Tag Archives: MLB

Happy Independence Day Bobby Bonilla!

You may have missed it amidst all of the Fourth of July weekend activities, but did you know that the New York Mets sent a check for more than $1 million last Friday to a 53-year-old, who last played in the majors 15 years ago.

Yep, former slugger Bobby Bonilla was jettisoned by the Mets back in 2001. Yet, for Bobby Bo, every July 1 is his own personal independence day…. at least for the next 19 years.

All of this is the work of Bonilla’s agent, Dennis Gilbert, who negotiated a deal similar to an annuity payout in 2000. The Mets owed Bonilla $5.9 million for the 2000 season and no longer wanted him on the roster. So Gilbert negotiated an 8% annual interest rate to that money. With the clock starting in 2000, the total adds up to $29.8 million. The first installment came in 2011. Every July 1, through 2035, when he will be 72, Bonilla will go to his mailbox and find a check from the New York Mets for $1,193,248.20. Not a bad stroll.

bonilla

In fact, Bonilla is paid more annually than most of the Mets’ young stud pitchers. Noah Syndergaard, Jacob DeGrom and Steven Matz all make half of the check Bonilla deposited last week. Such is the economics of baseball.

And now we know why Bobby Bo is smiling.

 

A Simple Game of Pitch and Catch… or Catch and Pitch

Raise your hand if you’ve heard of Erik Kratz.

The journeyman major leaguer is now the answer to a baseball trivia question.

Ten days ago, Kratz became the first player since 1879 to pitch AND catch for two different major league teams in a single season.

On June 21, the Pirates catcher tossed a scoreless inning after being forced into relief in Pittsburgh’s 15-4 loss to the San Francisco Giants. He allowed two hits, but finished the inning unscathed, and even struck out Brandon Belt. Two months earlier, Kratz took the mound for the Houston Astros to finish out an 11-1 loss to the Seattle Mariners.  In that one,  he allowed two runs (one earned) on three hits. The Astros. The Astros released him in late May, and after a brief stop with the Angels, Kratz was on to Pittsburgh where he made baseball history. Anyone who is the first to do something in 137 years is, well, pretty cool, don’t you think?

usat-erik-kratz-pirates    Erik_Kratz_on_June_15,_2016

Baseball is chock full of Erik Kratzes. Nondescript players by most accounts who end up as historical footnotes. And, perhaps, like cerebral catchers who end up as big league managers (See Mike Scioscia, Mike Matheny, Bruce Bochy, Kevin Cash, John Gibbons, etal).

The moral of the story? If your son wants to be a big leaguer, tell him to be a catcher.

 

 

K is for Kershaw

Is Clayton Kershaw the best pitcher of this generation? He’s certainly making a pretty good case.

On Thursday night the Dodgers left-hander tossed his second consecutive shutout and struck out 13 in becoming the first pitcher in the modern era to string together 5 consecutive starts with 10 or more strikeouts and 1 or fewer walks. Let that settle in. No one since 1900 has done that. And no pitcher has exhibited such a combination of power and control. For the season, Kershaw now has 77 strikeouts and FOUR walks – a 19 to 1 ratio. The best ever ratio for a full season is 11 to 1. Extrapolated over a full season, Kershaw would end up with a mind-numbing 308 strikeouts versus 16 walks.

With 3 Cy Young Awards, an MVP award, and 4 ERA titles already under his belt, he is already in rare territory. His career ERA is 2.40, the best among active players by over half a run (Madison Bumgarner is 2nd at 3.02). He is now 119 and 57 over his seven and a half seasons. His winning percentage is first among all active pitchers and is 8th all time. For six straight seasons now, he has dominated the National League. His run is reminiscent of that of Sandy Koufax’s 4-year stretch from 1963-66, which is still the greatest in modern baseball history. But it’s time for Kershaw’s name to be included in the conversation about pitchers who may end up among the best the game has seen.

It was a great week for pitchers other than Kershaw, as well. Max Scherzer tied the MLB record for K’s in a 9 inning game with 20. And Noah Syndergaard of the Mets blasted two homers in his win over the Dodgers the night before Kershaw took the mound.

Every era has their greats. In the ’60’s it was Koufax, Gibson, Drysdale, and Marichal. The ’70’s had Seaver, Carlton, Palmer and Ryan. We seem to be in another era of dominant pitchers with Arrieta, Hernandez, and the like, but to me Kershaw is clearly at the top.

What do you think?

It doesn’t hurt that he’s also a great guy, committed to making the lives of others better. Check it out: http://www.kershawschallenge.com/

la-sp-dn-clayton-kershaw-end-20140117-001