Mashup: NL ROY, Thomas, Hernandez, Allison, Burgos
Some solid reading to share on a Sunday night …
- Let’s lead off once again with Tim Kurkjian of ESPN. Today he took a look at the National League Rookie of the Year race and it’s somewhat historic presence. There are enough viable candidates to nearly field a full lineup and with all of the impact second-tier guys to fill in the gaps it’d make one heck of a 25 man roster. In an Insider-Only followup he names Jason Heyward of the Braves, Jaime Garcia of the Cardinals, and Buster Posey of the Giants as the likely top three in the final vote. Posey could certainly pull it off with a strong final month to get the Giants into the Wild Card despite poor seasons from both Pablo Sandoval and Tim Lincecum. However, if they fall short and the Braves continue on track to winning the NL East then the nod will likely go to Heyward who’s done it since Opening Day. Garcia’s had a great season but he hasn’t alone held such an impact on the Cardinals (he does have help from Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright – two of the best pitchers in the NL) as the other two have on their teams.
- The White Sox retired Frank Thomas’s number this afternoon with a number of former teammates and White Sox greats in attendance. Arguably the best hitter in team history, it was also announced that sometime during next season there will be a bronze statue of Thomas unveiled to further remember him. Fun fact, in the movie Mr. Baseball, the young slugger who is drafted by the Yankees and forces Tom Sellek’s trade to Japan was none other than Thomas.
- The Nationals signed veteran innings-eater Livan Hernandez to an extension which covers next season. Hernandez had said for much of the year that he had hoped to end up back in Washington next year. It’s a very team friendly deal – one year, $1 Million, plus incentives. This gives the team some added depth considering Stephen Strasburg will miss most (if not all) of 2011. Of course, even with a healthy Strasburg I would have figured Hernandez would return. Nationals GM Mike Rizzo said that Hernandez “has earned it” when asked about the signing by the Washington Post’s Adam Kilgore.
- At this point we’ve all heard of Josh Hamilton’s story – top prospect, plagued by substance abuse, nearly out of the game for good, to All Star – but few recall the similar plight of Jeff Allison. Allison was the Marlins 1st Round Selection in 2003 out of a Massachusetts high school. That year he was named Baseball America’s High School Player of the Year (the only player out of the state who’s ever won the award) after completing his senior year with a 9-0 record and 0.00 ERA (no, that’s not a typo). Allison has had similar troubles to Hamilton and missed all of the 2004, 2006, and 2007 seasons due to various arrests and stints in rehabilitation. Maureen Mullen of the Boston Globe checked in on Allison with a nice writeup of what he’s done to overcome his challenges and reminds us that he’s still playing. He’s in AA, with the Marlins. I honestly had been under the impression he was out of the game altogether. Good for him for remaining persistent and working hard to get back this far.
- There have been stories out of of Central America in the past of former players getting into troubles with the law. Unfortunately another has surfaced as former Met pitcher Ambiorix Burgos has been charged with kidnapping and attempted murder in the Dominican Republic. He allegedly tried to force his ex-wife to eat rat poison. Burgos hasn’t pitched since being released in December of 2008 by the Mets after being charged (but not convicted) in a fatal hit-and-run that killed two women.