January 2, 2024

Jayson Stark Presents The Weird, Wild, Wackiest, Mind-Blowing Oddities Of 2023

Like Pepperidge Farms, Jayson Stark remembers.

Way back on April 16, I saw a crazy pitching line, hit Baseball Reference's amazing Stathead, and (as I sometimes do) emailed the oddity-obsessed Stark:
You'll probably hear this elsewhere, but Luis Cessa (3-14-11-3-0, 88 vs the Reds today) is the FIRST pitcher since at least 1900 to allow 11+ runs, 14+ hits, and get 9 or fewer outs.

How is it possible no one did that before? Ralph Comstock allowed 12 runs and 14 hits in 1913 but he lasted 3.1 innings!

Stark has a good filing system – although being more organized than I am would not take much effort, planning, or thought – because this appeared more than eight months later in one of his year-end wrap-ups:

December 10, 2023

Ohtani Announces He's Signing With The Dodgers: 10 Years, $700 Million

10 years. $700 million.

Those are the eye-popping numbers on the unprecedented contract Shohei Ohtani will be signing with the Dodgers. The 2023 unanimous AL MVP made the announcement himself on Saturday afternoon.

The $700,000,000 is obviously the largest player contract in sports history – and will likely hold the top spot for a while. The inner workings of the deal involve deferred payments, so Ohtani's annual salary (reflected in LA's annual payrolls) will be in the $50 million range.

Ohtani, who turns 30 next July, had elbow surgery in mid-September and will not pitch in 2024. Which will hurt his chances to be crowned the unanimous NL MVP next fall.

The 2023 Dodgers became the first team to win 100+ games in four consecutive full seasons (106, 106, 111, 100). And now they've added the most complete player in baseball history.

In other news, the Red Sox made a rare deal of substance with the Yankees, sending Alex Verdugo, who completely wore out his welcome with manager Alex Cora, to the Bronx for a trio of right-handed pitchers (Richard Fitts, Greg Weissert, and Nicholas Judice). Fitts was named the Eastern League Pitcher of the Year for 2023.

The MFY also traded for Juan Soto, who is set to become a free agent after next season. With any luck, this will simply be a one-year rental. But it sucks, no matter how you slice it. Maybe Verdugo can do us a favour and sabotage some shit over there.

Hey, Yoshinobu Yamamoto . . . umm, you wanna come to Boston and finish in last place?