Current Diamondbacks special assistant, ex-major league right-hander and former MLBTR contributor Burke Badenhop is among those leading a spirited effort to save baseball at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. BGSU dropped its baseball program in a cost-cutting measure May 15, which sparked some of its ex-players – Badenhop and Indians Triple-A manager Andy Tracy, to name a couple – to begin raising funds to revive it, as Jack Carle of the Sentinel-Tribune and Jordan Strack of WTOL have covered. In the past few days alone, 120-plus people have contributed a total of $1.2MM over a five-year commitment, Badenhop informed MLBTR. The goal is to come up with at least $3.5MM, Strack reports. “There’s a lot of people that played Bowling Green baseball,” Badenhop told Strack. “While we’re not LSU, and we’re not a top program in the country, there’s a lot of people that have gone through and played at Stellar Field that Bowling Green baseball means a lot to them.” We at MLBTR wish Badenhop, Tracy & Co. the best in what’s certainly a worthwhile endeavor.
Now to check in on a few MLB teams…
- According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people over the age of 65 and cancer survivors are among those who are at the highest risk of contracting the coronavirus. With that in mind, Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times wonders if it will be safe for the Angels’ Joe Maddon (66) or the Dodgers’ Dave Roberts (Hodgkin’s lymphoma survivor) to manage during a pandemic-shortened season. Maddon, who has lost 15 pounds via diet and exercise, explained to DiGiovanna he’s “on a mission” to get healthier. Roberts, meanwhile, received the go-ahead from one of the Dodgers’ team physicians, Dr. John Plosay, to continue in his current position. “I asked [the doctor] if I were to go back, does that put me in any different [risk] category, and he said absolutely not,” Roberts told DiGiovanna. “He didn’t really give me any details, and I didn’t really ask.”
- Yankees mainstay Brett Gardner could become a free agent next winter, at which point he’ll be 37, so could this be the outfielder’s last season (if there is one)? Not likely, especially if the season’s canceled, George A. King III of the New York Post writes. For his part, Gardner doesn’t sound like someone who’s nearing the finish line. “In a perfect world for me, I stay healthy and have a good season, and they pick that option up and I come back and do it all over again,” Gardner said of his $10MM option for 2021 during spring training. New York can either exercise that option or buy Gardner out for $2.5MM, but the $10MM price tag doesn’t look unreasonable when considering what he brings to the table. The longest-tenured Yankee put up 3.6 fWAR last season and hit .251/.325/.503 (115 wRC+) with a personal-high 28 home runs in 550 plate appearances.
- With catcher Yadier Molina potentially months from free agency, the Cardinals may soon have to find a long-term replacement for the franchise icon. That could one day be prospect Ivan Herrera, whom Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch profiles. Set to turn 20 on June 1, Herrera – the Cardinals’ fourth-ranked prospect at MLB.com – spent the majority of last season in High-A and batted .286/.361/.423 with eight home runs in 291 plate appearances. Although he’s not as advanced as a defender, there’s optimism he’ll keep improving that aspect of his game, as Goold writes. “We hear he has the aptitude to go along with the game plan behind the plate,” manager Mike Shildt told Goold.