In this installment, Keri listed the players who were top-50 selections before last season and have now fallen out of the rankings. Stanton was one of those players, falling from 28th in 2016 to off the board now.
“The biggest contract in baseball history might also be on the verge of becoming untradeable,” Keri wrote. “Stanton is owed $91.5 million over the next four seasons and can either opt out after the 2020 season or make another $218 million guaranteed after that. That’s a hefty deal for a player who’s topped 123 games played just once in the past five years.”
Stanton has played just 193 of a possible 324 games over the past two seasons, while his batting average and on-base percentage have declined in both. That’s not the greatest trend for someone with a heavily backloaded structure, although there’s time for the 27-year-old to turn things around.
There were seven players ranked higher than Stanton in 2016 who also fell off the list, including the aforementioned Kershaw. The Los Angeles Dodgers can thank the clause in his contract that allows him to become a free agent following an in-season trade for his fall.
No, not with the Marlins or even in the coaching ranks. But the 52-year-old home run king is rejoining the San Francisco Giants as a special adviser to the CEO.
He will participate in various community and organizational events. He’ll share hitting tips with minor leaguers. He’ll be himself, not to mention be a member of the franchise for which he played 15 seasons, made 12 All-Star appearances, won five MVP awards and slugged 586 of 762 career home runs.
“I am excited to be back home with the Giants and join the team in an official capacity,” Bonds said in a team release. “San Francisco has always been my home, and the Giants will always be my family. I look forward to spending time with the team, young players in the system as well as the Bay Area community.”
Bonds spent the 2016 season as the Marlins hitting coach. Miami had the fourth-highest team batting average in the majors (.263), but finished just 27th in runs scored (655), 28th in RBI (626) and 29th in home runs (128). All four categories actually improved from 2015, but Bonds was still relieved of his duties in October.
Maybe it’s the familiarity factor, but “Donnie Baseball” has more of a ring to it than “Donnie Karate.”
That said, the Miami Marlins may have to consider altering manager Don Mattingly’s nickname after his latest inspirational performance.
The 55-year-old skipper was an active participant in the clubhouse presentation by Radical Reality, a motivational speaking group from Northern California who favors some extreme methods. They all crushed it — and by it, we mean the cinder block smashed with a sledgehammer over Mattingly’s chest.
Didn’t someone say there’s no cinder block-breaking in baseball?
As a non-expert on martial arts breaks and motivational tactics, it’s tough to criticize the approach. This seems unnecessarily risky, but Mattingly made it through the ordeal unscathed, so perhaps the peril isn’t as great as it appears.
Or maybe the motivational team is able to give superhuman-type strength to its audience. They did help Marlins first baseman Justin Bour snap a baseball bat in half with his bare hands, after all.