Whatever one may think about athletes making social or political gestures during the National Anthem, this excellent piece from Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports on Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell is well worth a read. The first-year big leaguer, who became the first and thus far only major-league player to join many in the NFL in taking a knee during the anthem, certainly has thought deeply about his actions and appears to be motivated by honestly-held beliefs.
Here’s more from out west:
- While the Diamondbacks will end up paying closer Fernando Rodney more than he was guaranteed before the season, that’s a good thing. As Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic explains, Rodney has already tacked on $1.25MM on top of his $2.75MM base salary. With one more appearance he’ll take home another $250K check. The purpose, says GM Mike Hazen, was to “pay him more if we leaned on him in a good season” but leave the team “more protected” if things went south. With the D-Backs slated for a Wild Card play-in, the money has proven well spent. The 40-year-old Rodney carries a less-than-inspiring 4.33 ERA, but has racked up 39 saves and has perhaps thrown better than the ERA suggests. Rodney has stranded only 59.9% of baserunners to reach against him, which likely reflects some poor fortune. He carries 10.5 K/9 and 4.3 BB/9 along with a 51.5% groundball rate on the year.
- Veteran backstop Nick Hundley says he’d like to return to the Giants, as Andrew Baggarly of the Mercury News reports. Skipper Bruce Bochy says he’ll “sit down” with the catcher about the future, noting that he expects Hundley to “have some choices” in free agency. Hundley slashed .252/.281/.434 with nine home runs in 290 plate appearances, with the on-base struggles offsetting his pop. And he doesn’t rate well as a framer. Still, the Giants seem to feel they have received good value on their $2MM investment; Baggarly documents Hundley’s work with the pitching staff and positive clubhouse presence. “I love it here,” said Hundley, adding that he “can’t imagine how much better it’d be if we were winning more games.”