In the long history of Major League Baseball, few players have left a mark with their personality quite like Bill "Spaceman" Lee. A former left-handed starter, Lee played 14 seasons and was a one-time All-Star, but perhaps he is better known for his antics both on and off the field. He famously created the 'Leephus' pitch, wrote several books, and publicly spoke out on politics and drug use.
The former Red Sox and Expos pitcher is still well-known among baseball fans and hosted a chat with the website Deadspin on Tuesday. Most of the questions from fans were about drugs and what he is doing after baseball, but one question-and-answer hit home for Nats fans.
A reader posed a question to the Spaceman asking which current big leaguer most resembles his pitching style. Here is the back-and-forth:
Deadspin reader: what current pitcher would you say pitches most like you? Zito?
Lee: No, the guy who used to be with Oakland and is now with Washington
Unless Lee is referring to Henry Rodriguez, the "guy" he is talking about is Gio Gonzalez. Gio was traded to the Nationals over the offseason from the Athletics and is left-handed. Gonzalez also happens to be the life of the Nationals' locker room.
Statistically, they really aren't that similar. Both pitchers have maintained low ERAs across 200 inning seasons, but Gonzalez both strikes out and walks a lot more batters than Lee ever did. In 1974 Lee pitched 282.1 innings and posted just 95 total strikeouts, Gio has 168 this season through 159 13.
The "Spaceman" would be considered a pitch-to-contact guy much more than Gio Gonzalez and he was also a bigger pitcher at 6'3". Lee didn't elaborate, or specifically use Gonzalez' name, so as with most of what we know about Bill Lee, we may have to fill in the blanks.
The Washington Nationals announced Friday Dusty Baker will not return as manager of the club in 2018.
Baker led the team to the first back-to-back division titles in franchise history, and the Nationals were 192-132 under Baker, but they failed to make it to an NLCS.
Baker is 14th in MLB history with 1,863 career wins.
The next Nationals' manager will be their seventh since they arrived in DC.
Only the Marlins have had as many.
"I'm surprised and disappointed," Baker told USA TODAY Sports. "They told me they would get back to me and I told them I was leaving town yesterday and they waited 10 days to tell me."
"I really thought this was my best year. We won at least 95 games each year and won the division back to back years but they said they wanted to go a different direction. It's hard to understand."
The team also announced the contracts for the Major League coaching staff have also expired, and the search for a new manager will begin immediately.
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While Nats fans were still digesting the news that Dusty Baker will not return as manager next year, the team released some more surprising news.
Second baseman Daniel Murphy underwent knee surgery today, per an official team report.
Washington Post reporter Chelsea Janes reported that the surgery is considered significant and the team won't put a timeline on the recovery process:
"The procedure, according to the statement released by the team, repaired articular cartilage in Murphy’s right knee. For those interested in the details, it was a debridement and microfracture surgery, and orthopedic surgeon Timothy Kremchek performed it."
"For those concerned with the implications of the procedure, those are still unclear. The statement clarified that Murphy’s rehab “will progress throughout the offseason,” as one would hope, and did not include a timetable.
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