Happy Sunday! The Mariners are taking the weekend off from their virtual Fan Fest type activities (still refusing to call it “Baseball Bash”), but there’s still plenty of rumor-mongering around the league as the Hot Stove gradually heats back up. And if you had a particularly busy week, make sure to poke around on the homepage, as there was quite a bit of content on the site this past week. (And next week will likely be the same, with the [grits teeth] Baseball Bash continuing, and Spring Training drawing one precious week closer.)
In Mariners news:
- Keynan Middleton did an interview with Nick Krupke of Portland’s KPTV where he talked about coming home to the Northwest and Hank Aaron’s legacy. Check out selections in this Twitter thread or on the KPTV Facebook page.
- She’s not technically a Mariner, but Sis Bates is one of the greatest infielders in Seattle, so this Seattle Times story about her awesomeness goes up here .
Around the league:
- After being some of the later entrants to the Hot Stove season, the Red Sox are starting to stir. After adding Kiké Hernández on Friday, yesterday Boston added Garrett Richards on a one-year/$10M deal, and they are reportedly still seeking a left-handed bench bat, with former Mariners Brad Miller and former Mariner killer Marwin González among names that have been mentioned.
- The Reds made a trade with the Astros for LHP Cionel Perez, sending C Luke Berryhill to the Astros as Houston continues to seek a long-term solution at catcher.
- Supposedly Brad Hand will make a decision on where he will be signing soon, and honestly, it can’t happen fast enough, as Brad Hand puns bring me the opposite of delight that the continual iteration of the Bernie Sanders meme does. (Wait...mittens...Hand...is this anything? No no quick, move on to the next bullet point, this is dangerous territory.)
- Continuing the turnover in Pittsburgh, Jameson Taillon appears to be the next Pirate who is likely on the move. The Pirates are said to be seeking a young catcher as part of the return, which makes sense for a team that is a) rebuilding around some young talent like Brennan Malone, Liover Peguero, and newly-acquired OF Hudson Head; and b) currently lacks anything approaching a catcher of the future in their farm system. That doesn’t make Seattle an ideal trade partner with Pittsburgh (the first person to suggest a Cal Raleigh trade will be reported to the authorities). Mark Feinsand reports the Yankees to be the frontrunner for Taillon, which could make sense as the Yankees have four (4) catchers in MLB’s Top 30 list, including Arizona’s Austin Wells, picked up in the first round of the 2020 draft.
- Derek Holland is heading to the Tigers on a minors deal and taking the best player Twitter handle (@Dutch_Oven45) with him. Derek Holland as a Tiger just feels right, doesn’t it? Tigers fans, don’t answer that.
- The Marlins are shopping in the same off-season bargain bins as the Mariners, apparently; Jon Heyman reports that the Marlins are looking below the Duvall/Rosario tier and at Anthony Santander, the 26-year-old outfielder who could probably be had in trade from the bottom-dwelling Orioles for a moderate prospect cost (perhaps some of those international free agents the Orioles are now interested in). Santander might also be appealing to the Mariners for the same reason (the reason is cheapness!), as he’s a switch-hitter with neutral splits and the Mariners are seeking a left-handed bat. Or, and hear me out here: the Mariners could save their prospects, and just sign Eddie Rosario to be that left-handed bat.
- Speaking of Santander, Dan Connolly at the Athletic reports that the Orioles apparently tried to get him and Trey Mancini—who you might remember from his heroic cancer battle—to take arbitration deals where they would defer some of their salaries into 2022/23, allowing the Orioles to cut down their operating budget in 2021. This unorthodox move might point to a future sale of the team, or it might just be the Orioles—who have cut costs every possible way this off-season—further trying to tighten their belts. Either way, yikes.
- Trevor Bauer update: the Mets and the Dodgers are both interested, but on shorter (four years-ish) deals. Just sign with the Angels already and get it over with.
- Speaking of Bauer, Ken Davidoff of the NY Post argues that Bauer’s past social media behavior, specifically when he engaged with a young woman in a manner considered by many to be bullying, should disqualify him from a job with the Mets if the organization wants to preserve any appearances that they care about women.
- Also from Ken Davidoff: after listening to a podcast featuring ex-Mariner Danny Farquhar, Davidoff posits that if Farquhar was more well-known in the game, the Astros’ cheating scandal would have been exposed earlier. There are some pretty good Farq quotes in the article, or you could listen to the podcast itself for a firsthand account: it’s called The Edge and it’s from Ben Reiter, who wrote a glowing book about the Astros before the cheating scandal came to light.
- The Australian Baseball League started up this weekend, the final of the off-season/foreign leagues to see us through to Spring Training. The players aren’t as high-profile as those in LIDOM or the NPB (or the KPB or CPBL, for that matter), but ABL has some advantages all its own, namely in access: broadcasts are in English, so for English-speakers games are a little easier to follow without having to hang on every pitch, and they’re mostly streamed free on YouTube. If you’re a west-coast based night owl, consider firing up a game instead of Netflix for falling asleep.
- There have been some very good Hank Aaron stories coming out, but if you click on just one, I recommend this one from ESPN’s Howard Bryant that contains an absolute banger of a paragraph.
Pausing bird content for a week to share this video of Larry King interviewing Hank Aaron from 1991. King, who passed away yesterday, was a lifelong fan of baseball and was even part of a group trying to bring professional baseball to Buffalo in 1991 with the Buffalo Bisons. While 2020 sucked in a lot of ways, I hope Larry King got a kick out of seeing professional baseball come to Buffalo for the first time in over 100 years when the Blue Jays were forced to relocate to Sahlen Field this summer.