Legendary quarterback John Elway was nearly a Yankee, writes Tracy Ringolsby of MLB.com. Ringolsby sat down with scout and former executive Gary Hughes to talk about some of the multi-sport athletes he’s recommended over his lengthy career. The Yankees selected Elway in the second round of the 1981 draft. Elway told Hughes he would play baseball professionally if the Baltimore Colts didn’t trade him. Ultimately, they did, and he chose football. Hughes insists that Elway had special talent and would have had a successful career in baseball.
- While working with the Expos, Hughes was instrumental in the signing of Delino DeShields. The second baseman was committed to attending Villanova on a basketball scholarship but changed his mind after playing in rookie ball. When asked why he decided to forego his basketball scholarship, DeShields said, “if I am going to be any good, I have to concentrate on baseball.” Not only did DeShields have a successful 13 season career, his son recently broke out for the Rangers as a Rule 5 pick.
- Rusney Castillo has been worth a decent 1.3 WAR in 329 career plate appearances, writes August Fagerstrom of FanGraphs.com. That’s roughly a league average outfield over a full season, although most of the production has come on defense. The Red Sox undoubtedly hope to get more offense out of their $72.5MM investment. Fagerstrom digs deeper to examine Castillo’s profile at the plate. His high ground ball rate generates a disheartening list of comparables – Christian Yelich, Joey Butler, and Jose Tabata are the only better than average hitters of the bunch. Supposed adjustments to his swing path will need to click for him to morph into a serious offensive threat.
- The Mets are targeting a July 1 return for rehabbing pitcher Zack Wheeler, writes Anthony DiComo of MLB.com. Wheeler underwent Tommy John surgery last March. The procedure typically has a 15 month recovery period, and it’s no coincidence his 15-month anniversary is June 25. While some pitchers in the past have recovered from the surgery faster than the 15 month timeline, players and teams now believe the slower recovery period is best for long term outcomes.