While Nationals manager Dusty Baker is entering a contract year, that won’t be the case for long, suggests Pete Kerzel of MASNsports.com. By the time the Nationals begin spring training in mid-February, Kerzel expects the club to extend Baker’s deal. The soon-to-be 68-year-old Baker is only one season into his Nats tenure, but it was a successful campaign for the franchise. Washington went 95-67 in 2016 en route to a National League East title and a five-game NLDS loss to the Dodgers. Baker, formerly with the Giants, Cubs and Reds, is now 17th all-time in managerial wins (1,766) and should vault into the top 15 next season.
A couple more notes from around baseball on a quiet first day of 2017 (happy New Year, readers!):
- Two-way superstar Shohei Otani understandably receives almost all the attention when it comes to players currently in Japan, but he’s not the only member of Nippon Pro Baseball with major league upside, as Mike Axisa of River Ave. Blues details. Four pitchers – right-handers Kohei Arihara, Shintaro Fujinami, Takahiro Norimoto and southpaw Yusei Kikuchi – and infielder Tetsuto Yamada are names to watch, per Axisa. Interestingly, Fujinami rivaled Otani as a pitching prospect in 2012, though he obviously hasn’t taken off to nearly the same extent since. The 22-year-old Fujinami is nevertheless a strikeout machine who logged a 3.25 ERA in 169 innings last season; unfortunately, though, he’s likely at least a few seasons away from coming to the majors because of the new collective bargaining agreement.
- The Red Sox remain one of the majors’ most talented teams despite losing designated hitter David Ortiz to retirement, but filling his leadership void could be a significant obstacle next season, opines Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald. Among the current Red Sox, highly respected second baseman Dustin Pedroia stands out as the likeliest to take over for Ortiz, writes Mastrodonato. Pedroia, for his part, is confident the club will be fine without Ortiz’s clubhouse presence. “We’re in good shape,” Pedroia said. “I think, especially what David did leadership-wise with a ton of guys, he’s leaving us in good shape. We’ll be all right.”
tomohiro anraku is another NPB pitcher to watch for
As a Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles fan, I have high hopes for him, same too with Rui Okoye.
Truly hope the Nationals sign Baker to an extension as this will condemn them to also-ran status as long as he is there. Bravo Rizzo.
@Pads Fans, why?
The haul Rizzo traded for Adam Eaton, and then moving Eaton to CF where he is a below average defender is all you need to know about Rizzos decision making…
I mean, this general industry is down on Giolito compared to 2015/early 2016, and some prospect “gurus” don’t even think Lopez is gonna be a starter longterm, then theres Dunning, who’s years away regardless.
One year of Eaton in CF isn’t gonna kill them, and he’ll move back to RF in 2018 when Werth hits FA, with Harper sliding back to LF
Ya you’re way overvaluing that haul and undervaluing eaton
Eaton is a very good player not great. He is overrated by commenters on this website(not saying your one of them). Everyone throws out the fact that he was a 6 win player when his numbers were almost exactly the same in 2015 yet his war was in the 3’s. War is flawed because there is no set base that applies to all positions. He moves positions goes up 3 wins with the same exact numbers yet people think he now is a way better player than 2015. No one knows how prospects will play but in regards to prospect status/rankings it seems like CHW got a good deal
He moved from cf, where he was bad to rf where he was actually good at it. Why is it hard to believe that a guy is significantly more valuable to a team when he is playing a position which he is good at on defense as opposed to one that he is hurting his team at?
And what prospect status/rankings are you referring to? Many people’s status on those two arms are down.
“No set base that applies to all positions”? Well, of course. A catcher who hits 270/350/500 is way more valuable than a DH with the same batting line. All of these anti-WAR people seem to look at offensive production as the only stat that matters, ignoring defense and baserunning, which is just totally odd.
Totally agree that he’s more valuable but that’s not what I was saying. People seem to think he’s a far better player this year because he had a 6 war. His defensive abilities didn’t get better, he’s not faster, his glove doesn’t work better. He’s just playing an easier position and is still the same exact player as 2015. That’s the problem with war, there is no standard to go by. His 6 war doesn’t make him better than Rizzo, seager, madbum, posey, Cabrera etc. all I was saying is that people see 6 war and assume a team should give up an arm and a leg for him( not saying that what the nats did). Yes he’s a very good player but not like some people make him out to be
And who will be the CF? Sounds like a plan until the names have to be filled in.
Yea they will never win it all with Baker. As a fan of a team in the NL its nice to know Dusty will be there the next few years preventing the Nats from winning it all
I agree with you. Why is last year considered such a good year? It’s the same type of year they have had in the previous 5 years. Baker will ruin the pitching staff and make stupid moves like he always has everywhere he’s been. The other teams in the east will always have a chance as long as Baker is the Manager
Sushi Takayama is a player to watch
Indeed, Sushi did hit 650 homeruns in 650 AB last season, also has a batting line of 1.000/1.000/1.000.
What an ordinary batting line. Guy must have hit singles every at bat…..
That batting line should read 1.000/1.000/4.000
Pedroia may be a leader in the clubhouse, but if he’s going to take on a bigger role he has to learn to not whine so much when he’s batting. I get that there’s nothing wrong with taking it serious, but he freaks at umps for no reason whatsoever. He’s a great player but that’s one thing that I don’t like about him.
Because David Ortiz never flipped out on an umpire? lol
Or how Barry Bonds just about called for an investigation if a pitch was called a strike he thought was a ball?
i totally agree, ive actually wondered what they could get for him in a trade
I agree on Pedroia, too often such whining is confused with leadership and/or competitiveness. Pedroia does not strike me as the type of player a team can rally around. Would be best to see one of the young guys step into such a role.
The success rate for Japanese players is pretty low. Someone should sign all those dudes, maybe one would pan out.
Actually, the exact opposite is true. Part of it is selection bias, of course – only the best Japanese players get posted, but there are relatively few Japanese players who have come to MLB and haven’t returned at least some value. It’s certainly a much better rate than drafted American players or Dominican/South American players.
That’s not true at all. Japanese players have provided good value over the years. Only a handful of true busts.
Outfielder Seiya Suzuki, and Yoshitomo Tsutsugoh too are definitely players to watch in this upcoming World Baseball Classic… Seiya have already expressed interest to play in the Major leagues. While Takahiro Norimoto, in the list above, have already asked Rakuten to post him in the 2019 off-season.
Jesus Christ people just give hin his own segment already. Want to help fill the void in the off season let this commenter educate us on some of the more popular players in japan and korea that could wind up being posted. Hell discuss whole teams. Itll break up a slow news day.
Throwing something out there, not specific to Ortiz. How much do people think “clubhouse leadership” means in baseball? It’s not really an adrenaline-driven sport. I would think that bad clubhouse influences can screw things up, and the pitchers-catcher relationship is an important one, but other than having a good work ethic it seems like a sideshow.
Jason Heyward’s clubhouse leadership helped motivate the Cubs to come out and put the Indians out of their misery.
I think leadership is generally always rather big… without “sergeants” it’s hard for a team to be on the same page. However when it comes sports I think most people confuse actual leadership with media friendliness.
just to touch on this…maybe not an adrenaline driven sport, but over a full season, baseball plays a ton. Over 162 games, some guys have to keep it all together. Maybe they’re not yelling and screaming and getting emotional, but to grind through anything for that long, even the most menial of tasks, you need someone that can help keep it together as a team.
I’m no expert on the NPB but I hope that after the next MLB expansion or relocation the new team is faked the Ham Fighters.
*called the Ham Fighters.
They will have a big rivalry with the expansion Turkey Eaters.
Clubhouse leadership is important in professional sports. You need a force in the clubhouse to keep all the big egos in line. Pedroia will have to learn “how to lead”. He has always taken a backseat to David as far as a leadership role. Just because a person has tenure, or a fiery demeanor, it doesn’t necessarily make them a leader. It will be interesting to see who fills the void Ortiz left.