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Curt Schilling Argues with Fake Sidney Ponson on Twitter After Hall of Fame Vote

Jeff Bagwell, Ivan Rodriguez and Tim Raines were all inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame on Wednesday, but former MLB ace Curt Schilling missed the cut, per

He took out some of his frustrations in an argument with a fake Twitter account for former pitcher Sidney Ponson (warning: NSFW):

Mike Oz of Yahoo Sports captured the entire conversation (warning: NSFW):


Players need 75 percent of the votes to be inducted, and Schilling received just 45 percent.

Buster Olney of ESPN The Magazine noted Schilling’s percentage of votes “collapsed from 52.3 [in 2016] to 45.”

From 1988 to 2007, Schilling played for the Baltimore Orioles, Houston Astros, Philadelphia Phillies, Arizona Diamondbacks and Boston Red Sox. He was a six-time All-Star, won three World Series championships (including one that broke the fabled “Curse of the Bambino” in 2004 with the Red Sox) and posted a sparkling career playoff ERA of 2.23.

However, Jorge L. Ortiz of USA Today argued that Schilling’s failure to win a Cy Young Award “takes some luster off his candidacy.” Ortiz also described Schilling’s win total of 216 as “a remarkably low number for such an accomplished pitcher over a 20-year career,” although the win-loss record of a pitcher is an imperfect way to judge his ability at best.

Still, Schilling’s Hall of Fame candidacy was about more than his on-field achievements.

Chris Cwik of Yahoo Sports’ Big League Stew said “Schilling’s case for enshrinement in the Baseball Hall of Fame no longer has to do with his arm, it has to do with his mouth.”

Wednesday’s argument won’t help Schilling’s reputation, but Cwik mentioned a number of more serious incidents that hurt the pitcher’s cause.

He noted Schilling was fired from ESPN for posting an anti-transgender meme, was suspended by the company for comparing Muslim extremists to Nazis and said presidential candidate Hillary Clinton should “be buried under a jail” in an interview with 610 Sports in Kansas City.

Schilling also shared an image of a shirt suggesting journalists should be lynched and said “so much awesome here,” as ESPN’s Bill Barnwell passed along (warning: NSFW):

Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe (h/t MSN) referenced that tweet and said he invoked the character clause in his Hall of Fame vote when he decided not to vote for Schilling. After the former pitcher commented on the shirt, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports said, “I just couldn’t respect myself and vote for him this year.” 

Rather than accepting induction into the Hall of Fame on Wednesday, Schilling found himself arguing with a fake Twitter account. Given the sentiments of some writers, he largely has himself to blame for that.

Perhaps he can take solace in the fact that Ponson isn’t in the Hall of Fame either.

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Jordy Mercer Contract: Latest News and Rumors on Negotiations with Pirates

The Pittsburgh Pirates “had preliminary discussions about a contract extension” with shortstop Jordy Mercer, per Rob Biertempfel of the Tribune-Review.

Continue for updates.

Deal Isn’t ‘Imminent’

Sunday, Jan. 8

Biertempfel cited a source who said “no deal seems imminent.” According to the source, there was “a little, but not a lot of talk” regarding a potential multiyear contract.

Biertempfel noted Mercer made $2.075 million in the 2016 season and is in the second of three years for salary arbitration eligibility. Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors projected in October that Mercer would make $4 million in 2017.

While there are bigger names on the Pirates roster, Mercer was solid during the 2016 season. He appeared in 149 games, which tied his career-high mark, and brought some timely power with 11 home runs and 22 doubles. He also finished with career highs in hits, RBI and walks as a regular in the Pittsburgh order:

However, Mercer’s defense took a step back in 2016.

According to FanGraphs, he was responsible for minus-nine total defensive runs saved above average at shortstop after checking in at an even zero in 2015 and nine in 2014.

Even though there have been some talks about an extension, it is difficult to envision the 30-year-old Mercer as the future of the shortstop position for the Pirates. ranked Kevin Newman as the organization’s fourth-best prospect in 2016, and he could be set to take over the position by the time Mercer’s years of salary arbitration eligibility are up.

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Manny Ramirez to Kochi Fighting Dogs: Contract Details, Comments and Reaction

Former major league outfielder Manny Ramirez is set to lace up the cleats overseas.

The Kochi Fighting Dogs—who play in Japan’s independent Shikoku Island League—announced Monday they reached an agreement with Ramirez on their official website.

According to the Associated Press (h/t Yahoo Sports), the league Ramirez joined has just four teams in it. The AP noted this is not the first time the retired MLB star has played in a different country, since he was a member of the EDA Rhinos of Chinese Professional Baseball in Taiwan in 2013.

Brandon Schlager of Omnisport (h/t Sporting News) wrote Ramirez’s playing career has “been dormant” since he was a player-coach for the Chicago Cubs’ Triple-A affiliate in 2014.

TMZ Sports reported in December Ramirez’s wife, Juliana, said he was “training extremely hard.”

Ramirez last played in the major leagues in 2011 as a member of the Tampa Bay Rays when he tallied 17 at-bats with just one hit and one RBI.

Despite the lackluster showing in 2011, he is one of the better sluggers of his generation. He played from 1993 to 2011 for the Cleveland Indians, Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago White Sox and Rays and finished his career with 12 All-Star appearances and nine Silver Sluggers.

He was a power hitter who hit for average as well, and he slashed .312/.411/.585 in his career with 555 home runs and 1,831 RBI. He finished with 12 seasons with more than 30 home runs and 12 seasons with more than 100 RBI during his MLB tenure.

While he was effective at the majority of his stops, Ramirez is best known for his time with Boston because he directed the franchise to its first title since 1918 as the 2004 World Series MVP. He was part of a daunting tandem alongside David Ortiz that helped the Red Sox overcome a 3-0 deficit in the American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees and beat the St. Louis Cardinals in the Fall Classic.

Ramirez is 44 years old and is well-removed from his prime, but he gives the Fighting Dogs a name with star power who will theoretically draw fans into the stadium. He also gets to continue playing the game that made him famous, even if he won’t be making as many headlines as he did ending a curse with the Red Sox.

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Tyson Ross: Latest News, Rumors and Speculation Surrounding Free-Agent SP

Starting pitcher Tyson Ross is one of the marquee free agents remaining on the market, and the race for his services is heating up.

Continue for updates.

Nationals Reportedly on Outside of Ross Market

Thursday, Jan. 5

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported that the Washington Nationals want Ross but are a “long shot.”

Cubs and Rangers Considered ‘Favorites’ to Land Ross

Wednesday, Jan. 4

Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports deemed the defending World Series champions and the Texas Rangers the “favorites” after meeting with the right-hander, and TR Sullivan of said the “Rangers really like Tyson Ross and are being aggressive in trying to get a deal done, sources say.”

Sullivan noted that Ross started Opening Day for the San Diego Padres but didn’t pitch again during the 2016 season because of shoulder inflammation. He then had thoracic outlet syndrome surgery in October, which led to the Padres’ decision to opt against tendering a contract for him.

R.J. Anderson of said Texas’ starting staff “remains messy behind Yu Darvish and Cole Hamels” even though it signed Andrew Cashner this offseason. Anderson suggested Ross could be a third starter for the Rangers if he is healthy again in 2017.

As for the Cubs, Jesse Rogers of wrote in November that the team announced it declined the $12 million option on Jason Hammel’s contract for the 2017 season. While the Cubs boast arguably the best top four of any starting rotation in baseball with Jon Lester, Jake Arrieta, Kyle Hendricks and John Lackey, there are questions about who will replace Hammel as the fifth man.

Mike Montgomery is one option, especially since he has starting experience. However, moving him to the rotation would take away a valuable southpaw from the bullpen who notched the save in Chicago’s dramatic Game 7 victory in the World Series.

There are clear questions about Ross’ health for the Cubs, Rangers or whichever team ultimately signs him. Still, he is just 29 years old and has proved in the past he can be an ace-like asset on the mound. He appeared in more than 30 games in three straight seasons before 2016 and posted head-turning ERA numbers in his three full years in a Padres uniform:

Signing Ross would be something of a low-risk, high-reward play for the Cubs.

He would be yet another shutdown pitcher if he returned to form, which would make the blossoming powerhouse even more formidable compared to the rest of the National League Central. If the health problems did re-emerge, Chicago still has four high-quality starters and can turn to Montgomery to fill the fifth spot.

There is more risk involved for Texas based on the sheer need for starting pitching, but the reward is also enticing. It is no wonder the team met with him as spring training approaches.

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Clay Buchholz to Phillies: Latest Trade Details, Comments and Reaction

Pitcher Clay Buchholz is no longer a member of the only MLB team he has known, following a tumultuous 2016 campaign. 

The Philadelphia Phillies announced they acquired Buchholz and sent minor league second baseman Josh Tobias to the Red Sox on Tuesday. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman initially reported the deal.

Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski told reporters the Red Sox will listen to potential trade opportunities, but there is “no major drive” to add more players. Dombrowski said trading Buchholz gives the team flexibility during the offseason and puts Boston under the CBT (competitive-balance tax).  

The New York Post‘s Joel Sherman thought the move played into what the Phillies have done this offseason:’s Mike Petriello likes how Philadelphia has assembled its starting rotation:

This comes after Rob Bradford of noted earlier in December teams that talked to the Red Sox about available pitchers sensed Dombrowski was more interested in trading Buchholz over Drew Pomeranz.

Scott Miller of Bleacher Report listed the Miami Marlins as one of the clubs interested in Buchholz, although he reported the $13 million 2016 price tag was too expensive.

Boston acquired Chris Sale from the Chicago White Sox this offseason and largely has its rotation set with Sale, David Price, Rick Porcello, Steven Wright, Eduardo Rodriguez and Pomeranz all as candidates, which made Buchholz expendable.

Reports of a potential trade involving the right-hander appeared during the regular season, as Heyman tweeted Buchholz “came up in talks” before the Aug. 1 non-waiver trade deadline. Buchholz is a former All-Star, but he was far from a shutdown pitcher in 2016, with a 4.78 ERA, 1.33 WHIP and 93 strikeouts in 139.1 innings.

The Red Sox moved him to the bullpen after his struggles; home runs in particular were a problem for Buchholz. He allowed 21 long balls, which was still lower than the 25 he gave up in 2012.

He returned to the starting rotation late in the season and turned in a strong finish with a 3.14 ERA in five September appearances. The impressive finishing kick likely made him a more attractive trade target for the Phillies this offseason.

Despite the 2016 struggles, Buchholz was solid for the Red Sox in 2015 with a 3.26 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and 107 strikeouts in 113.1 innings. It was a strong bounce-back effort after a lackluster 2014 campaign, when he finished with a 5.34 ERA.

Buchholz has been inconsistent for much of his career even though he made the All-Star Game in 2010 and in 2013:

The hope in Boston in 2016 was that he would look like the All-Star version of himself as the team chased the postseason. However, that was not the case for much of the year, and it reached the point where he said he felt “like something has [to] be going on” when discussing his limited usage in July, per Bradford.

His new team can at least take solace in the fact he has proved himself at the major league level. If he performs like he did in his All-Star campaigns and down the stretch in 2016, he will be an asset in 2017.

What’s more, he made playoff appearances for Boston in 2009, 2013 and 2016 and, theoretically, shouldn’t be intimidated by any important moments for his new squad. Philadelphia’s acquisition could be one of the better under-the-radar swaps of the offseason, especially if the 32-year-old can find consistency.

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Rockies’ Chad Bettis Announces He Had Surgery After Testicular Cancer Diagnosis

Colorado Rockies pitcher Chad Bettis released a statement through his agent Monday that said he was diagnosed with testicular cancer and had a testicle removed during surgery in November, per Jerry Crasnick of

The pitcher is expected to make a full recovery and will be ready to report to spring training in February, per Crasnick.

Bettis said he was caught off guard by the diagnosis and thanked the Rockies and the Major League Baseball Players Association for their support as he recovers.   

Bettis started 32 games for the Rockies in 2016 and finished with a 4.79 ERA and a 1.41 WHIP. While those numbers don’t jump off the page, he pitched a career-high 186 innings and struck out 138 batters. His previous high mark for strikeouts was 98, and he won 14 games after entering the 2016 campaign with just nine wins in his career.

The right-handed pitcher is just 27 years old and is listed as the Rockies’ No. 1 starter on the team’s depth chart. Bettis could start Opening Day if he fully recovers from this diagnosis.

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Chris Heston to Mariners: Latest Trade Details, Comments, Reaction

The Seattle Mariners reportedly added some pitching depth Wednesday.

According to Jon Morosi of MLB Network, the San Francisco Giants traded right-handed pitcher Chris Heston to Seattle. Chris Cotillo of SB Nation confirmed the trade through a source but added the return package was unknown.

Alex Pavlovic of CSN Bay Area noted the Giants were looking to clear space on their 40-man roster for recently signed closer Mark Melancon. Pavlovic added that “at least a couple of teams had reached out” to San Francisco to see if Heston was available, with the free-agency market lacking impact starters.

The future looked bright for the 28-year-old in 2015, when Heston made 31 starts for the Giants, posting a 3.95 ERA, a 1.31 WHIP and 141 strikeouts in 177.2 innings. He threw a no-hitter while striking out 11 batters against the eventual National League champion New York Mets on June 9 of that year, and it was easy to envision his becoming an anchor in San Francisco’s rotation.

However, the Giants added Johnny Cueto, Jeff Samardzija and Matt Moore, and Heston started the 2016 campaign in the bullpen. He made four appearances in April, struggling with a 10.80 ERA and just three strikeouts in five innings before being sent to the minors.

According to Charlie Wilmoth of MLB Trade Rumors, Heston dealt with an oblique injury in the minors, which partially explained his 4.54 ERA in 81.1 innings.

The Giants rotation is largely set, with Madison Bumgarner, Cueto, Moore, Samardzija, Ty Blach and Matt Cain as potential options, so Heston will have a better opportunity in Seattle.

Although the Mariners finished an impressive ninth in the majors in starting pitcher ERA in 2016, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports suggested they needed to add another starter in the offseason. Bob Dutton of the News Tribune noted the decision to trade Taijuan Walker to the Arizona Diamondbacks in November created that need.

The Mariners were 86-76 but missed the playoffs in 2016. If Heston can return to the form he demonstrated in 2015 as a formidable piece behind Felix Hernandez, they can challenge the reigning American League West champion Texas Rangers on the back of their starting staff.

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Adam Eaton to Nationals in Trade Including Lucas Giolito: Details, Reaction

The Chicago White Sox weren’t done dealing when they announced they traded pitcher Chris Sale to the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported Chicago sent outfielder Adam Eaton to the Washington Nationals in exchange for pitchers Lucas Giolito, Dane Dunning and Reynaldo Lopez.

Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports and Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports confirmed the deal.

According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, Chicago was looking at Giolito’s medical records before completing the trade because he underwent Tommy John surgery in the past.

Eaton is the trade’s headliner as the established major league contributor. He played for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2012 and 2013 before joining the White Sox for the last three seasons.

Eaton appeared in a career-high 157 games in 2016, slashing .284/.362/.428 with 14 home runs and 14 stolen bases in his third straight productive year for Chicago:

He also provided a stellar glove in right field, where he was responsible for 22 total defensive runs saved above average in 980.1 innings in 2016, per FanGraphs.

According to Sports IllustratedEaton’s 15.4 WAR over the last three seasons ranked behind only those of Mike Trout (27.8), Mookie Betts (17.6) and Kevin Kiermaier (16.4).

Sports Illustrated also noted he is under team control through 2021, and Steve Adams and Charlie Wilmoth of MLB Trade Rumors called his contract “wildly affordable” with two club options on top of three guaranteed years at just $19.9 million.

“This deal is built around asset allocation,” Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo told reporters. “Adam Eaton is a heck of a player with long-term control and [a] favorable contract.”

Eaton can play center field for the Nationals in 2017 but may eventually move over to right if Jayson Werth leaves in free agency next offseason.

“We need guys that come to play every day,” Nationals manager Dusty baker told reporters regarding Eaton. “This guy’s not afraid to get dirty.”

Superstar Bryce Harper seemed initially shocked by the trade but then welcomed Eaton to the team:

Washington landed a talented outfielder, but Rosenthal illustrated it still needs more pieces:

“You’ve got to give to get,” Rizzo told reporters regarding the package the Nationals parted with. “And we certainly got what we wanted in Adam Eaton.”

Rizzo also said the Nationals were dealing from a “position of depth” in that the 2016 starting rotation remains in tact.

As for the White Sox, the rebuild is underway. They landed Yoan Moncada—whom listed as the best prospect in baseball—Michael Kopech, Luis Basabe and Victor Diaz in the Sale swap.

“This is going to be an extended process,” White Sox general manager Rick Hahn told reporters. “This is going to take some time.”

Buster Olney of ESPN The Magazine noted a rival executive said “They’re kicking some butt,” when discussing Chicago. Bob Nightengale of USA Today even talked to “several scouts and executives” who said they thought the White Sox did better in the deal with the Nationals than Tuesday’s with the Red Sox.

“Our expectations were high in these moves,” Hahn told reporters. “We expected to get strong returns for Chris and Adam.”

Hahn also said there were “mixed emotions” in the deal but noted the club was “ecstatic” about the return. rated Giolito and Lopez as the third- and 38th-best prospects, respectively, in its 2016 rankings, noting that “Giolito has the highest ceiling among minor league pitchers, boasting an elite fastball that sits mid- to upper-90s and a 12-to-6 curveball that he throws with power and hard, downer action.”

He made six appearances and four starts at the major league level in 2016, posting a 6.75 ERA, a 1.78 WHIP and 11 strikeouts in 21.1 innings.

“The analytical side of it was very, very positive,” Rizzo told reporters regarding the decision to part with Giolito.

Following the trade, Giolito commented on the deal in a Twitter post:

Lopez pitched in 11 games for Washington in 2016, finishing with a 4.91 ERA, a 1.57 WHIP and 42 strikeouts in 44 innings. He started six games but is also capable of coming out of the bullpen.

Dunning was not as highly regarded as the other two, but ranked the 2016 first-round draft pick as Washington’s sixth-best prospect in its farm system.

The White Sox went 78-84 in 2016 and could be in for a couple of rebuilding seasons after shipping out their ace and a productive right fielder, but the future looks bright after their headlining moves at the winter meetings.

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John Farrell’s Contract Option Picked Up by Red Sox: Latest Details, Reaction

The Boston Red Sox won the American League East in 2016 under John Farrell, and the organization decided Monday to keep the manager around a bit longer. 

The Red Sox announced they exercised the club option on Farrell’s contract for the 2018 season.

Travis Lee of WMTW noted the Red Sox had already told Farrell he would return for the 2017 season. Monday’s news ensures the manager won’t have to worry about serving as a leader with lame-duck status as the team looks to win a second World Series title under his watch.

President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said Monday at the winter meetings that Farrell’s “solid presence” and the fact the “players played hard for him” ultimately contributed to the decision, per Scott Lauber of

The 2017 campaign will be Farrell’s fifth as manager of the Red Sox. The team is 339-309 under him in four years.

Things started as well as he could have possibly hoped with an American League East crown and World Series championship in 2013. However, there was a significant drop-off the following two seasons before a bounce-back effort in 2016:

Farrell also managed the Toronto Blue Jays in 2011 and 2012 and accumulated a 154-170 record before Boston hired its former pitching coach with one year remaining on his Toronto contract. The Red Sox sent infielder Mike Aviles to the Blue Jays as compensation (and received pitcher David Carpenter), per

Boston was swept by the eventual American League champion Cleveland Indians in the divisional round of the 2016 playoffs, but Monday’s news means there will be continuity in the dugout for a club that has a number of young building blocks, including 24-year-old Mookie Betts, 26-year-old Jackie Bradley Jr. and 24-year-old Xander Bogaerts.

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Brandon McCarthy Trade Rumors: Latest News and Speculation on Dodgers Pitcher

The Los Angeles Dodgers are looking to make a splash on the open market during the offseason, and Buster Olney of ESPN The Magazine reported that they are shopping right-handed pitcher Brandon McCarthy in an effort to create additional space on the 40-man roster. 

Continue for updates.

Trading McCarthy Could Clear Room for Hill

Sunday, Dec. 4

Olney noted Los Angeles’ 40-man roster sits at 39, which means the team would have to free some space in order to sign free-agent pitcher Rich Hill and other players. Trading McCarthy would help it do just that.

This comes after Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register said the Dodgers and Hill were “closing in on [a] multi-year deal,” which could increase the urgency to trade McCarthy or Scott Kazmir, who Olney also noted was being shopped.

It is not surprising Los Angeles is looking to bring back Hill after he posted a 1.83 ERA and 0.79 WHIP in six starts for the team down the stretch. He also anchored the rotation in the playoffs alongside Clayton Kershaw and finished with a 3.46 ERA, 1.31 WHIP and 19 strikeouts in three starts.

It makes sense to trade McCarthy to ensure there’s enough space to re-sign Hill, but Mark Polishuk of MLB Trade Rumors said moving the righty would be about more than just the roster space. Polishuk said only Kershaw, Kenta Maeda and Julio Urias are locks to be in Los Angeles’ rotation in 2017 and that trading McCarthy may force the team to look within at options such as Alex Wood and Jose De Leon.

From other teams’ perspectives, trading for McCarthy would come with some red flags.

McCarthy—who has pitched for the Chicago White Sox, Texas Rangers, Oakland Athletics, Arizona Diamondbacks, New York Yankees and Dodgers since entering the league in 2005—made just four starts in 2015 and 10 in 2016 because of Tommy John surgery. He finished the 2016 campaign with an unspectacular 4.95 ERA, 1.38 WHIP and 44 strikeouts in 40 innings.

He has just two seasons with a sub-4.00 ERA in his entire career, and they came in back-to-back efforts in 2011 and 2012 with Oakland. McCarthy will also turn 34 years old during the 2017 season and is likely well past his prime.

It is difficult to envision there will be significant interest in McCarthy from teams unless they see him as a reclamation project who is available as a trade chip for relatively cheap.

Polishuk did say the starting pitcher market is thin in terms of free agency this offseason, so teams desperate for depth could look his way. He did combine for 196 strikeouts in 280.2 innings in 2011 and 2012 with 3.32 and 3.24 ERAs respectively, but that was before the surgery that has limited him in the second half of his career.

There is plenty of risk involved with acquiring McCarthy, which could force Los Angeles to lower any asking price to accelerate a trade.

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