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Saturday, May 30, 2020

Baseball

Alex Rodriguez, Jennifer Lopez reportedly making second effort to buy Mets

Alex Rodriguez

Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez are renewing their efforts to buy the New York Mets, according to a report.

The New York Post’s Thornton McEnery reported on Friday night that A-Rod and J. Lo are working with JP Morgan Chase on formulating a plan to purchase the Mets, which have been for sale by the Wilpons.

A report last month said the two were working on an offer, but it fell through. McEnery says the two were going to partner with billionaire Wayne Rothbaum, but he got cold feet.

Their initial offer would not have included the cable network SNY as part of the purchase, but now McEnery says the Wilpons are willing to include a portion of the network in a sale, which would make a deal more plausible.

Rodriguez and Lopez are working with JP Morgan Chase, which has several high net worth clients, to try finding some investors interested in teaming up as part of an offer. The report also says the Kraft family has expressed interest in the project, but that is based on the plan to potentially build up the area surrounding Citi Field into an all-purpose entertainment spot.

Rodriguez and Lopez, who are engaged, are said to be worth several hundred millions of dollars and reportedly would be willing to put up a big chunk of their money to buy the team.

Royals GM Dayton Moore shares great reason for not cutting minor leaguers

Kansas City Royals logo

Kansas City Royals general manager Dayton Moore is receiving some positive attention for his comments about why his organization will continue to pay minor leaguers even though there are currently no minor league seasons, and even though some other teams are releasing players to cut costs.

Moore explained that they will continue to pay their minor leaguers through the end of the season because they believe it is important for the overall good of the sport of baseball.

“Understand this: The minor league players, the players you’ll never know about, the players that never get out of rookie ball or High-A, those players have as much impact on the growth of our game than 10-year or 15-year veteran players. They have as much opportunity to influence the growth of our game as those individuals who played for a long time because those individuals go back into their communities and teach the game, work in academics, are JUCO coaches, college coaches, scouts, coaches in pro baseball. They’re growing the game constantly because they’re so passionate about it. So we felt it was really, really important not to release one minor league player during this time, a time we needed to stand behind them,” Moore said.

That is just a great answer and reason. The Royals are also not furloughing or laying off any employees within the front office and instead have instituted tiered pay cuts at the upper levels.

We don’t have insight into the financial standing of organizations that did release players. Maybe they really just could not afford it. But you just have to figure that for what is such a minor cost in the big picture, the benefit of treating these players well was so much greater in the long run, for exactly the reason Moore explained. It’s a wonder that MLB as a whole did not figure this out, but they’re also in a labor dispute with their players during a pandemic, so we really can’t put anything past them when it comes to bad big-picture business decisions.

Son of Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo among minor leaguers released

Torey Lovullo

MLB teams have made the difficult decision to release hundreds of minor leaguers this week, and the son of Arizona Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo is among those who were cut.

The Red Sox released 22 minor league players on Friday, according to WEEI’s Rob Bradford. Lovullo’s son, shortstop Nick Lovullo, was one of the 22.

Nick Lovullo had been in Boston’s minor league system since 2016. He got all the way up to Triple-A Pawtucket last season and hit .200 with a .265 on-base percentage there. The 26-year-old hit .220 across three levels last year in 246 at-bats.

Torey Lovullo was a bench coach with the Red Sox from 2013-2016. He then went on to become the manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2017 and won the NL Manager of the Year award in his first season with the team.

ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported this week that the minor league baseball season is almost certain to be canceled, which has resulted in many players losing their jobs.

Trevor Bauer gets into it with ex-pitcher Kyle Lohse over Twitter

Trevor Bauer

Trevor Bauer has never been one to back down from a social media spat, and former MLB pitcher Kyle Lohse experienced that first hand on Thursday when he engaged in a heated exchange with the right-hander.

Bauer blasted Scott Boras earlier this week and accused the powerful agent of “meddling in MLBPA affairs.” Bauer’s issue seems to be that Boras has a big influence over the players’ union and is standing in the way of a deal that would allow the 2020 season to begin. Lohse, who was repped by Boras during his playing career, disagrees with Bauer and let the Cincinnati Reds star know by calling him out on Twitter.

That turned out to be the first shot in what became a full-blown war. Bauer fired back by saying he would hire Boras as his agent if he wanted Boras to represent his interests. Bauer then told Lohse he is “out of touch” because he no longer plays. Lohse replied by calling Bauer immature.

Things then got even more personal. Lohse accused Bauer of only caring about Boras’ handling of the negotiations between MLB and the players because Bauer’s own agent, Rachel Luba, doesn’t have a say. Lohse claimed he knows for a fact that Bauer and Luba are dating, and Bauer accused Lohse of being sexist for bringing that into the debate.

The beef continued for a while. After Lohse slept on it, he decided to demand an apology from Bauer on Friday morning.

Boras represents some of the biggest names in baseball and signed clients to over $1 billion in contracts over the offseason. He is often about getting the most money for his players, so he likely is not taking too well to proposed salary cuts from owners this year. He even criticized them from trying to back out of a previous deal.

Bauer, of course, is one of the most opinionated people in sports. He and some other players have been openly opposed to MLB’s plan to return to play.

Report: David Price to pay for Dodgers minor leaguers

David Price

David Price is stepping up for some Los Angeles Dodgers minor leaguers, according to a report.

Baseball writer Francys Romero reported on Twitter that Price is paying $1,000 to each Dodgers minor league player for the month of June.

If you figure there are around 200 minor leaguers in the Dodgers’ system, that is a generous $200,000 donation from Price, if this report is accurate. It’s not something he or any other player is obligated to do, but would be very thoughtful and gracious of him.

Price, 34, has made over $200 million in career earnings and is set to earn $64 million in 2021 and 2022. His reported gesture is similar to what Shin-Soo Choo did for Texas Rangers minor leaguers in April.

Minor league players don’t have it easy, so any help they get is significant.

Minor leaguer Andrew Church rips Mets over Tim Tebow, ‘toxic’ culture

Tim Tebow

There was a massive purge of minor league players by MLB teams on Thursday, and Andrew Church was among those to lose his job. The former New York Mets second-round pick proceeded to rip the team in a lengthy Instagram post in which he also took a jab at Tim Tebow.

Below is Church’s Instagram post.

View this post on Instagram

Please read to understand my true feelings. Today I got released by the NY Mets organization. The people on the other end of the phone had nothing but good things to say and I appreciated that very much. Anyone that has seen me play and compete knows that I lay it all on the line no matter what. Every practice, every game. I am a competitor, a true warrior. It’s in my DNA. From the outside looking in, my baseball career probably raises a lot of questions. Why did you retire and come back? How come your numbers aren’t very good if you were that dedicated? I have always kept my opinions to myself out of respect for the organization I signed a contract with. But now that it’s officially over with them I’d like to say some things. One of the main reasons I retired was to keep myself from expressing how I felt. I was bitter, frustrated, and angry at the Mets organization. I felt my competitive nature was being taken advantage of. They knew I would never say no to competing and would fly me around to fill in for anyone that got injured. I realized this wasn’t in my best interest when my delayed flight finally landed in the 3rd inning, and I was on the mound in a AAA baseball game for the first time, without any warm up throws. My UCL originally tore that night. Instead of seeing a doctors like I asked, they sent me back to High A to pitch in the playoffs. When I told them I couldn’t I was made out to be the bad guy. Then the next year, they made a mockery of our team by putting a celebrity on it to sell more tickets. I saw players lose their jobs because of it. We weren’t playing to win, we were playing to make everyone else money. Not the players. We never saw a cut. Well, allegedly that one player did. I think people are starting to understand that more now but they didn’t in 2018 when it was happening again. I was fed up. I spent my whole childhood honing in my passion and anger, to not let it get out of control, but it was and I was going to explode. So I took the opposite direction, I bottled it and silenced myself. I took some time away and cleared my head. Continued in comments..

A post shared by Andrew Church (@papachurch36) on

Here is what he said in his lengthy note:

“Please read to understand my true feelings,” Church began.

“Today I got released by the NY Mets organization. The people on the other end of the phone had nothing but good things to say and I appreciated that very much. Anyone that has seen me play and compete knows that I lay it all on the line no matter what. Every practice, every game. I am a competitor, a true warrior. It’s in my DNA. From the outside looking in, my baseball career probably raises a lot of questions. Why did you retire and come back? How come your numbers aren’t very good if you were that dedicated? I have always kept my opinions to myself out of respect for the organization I signed a contract with.

“But now that it’s officially over with them I’d like to say some things.

“One of the main reasons I retired was to keep myself from expressing how I felt. I was bitter, frustrated, and angry at the Mets organization. I felt my competitive nature was being taken advantage of. They knew I would never say no to competing and would fly me around to fill in for anyone that got injured. I realized this wasn’t in my best interest when my delayed flight finally landed in the 3rd inning, and I was on the mound in a AAA baseball game for the first time, without any warm up throws. My UCL originally tore that night. Instead of seeing a doctors like I asked, they sent me back to High A to pitch in the playoffs. When I told them I couldn’t I was made out to be the bad guy.

“Then the next year, they made a mockery of our team by putting a celebrity on it to sell more tickets. I saw players lose their jobs because of it. We weren’t playing to win, we were playing to make everyone else money. Not the players. We never saw a cut. Well, allegedly that one player did. I think people are starting to understand that more now but they didn’t in 2018 when it was happening again. I was fed up. I spent my whole childhood honing in my passion and anger, to not let it get out of control, but it was and I was going to explode. So I took the opposite direction, I bottled it and silenced myself. I took some time away and cleared my head.

“Baseball has always been the only constant in my life. No matter if I’m active or not I will always play. It’s my release. I asked to be reinstated in 2019, when a new player development regime took over for the Mets. I honestly think they are making strides to be a better organization, but the culture that has been built for decades within that organization is toxic. Filled with snakes and bottom feeders trying to elevate their professional careers at the expense of the players, with no remorse.

“I hadn’t pitched in a competitive game in over a year, but they needed a filler because someone got hurt the night before. I took a red eye flight, to one stadium, a 7 hour bus trip, another flight, and a taxi to the stadium I would be pitching in. Again I was in a AAA baseball game with no worry about my well being. I lost my drive to perform for an organization who continuously treats us as pawns in their chess games. Especially when the ones doing it, don’t know what it takes to be a baseball player. And some must’ve just forgotten.

“Ignorance is a scary thing. We see it in mainstream society too often. Ignorance with power and a lack of empathy is, in my eyes, the scariest of all evils. Thank you to all the players and coaches who had the passion and drive to empower each other and push the game forward. F–k you to everyone who wasn’t. You have no place in professional baseball.

“To my future, you all know I can’t stop. And I get scary when I’m motivated. Watch out! CarveNation.”

Though he didn’t mention Tebow by name, it’s very clear he was talking about the former Heisman Trophy winner when he said they put a celebrity on the team to sell tickets. From 2017-2019, the two were teammates on the St. Lucie Mets, Binghamton Rumble Ponies, and Syracuse Mets at various stages.

There is no doubt this was an awful day for Church and any other minor leaguer who got released. It stinks for anyone to have their dream of playing pro ball come to an end like this — not on their terms. But that doesn’t mean Church’s rant was necessary, and it certainly does not reflect well upon him.

Church was a second-round pick by the Mets in 2013 and has had seven years to make his mark. He has had plenty of chances. He has a career 7.11 ERA in 62 innings in Double-A and a 7.83 ERA in 16 innings in Triple-A. He walked away from the organization to briefly retire and then was allowed back. He wrote in his note that he was angry at the Mets before retiring. That shows me he was blaming the wrong sources for his problems and not looking at himself.

The Mets have given us plenty of reasons to laugh at them over the years, but they’ve also developed plenty of good players (Pete Alonso, Michael Conforto, and Jeff McNeil to name a few). Church seems to be blaming the team for all that has gone wrong in his career, and is taking unnecessary shots at Tebow. He needs to look in the mirror about the reasons why he didn’t make it. His performance just wasn’t good enough.

Felipe Vazquez now facing child porn charges in St. Louis

Felipe Vazquez

Felipe Vazquez is in jail awaiting trial in his child pornography case, and he is now facing a charge in the state of Missouri.

Vazquez, the 28-year-old Pittsburgh Pirates closer, was arrested in September over his alleged sexual relationship with a minor. He is already facing charges in both Florida and Pennsylvania, and he is also facing charges for activity in St. Louis.

According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Vazquez was charged in February with one count of furnishing pornographic materials to a juvenile, which is a Class A misdemeanor in Missouri. Vazquez is accused of sending photos to the same underage girl from his St. Louis hotel in July when the Pirates were in town to play the Cardinals.

Vazquez met the girl, who was 13 at the time, at the PNC Park bullpen in 2017. Their communication continued through last year when she was 15.

Vazquez is being held in jail without bail. His attorney claims the girl lied to Vazquez about her age and initiated sexual contact. He was an All-Star in 2018 and 2019.