I know that my diversions into soccer aren’t that popular and I generally don’t care. But as you likely know, the soccer world suffered what is every team’s worst nightmare yesterday when a plane carrying the Brazilian top-flight team Chapecoense crashed while flying to a championship game in Colombia, killing 71 of the 77 people on board.
This is every team’s worst nightmare, and every time something like this happens, there’s a “there but for the grace of God” feeling. I can’t say that I follow the Brazilian domestic league—Chapecoense was just one of a bunch of obscure teams in the FIFA video games to me before yesterday. But if you want to know what the sports world has lost, here is a good place to start. (The photo of the three injured players who didn’t make the trip is heartbreaking.) Essentially, they were a plucky underdog team that played their way into the first division despite representing a city about the size of Des Moines. They would have played for the Copa Sudamericana title in Medellin, which would have been the team’s first major title ever.
Anyway, I just ask that you remember the fallen, their families and their fans. Also, remember that everything we have could be snatched away in the blink of an eye.
- On to better things. The Flushing Faithful have reason to celebrate today as outfielder Yoenis Cespedes has re-signed with the team for a whopping $110 million over four years.
- Cespedes’ Mets teammates took to social media to celebrate. The one that should be celebrating is Dexter Fowler.
- Grant Brisbee says that while it shouldn’t have been a surprise that Cespedes stayed in New York, it was surprising anyway.
- Ken Rosenthal writes that the Cespedes deal is a sign that the Mets are ready to act like a big market/big spending team again.
- Mike Lupica agrees that this is a sign the Mets are spending again and celebrates that Queens has their King. And it’s not Kevin James.
- David Schoenfield thinks the Mets are paying a superstar salary to someone who is not-quite a superstar, but that it may not matter anyway.
- Michael Baumann thinks both sides should be happy with this deal.
- Chris Cwik thinks because the Cespedes deal is only for four years, the Mets probably won’t get burned on the deal.
- Jay Jaffe thinks the Mets overpaid, but the deal likely won’t be a disaster.
- Now that Cespedes is staying in Queens, the Mets have a glut of outfielders. The Blue Jays are reportedly “making a push” for the now-available Mets outfielder Jay Bruce.
- Dayn Perry looks at the state of the outfielder free agent market now that Cespedes has signed. Again, Dexter Fowler should be a happy man (and he deserves it).
- Anthony Castrovince looks at the remaining sluggers on the market.
- The Cardinals are interested in free agent third baseman Justin Turner.
- Jenifer Langosch agrees that Turner would be just what the Cardinals need.
- In another move that has people talking, the Brewers decided to non-tender the defending National League home run title holder, Chris Carter, and instead signed former Blue Jays outfielder Eric Thames, who has spent the last three years as a superstar in Korea. Grant Brisbee loves these moves, both from the standpoint of the Brewers and the standpoint of a baseball fan who likes to see creative maneuvering.
- Jerry Crasnick thinks that the Brewers are confident that Thames will make the same successful transition over from Korea that other recent players from KBO have made.
- Nicolas Stellini has no idea how well Thames will do in his return to MLB, but he thinks this is primarily a move by the Brewers to save $4 million.
- Jonathan Bernhardt is ever more critical. He thinks this is a move by the Brewers to intentionally “tank” games to get higher draft picks.
- One other free agent signing (other than John Jay) is that the Marlins have agreed to a two-year, $22 million deal with pitcher Edinson Volquez. Just three years ago, the Padres released Volquez.
- The Mariners and Braves keep making small moves and they made one together yesterday. The Mariners sent Alex Jackson to the Braves for pitchers Rob Whalen and Max Povse. Jackson was the sixth pick in the draft just two seasons ago, taken two picks after Kyle Schwarber and one pick before Aaron Nola. But he has failed to hit in the minors.
- Ken Rosenthal’s latest asks whether the Pirates will be able to find a trade partner for Josh Harrison.
- Cliff Corcoran lets the National League teams know they won’t get an empty stocking this Christmas with a shopping list for each NL team this winter.
- Anthony Castrovince has some team-player reunions that make sense. Chris Archer back with the Cubs sure does sound good.
- One thing I haven’t mentioned is that the current collective bargaining agreement expires tonight at one minute after midnight. Paul Hagen and Richard Justice have an update on the talks. Progress seems to have been made as the owners have dropped their demand for an international draft, but many differences still remain.
- Buster Olney reports that the luxury tax is the one big obstacle remaining as the two sides “inch” towards an agreement.
- Bill Baer argues that not only should there not be an international draft, there should not be a domestic draft either.
- Howard Bryant is not a fan of the qualifying offer system and hopes that the CBA will eliminate it, saying it is bad for the game as a whole.
- Evan Drellich notes that even if there is a lockout, there will still be the Winter Meetings next week. Believe it or not, the Winter Meetings are put on by Minor League Baseball, not MLB.
- Bob Nightengale says baseball was forever changed the day that Reggie Jackson signed a massive (for the time) free-agent contract with the Yankees.
- Sam Miller has a great look at one of the rarest and usually most-illogical of baseball plays: the walk-off triple. There were four of them last year and he looks at each one. (One was just a triple and a walk-off error, so really it’s three.)
- Quick bit of Cubs news from my part of the world: Baseball America named the Cubs the Organization of the Year. It’s the first time in the 35-year history of the award that the Cubs have won it.
- And Chris Bahr thinks the Cubs would be crazy to trade Kyle Schwarber.
- Jonah Keri pleads with the BBWAA voters to put Tim Raines in the Hall of Fame.
- Longtime Cardinals broadcaster Mike Shannon is in a legal battle with the team over his efforts to sell a building he owns near the ballpark.
- And finally, to end on a positive note, Michael Powell has a profile of Curtis Granderson and all the charity work he does, both in Chicago and elsewhere.
And tomorrow will be a better day than today, Buster.