Today we have some dirt on Javier Vazquez opting to continue early retirement, the MEGATRADE that almost kept Wil Myers in KC, and a serious injury scare for the Red Sox. Also, we've got a rumor on the Cardinals' early winter search for a shortstop, the MLB continuing an age investigation, and the Yankees ruling out yet another candidate in left field.
And lastly, a brief discussion on reading genres.
The Big Three
1. Well, so much for Javier Vazquez adding depth to a big-league rotation in 2013 (or ever again, really). The veteran right-hander was expected to pitch for Puerto Rico when the World Baseball Classic began this weekend, but he has pulled out of the tournament and opted not to return to baseball this season because of lingering problems with his right knee. Vazquez had minor surgery on the knee at the end of last month, but was thought to need only a few weeks of recovery time. That's obviously not the case, and it's now pretty safe to assume that Vazquez's MLB career is at an end. Tough break for a guy who was drawing some significant interest from some very good clubs -- e.g. the Nats -- and was still hitting the low 90s with his fastball during winter ball.
2. There was not a whole lot going on yesterday, so the second biggest story on the day was really a massive trade from two months ago that almost happened. Reportedly, the night before the Rays and Royals consummated their deal that sent Wil Myers to Tampa Bay and put Dayton Moore's butt on the proverbial hot seat, the Rays had a deal in place that would have sent James Shields and Wade Davis to the Arizona Diamondbacks, Justin Upton to the Texas Rangers, and sent a package of prospects back to St. Petersburg. Who the Rays would've gotten from the Rangers and Rays is unknown, but one imagines a scenario where perhaps Trevor Bauer and Mike Olt could have found themselves in Florida this spring. In other words, Andrew Friedman almost saved GMDM's job, but then he didn't. Sorry, Royals fans.
3. The Red Sox received a bit of a scare from third baseman Will Middlebrooks yesterday, as the youngster left the club's game after it looked as though he re-aggravated the broken wrist that sidelined him for the last two months of the 2012 season. Middlebrooks checked his swing in the first inning of Boston's contest against the O's and immediately doubled over in pain. While many feared the worst in the immediate aftermath, Middlebrooks indicated after the game that he thought everything was fine, and that X-rays probably will not be conducted. However, given that players are notoriously terrible at judging the extent of their own injuries -- see above: Vazquez, Javier -- let's give it a few days before we decide that everything is hunky-dory at the hot corner for the Sox.
In Other News...
1. The Cardinals apparently checked in on Troy Tulowitzki at the winter meetings in December. While nothing apparently got beyond the "temperature gauging" phase, it seems like this could be a rumor that crops up again at the trade deadline if Tulo is healthy and the Redbirds are laboring up the middle.
2. The investigation into Cuban prospect Aledmys Diaz's age is still underway, and it's unclear whether it'll be over anytime soon. The shortstop has claimed to be 23, but there are several media outlets that have portrayed him as being a year or two older. I'm not really well-versed in Latin American age controversies, but could this be the first time ever a player may turn out to actually be younger than stated?
3. The Yankees are no closer to patching up the massive hole in left field created by an injured Curtis Granderson, but the club damn sure they aren't going to put Eduardo Nunez out there. GM Brian Cashman said the young utility player doesn't "profile" as a corner outfielder, which is true. He really doesn't profile as much of anything at this point.
I really didn't enjoy reading much in high school. While I sort of understood the thinking behind learning to "appreciate the classics," I thought that it was pretty crap that not a single one of the books I was required to read in my four years of English class was written in the last 40 years.
The closest thing we got to a "modern" novel was John Knowles' A Separate Peace, which, wouldn't you know it, turned out to be my absolute favorite read during my high school tenure. It's not that Huck Finn, Of Mice and Men, The Great Gatsby, etc. weren't solid reads -- of course they were -- but there's no way in hell a 15-year-old can really be expected wrap his/her head around those books with deep symbolism from another era when s/he is still struggling with basic social interactions on a daily basis in his/her own time.
Anyways, I digress. The point is that I didn't really get my hands on quality contemporary writing until I got to college, and immediately fell in love with (most of) it. Mostly, I tried to get my hands on any and all essays and non-fiction I could find. I really enjoy the idea of getting inside the author's head, but not having to dig through the layers of a made-up story to get there.