The Chicago White Sox aren’t afraid to break out the checkbook if management thinks it will help them win games. This spring training has already found the team spending the big bucks in order to keep one of their stars at home. The White Sox and third baseman Yoan Moncada reached an agreement today that will see him locked up with the team for another five years in return for $70 million.
The contract also includes a sixth-year option for $25 million and a $5-million buyout. As one of the club’s big hitters, and as the team looks to recover from a drought, new Moncada is locked up he is going to be expected to earn every penny. The White Sox haven’t been a force in MLB since 2008, and have only three World Series titles to their credit – two at the turn of the last century. The most recent title was in 2005, but it was 1917 when the team last tasted victory.
Moncada Locked Up, Who Else?
Moncada isn’t the only one who has avoided arbitration or a possible trade, and this deal marks the biggest one ever offered by the team. The Milwaukee Brewers have agreed to keep Christian Yelich around for seven more years, in addition to the two for which he was still under contract, at a cost of $215 million, or $188.5 million for the seven subsequent seasons. The most the Brewers have ever paid for a player was $105 million, which came through an extension offered to Ryan Braun in 2011.
Oscar Mercado of the Cleveland Indians was playing in an exhibition game yesterday when things turned ugly. He went for a diving catch to capture a ball hit by Alex Dickerson of the San Francisco Giants and came down wrong on his left wrist. Fortunately, the injury doesn’t appear to be too severe, but he had to undergo an MRI today to make sure. The initial indication is that he only suffered a sprain, which might keep him out for a couple of weeks, but not for the season.
Beau Burrows was expected to produce great things for the Detroit Tigers this season, especially since he had been a first-round draft pick. Things don’t always work out the way people want them to, and the pitcher has been sent to Detroit’s Triple-A team, the Toledo Mud Hens. He had been picked up by the team straight out of high school in 2015, but has had a little difficulty this spring training and the Tigers want to give him a little time to readjust. He could eventually make it back, and manager Ron Gardenhire explains, “We like him as a starter, but ultimately in the end it would probably be bullpen.”
The Arizona Diamondbacks are down four more prospects, all pitchers. Joel Payamps, Emilio Vargas and Bo Takahashi were optioned to the Reno Aces, while J.B. Bukauskas went to the minors. The team now has 56 players still vying for a permanent spot on the roster.
Tim Tebow is officially done with the New York Mets, at least for another year. The former NFL quarterback, who has repeatedly tried to make it in MLB, was cut from camp today after giving it his fourth shot at a spot on the team. At least he walks away having scored his first Grapefruit League home run, which he logged against the Detroit Tigers last week.
Bubba Harkins Released
After 30 years supporting the LA Angels, Brian Harkins has been relieved of his duties. Bubba, as he’s known by the club and fans, started as a batboy and, after a brief separation, worked his way up to become the team’s visiting clubhouse manager. However, he was let go after it was discovered that he had been helping Angels opponents with their ball grip, providing illegal substances that would make the balls less slippery. While the practice is common and accepted by many, it is still illegal and the new MLB plans on taking a hard stance against any activity that could be perceived as being tied to cheating. Harkins just happened to be the fall guy to be used as an example, although the team has not admitted that it received any pressure from the league to let him go.
Baseball Hall of Famer Goose Gossage isn’t happy with the state of the (baseball) union. He told the Tampa Bay Times that the new MLB, with its stat-driven workouts, is bogus, and that the practice is a bunch of hogwash (his description was more colorful). He apparently feels the league has become too soft, and added, “I don’t even recognize this game that they’re playing. I really don’t. You get paid all this money for doing less, doing half.”
Gossage, indisputably one of baseball’s greatest pitchers, didn’t hold back his frustrations, adding, “It’s like the Democrats are running baseball. They’re trying to control something that is uncontrollable. And they’re taking all the beauty out of the game.” Too bad the words won’t hit where they’re needed the most.