Corner infielder Mike Hessman has announced his retirement, J.J. Cooper of Baseball America notes. Hessman initially tweeted that he was retiring to become a coach, although that tweet has since been deleted. Hessman’s retirement is a move that is minor by definition but more noteworthy than that term suggests — among fans of minor league baseball, Hessman’s career will be remembered as legendary. No minor league slugger, in fact, has been more prolific — this season, the 37-year-old Hessman topped Buzz Arlett’s record with his 433rd career minor league homer. The Braves selected Hessman in the 15th all the way back in 1996 — a draft in which they also took Jason Marquis, Mark DeRosa and Marcus Giles, which gives a sense of just how long Hessman was in the minors. He reached Triple-A six years later and made his big-league debut in 2003
Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig, who according to multiple reports was involved in a physical altercation at a Miami nightclub, will be investigated as part of MLB’s domestic violence policy, according to an MLB spokesperson.
It’s not just the music and fifth-inning coffee break that make baseball different in Cuba. For the first two games of Penn State University’s four-game exhibition tour against clubs from this nation’s top league, one member of the umpire crew has been female.
The Indians announced that they have signed former Mets catcher Anthony Recker to a minor league deal with an invitation to Major League Spring Training (Twitter link). Recker is a client of All Bases Covered Sports Management. The 32-year-old Recker has logged significant time with the Mets as a backup over the past three seasons, hitting .190/.256/.350 in 432 plate appearances from 2013-15. Recker also has experience in the Majors with the Cubs and Athletics, who originally selected him in the 18th round of the 2005 draft. Recker struggled to throw out runners in 2015, catching just one of the 11 men who attempted to steal against him, although those struggles were uncharacteristic; prior to 2015, Recker had caught 24 of 80 attempted base-stealers for a rate of 30 percent. His pitch-framing numbers, however, have come in consistently below the league average. While Recker has been a serviceable backup for the Mets, he reached arbitration eligibility this year. The Mets, who have Travis d’Arnaud lined up to start in 2016, also have another highly touted young catcher in Kevin Plawecki and a backup alternative in Johnny Monnell — each of whom is making roughly the league minimum.
This may be a bit of a cheat on the “this date” headline but it wouldn’t be the first time I’ve bent the rules at Thanksgiving — it’s anything goes when my family plays our post-dinner game of Rummoli. (Nothing says Thanksgiving like bluffing your grandma out of a nickel.) Here are some of the notable transactions that have occurred both on November 26th and also transactions that took place on past Thanksgiving Days… 2014: It was a year ago today that the Diamondbacks signed Cuban star Yasmany Tomas to a six-year, $68.5MM contract that contained a player opt-out clause after the fourth season. Between defensive struggles and a .273/.305/.401 line with nine homers over 426 PA, Tomas posted a below-replacement -1.3 fWAR in 2015. Arizona signed Tomas without having a clear idea of where he would play, and a year later, that’s still an open question — Tomas struggled badly at third and the corner outfield spots have now been filled by David Peralta and Ender Inciarte. Tomas will get his share of at-bats against southpaws since both Peralta and Inciarte are left-handed hitters, but the D’Backs certainly expected more from their investment than a platoon bat
Let’s take a quick look in at a few notes from the NL East: Free agent utilityman extraordinaire Ben Zobrist has already been tied to just about every team in baseball, including the Nationals and Mets. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports and MLB Network’s Tom Verducci see those NL East rivals as strong fits and real threats to add the veteran. (Links to Rosenthal’s Twitter account.) All indications are that Zobrist remains in very high demand with the open-market season in full swing. Young Braves lefty Kolby Allard tweets that he’s only had one back surgery, contrary to reports suggesting he’d had two separate procedures. Regardless, what’s important here is the fact that Allard says he’s “recovering quickly” and expects to be ready for spring camp. The 18-year-old remains an intriguing player to watch as he enters his first full season of professional ball. Some Braves fans have been left frustrated with the team’s front office
The A’s reacquired infielder Jed Lowrie on Wednesday in a trade with the Astros. Houston received Minor League right-hander Brendan McCurry in return.
The Indians boasted one of the American League’s best bullpens last season and have the ability to return with virtually the same cast next year. Given the volatile nature of a relief corps, though, the club is always on the hunt for more depth.
After some serious shuffling, some expected and some a surprise, the D-backs appear to have their coaching staff set for 2016 as they hired Dave Magadan on Wednesday to be their hitting coach.
The Red Sox, who spent the final weeks of the season experimenting with their outfield alignment, are leaning toward going with Jackie Bradley Jr. as the primary center fielder in 2016.