- Baseball lost a legend on Wednesday as Hall of Famer Willie McCovey passed away at the age of 80. McCovey was the first player I ever saw hit his 500th home run. (On TV, of course.)
- As you can imagine, our friends over at the McCovey Chronicles are in mourning over this loss. Grant Brisbee writes a tribute to the first “San Francisco” sports hero and what he meant to the area, while also noting that it took a while for San Francisco fans to warm up to the man they called “Stretch.” I don’t think it’s a stretch (no pun intended, but I did leave it there) to say that McCovey was the Giants’ Ron Santo. Maybe not the best player to suit up for the team (that would be Willie Mays or Barry Bonds), but perhaps the most beloved. Also, he was pretty darn good.
- Bruce Jenkins recalls McCovey’s career and the man behind it, calling McCovey one of the classiest athletes to ever play in the Bay Area.
- Eric Stephen offers his thoughts on McCovey and in particular the “Willie Mac” Award that the Giants gave out every year to the player who “best exemplifies the spirit and leadership consistently shown by McCovey throughout his career.”
- Matt Kelly has the top ten moments of McCovey’s career.
- The game goes on without Stretch and Jon Tayler and Gabriel Baumgaertner do a one-paragraph recap of the 2018 season for all 30 MLB teams.
- Sarah Langs has 18 “amazing” facts about the 2018 postseason.
- The Red Sox victory parade was marred by the throwing of beer cans, one of which damaged the World Series trophy.
- And a teenager was arrested for throwing a beer can that hit manager Alex Cora. No, he wasn’t aiming at Cora, but that’s why you don’t throw beer cans in the first place.
- This is one of my favorite things, which is all the players on the Red Sox who got a World Series ring despite barely playing for the team during the year. (Who remembers that Gerardo Concepcion has a Cubs World Series ring?) Anyway, congratulations to Brandon Phillips on finally getting that ring.
- Here’s a list of all the potential free agents from all 30 teams.
- Ben Reiter ranks the top 50 free agents this winter and predicts where they might go.
- As we look at what kinds of deals Bryce Harper and Manny Machado might get this winter, here are the current biggest contracts in MLB history.
- Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw had until Wednesday to decide whether or not to opt out of his contract, but the two sides agreed to put off the decision until today (Friday).
- The Dodgers front office held a press conference to talk about the season, Kershaw, manager Dave Roberts and the Giants interest in hiring Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi.
- CBS Sports baseball writers had a discussion about whether Kershaw can and will opt out and they all thought that he will. However, that doesn’t mean he’s leaving Los Angeles, although some of the writers think he will sign elsewhere.
- Eric Stephen outlines what happens next if Kershaw opts out, as well as the pros and cons of any team looking to sign Kershaw.
- The Dodgers did agree to a one-year deal with infielder David Freese.
- Dodgers infielder Manny Machado made a post on Instagram thanking Dodgers fans that sure did sound like a “goodbye.”
- Red Sox ace David Price will not be opting out of his contract.
- Giants reliever Mark Melancon also declined to opt out. Oh, by the way, Cubs outfielder Jason Heyward let the deadline for opting out pass as well, to no one’s surprise.
- The Pirates declined the contract options on infielders Josh Harrison and Jung Ho Kang.
- Richard Justice has five free agents who should accept a qualifying offer if they get one.
- The Nationals signed free agent pitcher Trevor Rosenthal. Rosenthal missed all of 2018 after Tommy John surgery.
- Jeff Sullivan notes that Rosenthal was one of the best relievers in baseball in 2017 and that this is a great move if he’s even close to what he once was.
- The Yankees agreed to a new one-year deal with outfielder Brett Gardner. Mark Townsend wonders if this means the Yankees will not be pursuing free agent outfielder Bryce Harper. (It’s probably unrelated.)
- The Braves got catcher Rafael Lopez from the Padres. In return, they promised that they’d say some nice things about former Blue Jays catcher Kevin Cash. Wait? That’s not what “cash considerations” means?
- The Rays claimed pitcher Oliver Drake off waivers from the Twins.
- Jonah Keri thinks that the Braves could be one of the most active teams this Hot Stove season.
- It looks like former Mets GM Omar Minaya will be the top advisor to new GM Brodie Van Wagenen.
- Michael Baumann has another piece about why the Mets hiring of Van Wagenen is so problematic.
- Former Marlins pitcher Justin Wayne was sentenced to four years in federal prison for his role in an insurance fraud scheme.
- I know some of you hate it when I stick a soccer story in, but Atlanta United’s Josef Martinez won the MLS Golden Boot Award as the league’s top scorer. (In fact, he set a single-season MLS record for goals.) Why is this a baseball story? Because the trophy was presented to him by his friend and fellow Venezuelan, Braves outfielder Ender Inciarte.
- And finally, Wednesday was Halloween and here are some of the best costumes worn by MLB players and their families in 2018.
I’m sorry, but I think Matt Szczur had the best costume of all:
Hope the kids like my costume this year! pic.twitter.com/7bPjZeItJx— Matt Szczur (@superSZCZ4) October 31, 2018
We miss ya, Matt. You’ll always be a Cub to us.
And tomorrow will be a better day than today, Buster.