A pair of former Midwest League pitchers agreed to deals with new teams today.
A.J. Burnett, who pitched for the 1998 Kane County Cougars, reportedly has agreed to a 1-year, $16 million deal with the Philadelphia Phillies. The agreement comes on the heels of news that Phillies ace Cole Hamels will miss the start of the season because of shoulder tendinitis.
Burnett went 10-4 with a 1.97 ERA and 186 strikeouts in 119 IP for the Cougars. He most recently pitched for the Pittsburgh Pirates, posting a collective 26-21 record with a 3.41 ERA and 389 strikeouts in 393.1 IP the past two seasons.
Jose Valverde, who pitched for the 1999-2000 South Bend Silver Hawks (mostly in 2000), signed a minor-league contract with the New York Mets. He is invited to spring training.
Valverde went 0-5 with a 4.98 ERA, 14 saves and 42 strikeouts in 34.1 IP for the Silver Hawks. He was one of baseball’s top closers from 2007 to 2012, but had a bad 2013 season with the Detroit Tigers, splitting time between the major-league team and two Detroit farm teams.
Happy birthday, Lemon and Lincoln
Chet “The Jet” Lemon, an All-Star outfielder with the Chicago White Sox and the Detroit Tigers, turns 59 today. He played in 146 games for the 1972-73 Burlington Bees, collectively batting .296 with 20 HR, 96 RBI and 11 SB.
Today also is the 205th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s birth. None of the three major-league Lincolns (Brad, Ezra and Mike) played in the Midwest League, but there have been three Midwest League players with the surname Lincoln.
RHP Jeff Lincoln pitched for the 2000-01 Quad City River Bandits, going 7-4 with a 3.75 ERA, one save and 128 strikeouts in 120 IP.
Lance Lincoln was an infielder for the Beloit Brewers in 1986-87. In 1986 he batted .242 in 73 games; in 1987, he batted .098 in 21 games. He also pitched an inning for Beloit in 1987.
LHP Matt Lincoln pitched in 10 games for the 2003 Cedar Rapids Kernels. He went 1-1 with a 3.55 ERA, one save and 14 strikeouts in 12.2 IP.
There also was one Midwest League player with Lincoln for a first name. RHP Lincoln Holdzkom went 1-5 with a 2.53 ERA, 11 saves and 42 strikeouts in 32 IP for the 2002 Kane County Cougars. Last year he pitched for the Wichita Wingnuts of the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball.
Corvette Museum sinkhole!
A 40-foot-wide sinkhole swallowed eight cars at the National Corvette Museum this morning.
Yes, you read that right, and no, it doesn’t have anything to do with the Midwest League. But the museum is located in Bowling Green, Ky., home of the Bowling Green Hot Rods, and by coincidence, I happened to mention the place in a post earlier this week.
Here’s a photo of the sinkhole, courtesy of the National Corvette Museum:
I visited the National Corvette Museum while I was in Bowling Green in 2011, and here is my only photo that shows the inside of the domed part of the building (which is where the sinkhole is):
As of when I’m writing this, a structural engineer is still assessing the damage and stability of the surrounding area. Bowling Green is located in a large karst region called the Western Pennyroyal area. Caves run underground throughout the area; in fact, Mammoth Cave National Park is located about 30 minutes away from Bowling Green. The park’s website says Mammoth Cave is the world’s longest known cave system, with more than 400 miles explored.