I’m just going to take a few words here to remember Edson Arantes do Nascimento, or as he was known to the entire world, Pelé, who died yesterday at the age of 82. I’m not old enough to remember Pelé’s glory days, but I do remember the big deal that it was when he came to play in the US, event though he was past his prime. He was the Babe Ruth of soccer, except that Pelé’s fame circled the entire globe.
He even did this in the House that Ruth Built:
Pelé's bicycle kick against the Miami Toros in 1976. In the outfield at Yankee Stadium, he scored one of the most beautiful goals in the history of American soccer. RIP, O Rei. pic.twitter.com/4J4dR8kcln— Pablo Iglesias Maurer (@MLSist) December 29, 2022
Now back to the sport that Babe Ruth actually played.
- Still no news on the Mets and Carlos Correa, but Jon Heyman reports that a deal should get done eventually. He does emphasize that’s a “should” and not a “will.”
- Andrew Tredinnick has three big questions still facing the Mets and Correa.
- David Schoenfield looks at the fate of other teams that tried to spend their way to a World Series title, (ESPN+ sub. req.) like the Mets are doing this year. Schoenfield has “lessons” the Mets can learn from those previous teams. Some won titles. Others did not.
- Tomorrow will mark the 50th anniversary of the death of Roberto Clemente. Dave Bennett looks back at Clemente’s “nearly-saintly” life and the influence he continues to have on the game today.
- Big news for the World Baseball Classic as the United States has given permission for MLB players from Cuba to play for their home country in the WBC. We’re still waiting on details and if the Cuban government will allow them to play, but it’s a big step into making Cuba and the WBC more competitive. The Cuban government says they will let MLB players play, depending on the conditions that the US has placed on their participation.
- Ten of the 13 men accused in the Dominican Republic of the attempted murder of Hall-of-Famer David Ortiz in 2019 were convicted. They received sentences of between five and thirty years. The alleged mastermind was acquitted because, of course he was.
- Earlier this winter, the Braves traded for catcher Sean Murphy. Now they’ve signed Murphy to a six-year, $73 million contract extension that buys out three years of arbitration and the first three years of free agency.
- Free agent right-hander Corey Kluber has signed a one-year, $10 million deal with the Red Sox.
- The Marlins have officially joined the hot stove as they’ve signed second baseman Jean Segura to a two-year, $17 million deal. Hey, better late than never, right?
- Our old friend Tommy La Stella has been designated for assignment by the Giants.
- A round-table discussion of where Pirates outfielder Brian Reynolds will be playing over the next two years.
- Ten MLB umpires are retiring this winter, the most in any off-season since 1999. Seven of the ten retiring umpires were crew chiefs.
- In the least-surprising news ever, umpires will no longer wear patches advertising disgraced
ponzi schemecrypto-currency exchange FTX in 2023.
- Dennis Lim reports that the Padres are “open” to trading either outfielder Trent Grisham or infielder Ha-Seong Kim for much-needed pitching. (The Athletic sub. req.)
- R.J. Anderson argues that the Red Sox’s halfway measures at the 2022 trade deadline are making their bad offseason even worse.
- Mike Axisa has five MLB contenders with a glaring weakness on their team. I like the Braves’ glaring weakness: “shortstop.”
- Still, Mark Bowman gives three reasons he thinks the Braves can still win the World Series. “Shortstop” is not one of them, however.
- Bryan Hoch has three “bold” predictions for the Yankees’ 2023 season.
- David Adler has 11 top plays from 2022.
- When I was a kid, the “Strange But True (name of sport) Stories” were some of my favorite books. Jayson Stark now does those stories for grownups, and he’s got his best “Strange but True” stories in an omnibus three-part package! Here’s part one, part two and part three. (The Athletic sub. req. for all of them.)
- Sarah Langs has the top milestones reached in MLB in 2022.
- Anthony Castrovince has his early prediction for the MLB Awards winners for 2023. Here are my predictions. NL MVP: Dansby Swanson. NL Cy Young: Marcus Stroman. NL Rookie of the Year: Matt Mervis. NL Manager of the Year: Derek Shelton.
- One prospect from each team that the folks at MLB Pipeline are excited to see them make their major league debut in 2023.
- Jay Jaffe shares his Hall-of-Fame ballot.
- Matt Snyder examines the pitchers on the Cooperstown ballot and wonders if the Hall needs more closers.
- Sarah Langs has the best players of all-time who played for just one team.
- And finally, Craig Calcaterra has released his annual list of the “Most Handsome Managers” in baseball. We have a new number one this year as the Marlins’ new skipper Skip Schumaker comes in as the most handsome manager in the game. Gabe Kapler got knocked down to number two. David Ross has dropped down to 16 as his “grandpa beard” isn’t as original as it used to be, according to Calcaterra. New Rangers manager Bruce Bochy and his giant head check in as the 30th-most handsome manager in the game, in part because Bochy has always taken pride in being at the bottom of this ranking.
And tomorrow will be a better day than today, Buster. And next year will be even better.