"I've said it numerous times over the years, but it's worth repeating now. I've had a lot of teammates over the years with the Yankees, but I will always consider Hideki one of my favorites. The way he went about his business day in and day out was impressive.."
-- Derek Jeter, on Hideki Matsui's retirement yesterday.
FRIDAY FUN FACT: Hall of Fame outfielder Dave Winfield was taken in MLB, NBA, and NFL drafts and probably got all the girls in high school. Paging Bo Jackson?
NEW POLL >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> check it out
It's a slow week baseball fans. We've got a quick Hot Stove and hopefully something big happens soon. As less and less of available players stay free agents, there's obviously less and less to report so expect the next few weeks to be sporadic and we'll do our best to recap every transaction that's happened so far before we kick into our 2013 previews. (hint: I will still hate the Yankees)
Let's get into action. . .
Uh oh, Mike Napoli. With rumors yesterday that the Red Sox were negotiating with 1B Adam LaRoche the first reaction from most insiders were: why? Well, it's because even though the Sox and 1B/DH/C Mike Napoli agreed to a deal 24 days ago, the deal still hasn't been finalized.
What could the problem be? Well, Napoli has an apparent "hip" issue. That could be holding up the signing and the main reason the Red Sox still feel the need to talk to LaRoche.
- My guess is that the "hip" injury has been diagnosed as "31 years old and past its prime."
- Or it could be issues with contract language if the Sox want to put in a clause or something should Napoli get hurt. A similar issue occurred a few seasons ago when the Red Sox signed J.D. Drew and held up finalizing a contract for almost two months. In J.D. Drew's case, probably a good idea.
- It's clear that Napoli has some sort of problem but it could more serious than either side believed. Or the Red Sox realized that signing a 31-year-old with health problems and mediocre defense for $39 million wasn't that good of an idea. Bleh.
- Other reports indicate Napoli is already talking to at least one other team. It could be a bluff, it could be his agents trying to gain leverage or it could be a sign the deal is really falling apart and they're looking for other options. Maybe he can hire Anibal Sanchez agent?
- It kind of sucks for him, but the reality is that in today's age, teams want to know everything about the players they are about to invest millions of dollars into. Imagine sitting at a job interview and the HR guy goes, "Well, sorry but you have narcolepsy so have fun going back to Boise. Our $150,000 is off the table."
- My guess? I'm thinking that the deal will probably fall through. While we highlighted yesterday why it's important to use caution with "rumors" there seems too much smoke for there not to be fire. Don't worry Mike, I don't care for Boston either.
- Hideki Matsui has decided to hang up the cleats. The 38-year-old outfielder known as Godzilla in Japan retired yesterday, finishing with 175 career home runs and 1,000,000+ "what the ****'s" from Phillies fans during the 2009 World Series. He was basically was their version of 2012 ALCS Delmon Young.
- Heck of a career to a guy that was pivotal in the new Asian influx of players in the MLB. Loved in both Japan and the Bronx, Matsui had 500 career home runs in both America and Japan. Impressive considering I have a total of 3 career home runs in summer softball leagues in the same amount of time. All in America by the way.
- In terms of influence with the Asia-MLB connection, well, Ichiro obviously started it but there's only one Ichiro and Matsui proved that Japanese power hitters can do it too. Farewell, Godzilla. You were everything that Kosuke Fukudome was supposed to be and who could forget this?
- Brewers have signed RP Mike Gonzalez. Can't get enough lefty specialists and Gonzalez was good against lefties last year. It may help with all the Anthony Rizzo's and Joey Votto's of the NL Central.
- Sadly, this is like, the only transaction today worth mentioning even remotely. Unless you want to know where Aaron Laffey signed a minor league contract. But if you really want to know, MLB Trade Rumors is linked to your right you lazy butt >>>>>>
- My first thought when Russell Martin signed with the Pirates is that it would really hurt New York (Any Yankees fans feel comfortable with Chris Stewart or Austin Romine catching?). My second thought was AWESOME! For those of you stats junkies, Pinstripe Pundits has a great article about the same thing I was thinking. Except for the awesome the Yankees are worse part. Check it out here and please NY bring back Jorge Posada.
- Another good blog post to check out (see how I'm letting other people do my work here today?) is Wahoo's on First's take about the Nick Swisher signing. He's like their version of Torii Hunter. But I ain't scared of the Indians.
- Another good baseball blog "The Beanball" says that newly acquired Red Sock Joel Hanrahan is "not a closer." Which is what I tried telling everybody about Jose Valverde before the playoffs this year. I'm guessing with every leadoff, 9th inning walks leading to blown saves in Boston another "Fire Ben Cherington" website will pop up. The domain is for sale http://www.firebencherington.com/ so get it fast. Go internet!
And finally a new poll. The last one I accidentally deleted before I could capture the screenshot but it went like this:
Which is Josh Hamilton most likely to hurt?
A. AL West Pitching
B. Ranger's fans hearts
C. Himself at some point next year
D. The Angels future payroll
About 50% of the 1 million resposes (actually ten) answered with "D" -- 40% said "A" while a couple picked "C" and the lone Rangers fan reading this blog said "B" and none for Gretchen Weiners.
Personally, I think that it will be "A" short term, "D" for the future, "C" very likely in the future and "B" all the time. So congrats on everyone being right. Now you know what it's like to be me all the time.
Check out our new poll today. You've got about a week to vote so use your precious democracy and never take that right for granted. VOTE!
I'm out for today. I promise this is the last Hot Stove where Mike Napoli takes up half the post. Actually, Tweet him at @MikeNapoli25 and tell him I've got some great career advice. You don't end up in a state 2,000 miles from home and severely underemployed like myself without making some great life decisions I'd like to pass on to him.
My Twitter is @cniermann if you want follow me to get some great life tips as well. And a little bit of baseball too. If you want just the baseball follow @FullCountBlog
You were great baseball freaks, catch you soon!