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Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Baseball

Brodie Van Wagenen explains why Mets passed on hiring Joe Girardi

Joe Girardi

The New York Mets surprised some people by passing on an experienced candidate for manager in Joe Girardi and hiring a rookie manager in Carlos Beltran.

General manager Brodie Van Wagenen spoke a bit on the subject Monday at a news conference introducing Beltran as the team’s new manager. Van Wagenen suggested that Girardi was less open to a collaborative process and that he wasn’t a huge fan of the environment that Girardi might bring.

Girardi is a World Series winner who navigated the gauntlet at Yankee manager for nearly a decade. It was suggested after his departure, however, that he had issues communicating with his players. The comment about collaboration is also telling, as Girardi is experienced enough to have his own opinions about how to manage and operate a clubhouse. Those apparently didn’t go with what the Mets were looking for.

Report: Padres likely to pursue Stephen Strasburg as free agent

Stephen Strasburg

The San Diego Padres remain serious about contention, and it sounds like they have plans to chase one of the offseason’s premier free agents.

According to Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune, the Padres are likely to make a run at pitcher Stephen Strasburg after the ace opted out of his deal with the Washington Nationals. The World Series MVP attended San Diego State, and both of his parents still live in the area.

The Padres are said to be more focused on Strasburg than fellow free agent starter Gerrit Cole. Strasburg, however, is still viewed as most likely to remain with the Nationals on an increased deal.

There’s a lot that makes sense about the fit, and as the Manny Machado signing last winter shows, the Padres should be taken seriously. Plus, ownership has made clear that they expect to content in 2020. If Strasburg ultimately wants to remain with Washington, however, there’s little the San Diego can do.

Aroldis Chapman, Yankees agree to contract extension

Aroldis Chapman Yankees

Aroldis Chapman is not going anywhere.

Chapman had made some noise on Friday that he wanted a contract extension with the New York Yankees and would opt out of his current contract if he did not receive one. Well, the two sides agreed to one.

Chapman is already under contract for the next two seasons at $30 million. According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, the extension will give Chapman an extra year at $18 million.

That means Chapman will make the following over the next three years:

2020: $15 million
2021: $15 million
2022: $18 million
2023: Free Agent

Chapman, who turns 32 in February, had 37 saves in 42 opportunities this season. His 2.21 ERA was the lowest of his three full seasons with the Yankees. While lower than his career mark of 14.84 K/9, Chapman’s 13.42 K/9 rate in 2019 remains elite, as does his average 98.4 mph fastball velocity.

Stephen Strasburg opts out of contract

Stephen Strasburg

Stephen Strasburg may have thrown his last pitches for the Washington Nationals.

The World Series MVP has an opt-out clause in his contract that allows him to pass up the remaining four years and $100 of his deal in order to become a free agent. According to Mark Feinsand of MLB.com, Strasburg has chosen to exercise the option to terminate his deal.

Strasburg had a standout season for the Nationals that saw him lead the National League in wins (18) and innings pitched (209) during the regular season. He then went 5-0 during the postseason, including two wins in the World Series, with a 1.98 ERA on the way to be being named World Series MVP.

The door still remains open that Strasburg can return to the Nationals. However, after his stellar season there is little doubt the 31-year-old right-handed will receive lucrative offers that Washington will have to decide if it is willing to match.

Brian Dozier was so wasted at the Nationals’ parade, sang ‘Calma’ shirtless

Brian Dozier shirtless

Nobody enjoyed himself more at the Washington Nationals’ championship on Saturday than Brian Dozier.

The Nationals infielder seemed clearly drunk during an interview in which he gave a funny hug to a reporter and ranked the way he was feeling as “a million and one” on a scale of one to one million.

The fun didn’t end there. Then when the Nats were on stage, Dozier took off his shirt to the tune of “Calma,” which is the Nationals’ victory song from the season.

The “my wife’s gonna kill me” line was just too much. The guy knew he had gone too far.

But you know what? If you can’t have fun while celebrating a World Series title, when you can you have fun? You live your life, Dozier. Celebrate as much as you want.

Nats fans, they play it, you wear it: Get your Calma Champions 2019 T-shirt below:

Trea Turner calls for Nats to bring back Anthony Rendon at championship parade

The Washington Nationals just won their first World Series in franchise history, but Trea Turner is already looking ahead to their title defense.

Speaking on Saturday during the team’s championship parade, the Nats star publicly called for the team to re-sign fellow infielder Anthony Rendon, who is about to hit free agency. Turner, who appeared to look right in the direction of management as he said it, also got support from teammate Adam Eaton.

Rendon, who had a career year across the board with a .319 batting average, 34 home runs, and 126 RBIs, will be the most coveted hitter on the free agent market this winter. He has been a Nat for his entire career though and was arguably their most clutch player this postseason, so his importance to the team cannot be overstated.

Management has indicated multiple times that they want Rendon back, but they will have to pony up big-time in order to fend off the outside competition.

Sean Doolittle will not attend Nationals’ celebration at White House in protest

Sean Doolittle

Washington Nationals reliever Sean Doolittle announced on Friday that he will not attend the team’s celebration at the White House Monday for winning the World Series, and he says it is due to issues he has with Donald Trump.

Doolittle, 33, had two saves and three holds in nine appearances for the Nationals this postseason. He is known for his liberal beliefs and says that plays a role in his decision. However, he told The Washington Post that Trump’s “divisive rhetoric” and “widening the divide” in the country is the bigger reason for his decision.

“There’s a lot of things, policies that I disagree with, but at the end of the day, it has more to do with the divisive rhetoric and the enabling of conspiracy theories and widening the divide in this country. My wife and I stand for inclusion and acceptance, and we’ve done work with refugees, people that come from, you know, the ‘s—hole countries,’ ” Doolittle said (profanity edited by LBS). His s—hole countries was a reference to past comments by Trump.

Doolittle says he wants to be there with his teammates but “just can’t do it.”

Doolittle also knows he has and will be told to respect the office of the president. His response is that Trump’s actions while in office have shown a lack of respect for the position.

“People say you should go because it’s about respecting the office of the president,” Doolittle said. “And I think over the course of his time in office he’s done a lot of things that maybe don’t respect the office.”

“The rhetoric, time and time again, has enabled those kind of behaviors,” Doolittle said, referring to racism and white supremacy. “That never really went away, but it feels like now people with those beliefs, they maybe feel a little bit more empowered. They feel like they have a path, maybe. I don’t want to hang out with somebody who talks like that.”

Doolittle has been outspoken many times in the past. In 2017, he spoke out against the rally in Charlottesville. He’s spoken out about the wages for minor league players. And more recently, he defended teammate Daniel Hudson’s decision to miss a playoff game to be with his wife for the birth of their child.

Those who support Doolittle will likely back his decision and view him as praiseworthy for taking a stand. Those who do not may call him out for a lack of respect for the president (as noted by Doolittle), for not showing up to be there for his teammates, and for possibly contributing to the divide in the country he cited.