Outfielder Yoenis Cespedes is still a free agent, though it seems he might not be one for much longer.
When Chris Davis re-signed with the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday, it seemed to close the door on the possibility that Cespedes would land a long-term contract this winter.
(The Orioles had been the only team willing to offer Cespedes a five-year deal, albeit for less money than he sought, and it looks to me like it was a negotiating ploy with Davis rather than genuine interest.)
Unfortunately, only 10 of my 13 responses resulted in signed baseball cards that will go into my collection. The folks at the Atlanta Braves’ spring training complex are apparently not accepting mail this year, so both of my letters came back “Return to Sender.” (I had tried Fredi Gonzalez and Eric Young Jr., in case you’re curious.)
I did get a signed card back when I wrote to Minnesota Twins pitcher Tommy Milone, but I have no idea who signed it.
Charlie Williams, a Flushing native who was traded for Willie Mays after pitching in 31 games for the 1971 Mets, died on Jan. 27. Bill Monbouquette, the Mets pitching coach in 1982 and 1983, died on Jan. 25.
He can hit leadoff. He had a .342 on-base percentage this season, .358 for his career, has a habit of turning at-bats serial (3.97 pitch per plate appearance average) and doesn’t back down as a lefty hitter against lefty pitching. He is an excellent two-way player, a pro, a grinder and durable — he has played 147 or more games in eight of his nine seasons.
Sherman acknowledges that Markakis has flaws: his power is limited, he’s 31 and could already be in the declining years of his career, and he’s going to cost a fair amount of money – Sherman estimates three years and $40 million for a starting point.
Those are some pretty significant flaws.
But if Yasmani Tomas is too big of a risk, Michael Cuddyer is five years older and both Melky Cabrera and Nelson Cruz are going to get even more money, Markakis is worth a longer look.
The Division Series games didn’t really turn out the way a lot of people expected. The Angels and Tigers both got swept. The Nationals and Dodgers are out after winning just one game.
For the most part, that was what I wanted to see. I was rooting for the Royals over the Angels, the Orioles over the Tigers and the Giants over the Nationals. Unfortunately, I wanted to see the Dodgers win it all so ex-Met Justin Turner could get a ring and they couldn’t make it past the Cardinals.
So, it’s time to pick new teams to support. The ALCS opens tonight with “Big Game James” Shields on the mound for Kansas City against Chris Tillman and the Orioles. Shields may have baseball’s dumbest nickname, but the Royals are baseball’s Cinderella-story team this year and I can’t find a good reason to start rooting against them now. (I know I will miss tonight’s game – let’s see how much of the series I actually manage to watch.)
While the American League match up features two teams I don’t have strong feelings about, the National League is a different story. I don’t see any way a Mets fan could root for the Cardinals after 2006, 1987, 1985 and all of the history between the two teams. But the Giants present their own problems – I still haven’t forgotten Matt Cain‘s beaning of David Wright in 2009. And this year’s team went 6-1 against the Mets. Still, the Giants have some New York history and are probably the lesser annoyance, so go San Francisco… I guess.
When it comes to the World Series, I know I will be rooting for whichever American League squad makes it through the ALCS.
Of the remaining playoff teams, who are you rooting for?