Good bet that something's wrong with Pedro

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The Mets have a pretty glaring hole in that number five starter slot. Pedro Martinez is still available for the taking. Mets GM Omar Minaya
loves Pedro. Mets fans love Pedro. The front office has a history
(usually) of being very cognizant of what the fans want. So that
equation should equal Pedro back in Queens, right?

That this hasn’t happened yet, or if it doesn’t happen after Tim Redding
struggles in Pittsburgh on Thursday, is probably a good indicator that
Pedro isn’t physically right. Because if he was, given Minaya’s
infatuation with the player and his tendency to jump at an available
commodity that he cherishes, Pedro would be in the Mets rotation, $5
million a year or otherwise.

Ollie Perez struggled mightily (maybe not a strong enough word)
before landing on the DL, and a setback in his rehab means he’s still
weeks away from returning. They gave Jon Niese a shot early in
May, but after a nice outing against the Pirates, he was ripped by the
Braves and sent back down. Redding pitched well in his first try in LA,
but has been vintage Redding over his past two starts (8.2 IP, 13 ER, 2
L) and more of the same should be expected. Plus there’s the curious
case of Livan Hernandez, who has shockingly been pretty damn
good in five of his last six (3.03 ERA, 4-2 team record) . The Mets
shouldn’t be banking on that to continue.

So why not Pedro? He couldn’t be worse that Ollie or Redding or
Niese, right? Teammates all love the guy so he wouldn’t be causing any
dreaded chemistry problems. That $5 million price tag isn’t $5 million
anymore now that we’re almost a third of the way home. Plenty of Mets
fans are begging to see him pitch again – including this one, who, for
mostly sentimental reasons, wishes Pedro could get a crack at a
postseason with the Mets, since his signing was a huge driving force
behind the Mets becoming relevant again.

The risk of signing him doesn’t appear to be that high, so we’ll
take a guess that it’s either the shoulder or the toe or the hammy or
something that is probably still jacked up (or if it isn’t now, is on
the verge of disintegrating). Or maybe Omar has a trade in the works
for more of a frontline starter (Peavy? Oswalt? Other?).

But if someone does sign him, hopefully it’s not the Phillies. Don’t wanna have to root against the guy.

The Cubs acquire Rex Brothers from the Rockies

Rex Brothers Rockies

The number of people who, if you held a gun to their head, would say that “Rex Brothers” was a game show host and/or local TV news personality from the late 1970s or early 80s is not insignificant. But if you’re a Rockies fan or if spend all day thinking about baseball you know that he’s a reliever who has played in Colorado for the past five years. Now you know him as a reliever for the Cubs:

Brothers — a former Best Shape of His Life All-Star — was pretty good until he hit a brick wall in 2014 and spent most of 2015 in Triple-A. He had something of a bounceback after being called up when rosters expanded in September, but that’s not the sort of thing to excite anyone. He could be useful for the Cubs or just spring training cannon fodder and organizational depth.

Cabrera just turned 18 a couple of weeks ago and pitched a grand total of 14 games in the Dominican Summer League. He’s young and was a $250,000 signee from the Dominican as a 16-year-old so, by definition, he’s a project. Worth giving up Rex Brothers for him if you’re the Rockies, worth risking for some depth in the pen if you’re the Cubs.

Diamondbacks hire Dave Magadan as hitting coach

Dave Magadan Rangers
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Steve Gilbert of reports that the Diamondbacks’ new hitting coach is Dave Magadan, who “parted ways” with the Rangers last month after three years filling the same role in Texas.

Magadan also previously was the Red Sox’s hitting coach and his teams have generally done pretty well, including the Rangers scoring the third-most runs in the league this year.

He’ll have plenty of talent to work with in Arizona, as the Diamondbacks scored the second-most runs in the league led by Paul Goldschmidt, A.J. Pollock, and David Peralta. Turner Ward, who had been Arizona’s hitting coach, chose to leave the team two weeks ago.

A’s reacquire Jed Lowrie in trade with Astros

Jed Lowrie

Jed Lowrie, who was traded from the Astros to the A’s in 2013 and then re-signed with the Astros as a free agent last offseason, has now been traded back to the A’s.

Lowrie got a three-year, $23 million deal from the Astros with the idea that he’d play shortstop in the first season and then move to another position whenever stud prospect Carlos Correa arrived. Instead he got hurt right away, Correa became an immediate star, and the Astros weren’t so keen on paying him $15 million over the next two seasons.

He could resume playing shortstop for the A’s, who watched rookie Marcus Semien make an absurd number of errors there this year. Lowrie hit .271 with a .738 OPS in two seasons in Oakland, which is similar to his career totals and makes him a solidly above-average offensive shortstop. There’s a decent chance the A’s will have a Lowrie-Lawrie double-play duo in 2016.

In return the Astros get minor leaguer Brendan McCurry, a 24-year-old right-hander who split 2015 between high Single-A and Double-A with a 1.86 ERA and 82/17 K/BB ratio in 63 relief innings. He was a 22nd-round draft pick in 2014 and doesn’t have exceptional raw stuff, but McCurry’s numbers are incredible so far.

White Sox sign catcher Alex Avila to a one-year deal

Detroit Tigers' Alex Avila, right, is congratulated by third base coach Dave Clark after his solo home run in the third inning in the second game of a baseball doubleheader against the Chicago White Sox, Monday, Sept. 21, 2015, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

There have been a lot of articles published in the past few days about how to navigate awkward Thanksgiving conversations with your relatives. Heck, we even wrote one.

But there’s always room for more! Such as “How to talk to your father at Thanksgiving dinner about the fact that he let you walk away from the only team you’ve ever known to sign with a division rival.” Which is what Alex Avila will likely be talking about with his father, Tigers GM Al Avila:

The older Avila can’t even say he did it because he’s opposed to nepotism. After all, he just hired his other son — who has had his law degree for just over a year — as the Tigers assistant legal counsel for baseball operations. Though I’m sure that wasn’t nepotism. He probably just aced the interview and impressed everyone more than the other candidates did.

OK, those are jokes. In all seriousness, this is a good move for Alex and Al and, probably, the White Sox. With the emergence of James McCann, there really is not space for Alex Avila in Detroit in anything other than a backup capacity. In Chicago, he’ll get more playing time. At least if he can (a) stay healthy; and (b) not hit .191/.339/.287 again like he did in 2015.