Seventy million is a lot of money. It looks like the Rockies just signed an elite player. Maybe it was Edwin Encarnacion. He seems like a fit.

    The message finishes, “with Ian Desmond.” You stare at your phone for what feels like an hour, unable to gather your thoughts. Something finally comes to your mind and you blurt it out immediately. It’s just one word.

    “What?”

    That’s an apt response. Desmond signing with the Rockies presents far more questions than it does answers. Since this is a deal that can’t simply be summed up as “good”

    Read More »from Ian Desmond deal presents more questions than answers for Rockies
  • Hot Stove Digest: Cubs could land closer Wade Davis from Royals

    Welcome to The Stew’s Hot Stove Digest, our daily rundown of MLB news, rumors and gossip for Hot Stove season. Here you’ll find a quick recap of all the day’s action and other fun stuff from around the internet that we think is worth your time.

    THE HOTTEST RUMOR OF THE NIGHT: The Cubs and Royals were hot and heavy about a Wade Davis trade throughout Tuesday night. The offer reportedly being considered is a 1-for-1, Davis for outfielder Jorge Soler. The Cubs aren’t the only team in on Davis, though. At this point, it’s safe to say the Cubs are the favorite to land Davis but it’s not finished yet. [@JeffPassan]

    ICYMI: We had a blockbuster early Tuesday. The White Sox traded ace Chris Sale to the Boston Red in exchange for four prospects, including Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech. [Yahoo Sports]

    THE FALLOUT

    Read More »from Hot Stove Digest: Cubs could land closer Wade Davis from Royals
  • David Ortiz teases return after Red Sox trade for Chris Sale

    Retired Red Sox star David Ortiz reiterated all season and continued promising after the fact that he has no intentions of playing again in 2017 or beyond. Could it be though that Boston’s monumental trade for Chicago White Sox Chris Sale on Tuesday has Big Papi rethinking his decision?

    That’s the question we must pose based on Ortiz’s most recent Instagram post.

    My god???????????? my boy sale to Btown? You guys got me thinking ?????

    A photo posted by David Ortiz (@davidortiz) on Dec 6, 2016 at 4:59pm PST

    Ortiz’s caption reads: “My god my boy sale to Btown? You guys got me thinking.”

    “Thinking” can be interpreted any number of ways, of course, but if Ortiz is seriously thinking about what Red Sox fans hope he’s thinking about, then now might be a good time for them to start praying.

    In all likelihood though, Ortiz is just having a little fun with Red Sox fans. He’s said numerous times that his body is beaten up and that preparing for games had become an arduous task. Throughout

    Read More »from David Ortiz teases return after Red Sox trade for Chris Sale
  • Thanks to another record year of revenue in Major League Baseball and a historic World Series victory, Chicago Cubs players are set to receive a hefty postseason bonus.

    As announced by MLB on Tuesday, the Chicago Cubs will split up a record $27,586,017.75 postseason pot among their players. Since the Cubs will be issuing 66 full shares, that means each player will receive $368,871.59. That’s actually down from the $370,069.03 each Kansas City Royals player received after winning the 2015 World Series, but only because they awarded 58 full shares.

    As for the AL champion Indians, who missed three chances to win the series and the larger share, they received $18,390,678.50. They plan to issue 60 full shares, valued at $261,804.65.

    The Chicago Cubs celebrate after winning Game 7 of the Major League Baseball World Series against the Cleveland Indians on Nov. 3, 2016, in Cleveland. Photo from Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
    The Chicago Cubs celebrate after winning Game 7 of the Major League Baseball World Series against the Cleveland Indians on Nov. 3, 2016, in Cleveland. Photo from Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Overall, the players’ pool spread among the 10 postseason teams rose

    Read More »from Cubs to split up record $27.5 million in postseason pool money
  • The Orioles were brutally honest with Jose Bautista. (Getty Images/Jon Blacker)
    The Orioles were brutally honest with Jose Bautista. (Getty Images/Jon Blacker)

    Most baseball teams treat undesirable free agents they same way you might treat a failing relationship. When it’s clear things aren’t going to work out, you offer up some bland reasoning and try and break things off cleanly. If you’re lucky, that softens the blow and both sides are able to walk away with their dignity intact.

    Well, we found out Tuesday that the Baltimore Orioles are the spiteful ex of baseball. After meeting with Jose Bautisa’s camp Tuesday, the Orioles offered up a cold-blooded reason for passing on the outfielder.

    Ouch. That has to hurt. And while you would think Bautista is used to that type of thing, it’s pretty brutal that the Orioles came out and said it to him.

    It’s also an incredibly dumb way to run your franchise.

    Read More »from Orioles won't sign Jose Bautista because their fans don't like him
  • If New York Mets manager Terry Collins gets his way, Tim Tebow will be suiting up and playing for his team during spring training.

    On Tuesday, Collins told the gathered media at the Winter Meetings that he’d like to see the former Heisman Trophy winner get a real opportunity to showcase his skills this spring, which would obviously include getting playing time during Grapefruit League action.

    Those groans you hear aren’t just coming from National Harbor, site of the 2016 Winter Meetings. They’re coming from New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Florida and all points in between.

    The Tebow baseball experiment was fun for a hot-minute and perhaps even interesting for a couple minutes longer. He didn’t appear to be anything close

    Read More »from The Tim Tebow experience may be coming to spring training