Daily Dose: Busy day in Atlanta

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Wednesday was a busy day for Atlanta, as the Braves released a Hall of
Famer, pulled off a big trade, and announced plans to call up their top
prospect over the weekend. Tom Glavine tossed six shutout innings in a
rehab start Tuesday and said afterward that he was ready to rejoin the
rotation, but instead the Braves cut the 305-game winner loose
Wednesday and prepped for the Tommy Hanson era.

Glavine would’ve been due a $1 million roster bonus and also could
have earned $2.5 million for 90 days on the team, but that money will
now go to Nate McLouth after Atlanta acquired him from Pittsburgh just
hours later for Gorkys Hernandez, Charlie Morton, and Jeff Locke. While
that package represents solid value for the Pirates, it’s odd that
they’d build the deal around a center fielder like Hernandez.

Hernandez projects as a possible leadoff man in time, but has
limited upside and the Pirates already have a long-term center fielder
in Andrew McCutchen. In fact, they called McCutchen up immediately
after trading McLouth and the 22-year-old will play every day. His bat
may not be an asset yet after hitting .291/.367/.424 at Triple-A, but
he swiped 48 bases in 210 games there and offers strong defense.

For the Braves, bringing in McLouth a day after demoting Jordan
Schafer back to Triple-A represents a huge upgrade offensively. His
glove is incredibly overrated, but McLouth has hit .268/.353/.482 while
going 52-for-56 swiping bases over the past three years. Adding him
without giving up one of the organization’s best 3-4 prospects is a
no-brainer move for the Braves given their weak outfield situation.

Meanwhile, the team’s top prospect and arguably the best pitching
prospect in all of baseball will be joining the rotation Saturday
instead of Glavine. While cutting Glavine when he was ready to pitch
again is likely tough for fans to take, Hanson is simply a better
pitcher right now after posting a 1.50 ERA with 90 strikeouts in 66.1
innings at Triple-A, and Atlanta still has lots of rotation depth to
fall back on.

While the Braves hog all the headlines for a day, here are some other notes from around baseball …

* In other prospect news, the White Sox are calling up 2008 first
rounder Gordon Beckham, which is interesting given that Ozzie Guillen
explained a few days ago that “if we have Beckham here, we’re in
trouble.” Apparently they’re in trouble, or at least tired of getting
horrible production from second and third base. Beckham has hit
.316/.371/.509 as a pro and went 10-for-23 in a brief stint at
Triple-A.

* Phil Hughes went 2-0 with a 3.50 ERA and 21/3 K/BB ratio during
his last three starts, but the Yankees demoted him to the bullpen
anyway Wednesday to make room in the rotation for Chien-Ming Wang. Wang
will be limited to 75-80 pitches in his Thursday start against the
Rangers after allowing two runs in eight innings of relief work since
coming back from the disabled list.

AL Quick Hits: Kevin Youkilis exited Wednesday’s game after Josh
Anderson ran over his ankle … Jeff Niemann tossed a two-hit shutout
Wednesday, striking out nine Royals … Asdrubal Cabrera is expected to
miss 2-4 weeks with a separated shoulder, moving Jhonny Peralta back to
shortstop … Cliff Lee turned in his 10th straight Quality Start with
eight innings of one-run ball Wednesday night … Jered Weaver racked up
a career-high 10 strikeouts while allowing one run over seven innings
Wednesday … Andy Pettitte lost Wednesday for the first time since April
26, giving up four runs and six walks in five innings … After being
bashed around for eight runs Wednesday, Brian Bannister is 1-3 with a
7.86 ERA since starting 3-0 … Josh Beckett had a no-hitter through 7.2
innings Wednesday, but failed to record the third out … Mark Teixeira
was scratched from the lineup Wednesday with a bruised ankle … Anthony
Swarzak predictably ran out of magic pixie dust Wednesday, coughing up six runs in four innings.

NL Quick Hits: Randy Johnson’s bid for victory No. 300 was
postponed by rain Wednesday … Brandon Webb (shoulder) threw from flat
ground Wednesday and reported no problems … Carlos Beltran (stomach
virus) was in the lineup before Wednesday’s game was postponed, but
Jose Reyes (calf) suffered a setback in his rehab and is no longer due
off the disabled list when eligible Friday … Jorge Cantu went deep
Wednesday for the first time in 25 games and Brandon Phillips stole his
first bases in over a month … Scott Hairston’s breakout was put on hold
Wednesday when a biceps strain sent him to the DL … Kyle Lohse exited
in the third inning Wednesday, aggravating his forearm problem … Hunter
Pence went 4-for-5 with a homer Wednesday, driving in his first runs
since May 21 … Sammy Sosa formally retired Wednesday by saying: “I will
calmly wait for my introduction to the Hall of Fame” and “will not
allow anyone to tarnish what I did on the field.”

Drew Smyly brings youth and experience to Mariners rotation

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PEORIA, Ariz. (AP) Trades don’t surprise Drew Smyly anymore.

At age 27, the Seattle Mariners left-hander has been dealt twice. The first swap sent him from the team that drafted and developed Smyly, the Detroit Tigers, to the Tampa Bay Rays in midseason 2014. That trade landed star pitcher David Price in Detroit.

“I was surprised by that one,” Smyly said.

The most recent trade involving him came in January, when the Rays shipped Smyly to Seattle for three prospects in one of many moves by Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto. Smyly immediately joined the Mariners’ projected starting rotation, and is having fun getting to know his new teammates at spring training by way of manager Scott Servais’ clubhouse icebreakers.

Servais thinks Smyly is a solid fit as a still young yet experienced pitcher.

“One, being where he’s at in his career age-wise and service time, he’s kind of at the point where, put him in the right environment … very good defensive outfield, he’s a fly ball guy, maybe he does step up and take the next step,” Servais said. “Getting out of the American League East certainly should help him, but there’s no guarantees. Our division’s pretty tough.”

Servais suggested that another Arkansas native, ex-big leaguer Cliff Lee, might have helped sell Seattle on Smyly. Lee is a former Mariner and the two share an agent.

Smyly went 7-12 in a career-high 30 starts last season in Tampa, but won five games from July 30 to the end of the season after starting out 2-11. From May 21 to July 18, he lost seven straight starts.

“Pitching’s tough, you know,” Smyly said. “To manipulate the ball, to make it do different things, to put it in the strike zone with hitters that know what they’re doing. … I just had a rough stretch but I show up at the field every day, play catch and work on my craft and you know, that’s going to turn around one day.”

The 32 home runs Smyly surrendered in 2016 figure to be reduced in Seattle’s pitcher-friendly Safeco Field.

“It can only help,” he said. “But it’s still going to be up to me to execute pitches and pitch well.”

Smyly is set to join the U.S. World Baseball Classic team shortly. Before that, he’ll make his first spring training start in the middle of next week.

“It’s an honor to be able to put your country on your chest and play with some of the guys on that team,” he said. “I’m looking forward to it big time.”

NOTES: Servais plans to roll out what figures to be Seattle’s opening day lineup in the spring training opener Saturday against San Diego. It’s OF Jarrod Dyson, SS Jean Segura, 2B Robinson Cano, DH Nelson Cruz, 3B Kyle Seager, OF Mitch Haniger, 1B Dan Vogelbach, C Mike Zunino and OF Leonys Martin. … Servais said Cano and Cruz will play a little more than is typical for early spring games, as the two will depart for the World Baseball Classic in early March. … LHP Ariel Miranda will start Saturday, then RHP Chris Heston Sunday, RHP Yovani Gallardo on Monday and ace Felix Hernandez on Tuesday.

Mitt Romney’s sons are trying to buy a stake in the Yankees

TAMPA, FL - AUGUST 30:  Tagg Romney son of Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney gives an interview during the final day of the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on August 30, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was nominated as the Republican presidential candidate during the RNC which will conclude today.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
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Mitt Romney built his professional life in Massachusetts and was once the governor of the state. As such, it is not surprising that he has long identified as a Red Sox fan. So this has to be troubling to him from a fan’s perspective. From Jon Heyman:

The Romney family is bidding to buy a small stake in the Yankees months after their try for the Marlins stalled. If the deal goes through, it is expected to be $25 million to $30 million per percentage point and thought to be interested in one or two percentage points. The Yankees are valued around $3 billion or more.

The effort is being led by Mitt’s son Tagg, one of his brothers and their business partners. Mitt’s spokesman tells Jon Heyman that he has nothing to do with it personally. Tagg Romney is reported to have been planning a bid for controlling interest in the Marlins, but that has fallen through.

I find this interesting insofar as the M.O. for the Steinbrenners has, for years, been to buy out minority shareholders in the Yankees, not seek more. Indeed, when George Steinbrenner bought the Yankees back in 1973 he held just a bare controlling interest and there were a ton of silent partners, most of which were back in Ohio and knew Steinbrenner from his shipping business. I’ve personally gotten to know some of them over the years as there are a handful of them in Columbus and I crossed paths with them in my legal career. They have almost all been bought out in the past couple of decades. They still get season tickets and World Series rings and stuff. You can tell them by their personalized Yankees plates and the fact that, within the first ten minutes of meeting them, they will tell you that they once owned a piece of the Yankees but got pushed out.

In light of all of that it’s interesting that the Steinbrenners are once again accepting bids for small stakes in the team. Especially from someone whose interest in controlling the Marlins suggests that they do not consider it to be a mere vanity investment. Makes me wonder what the Steinbrenners’ long term plans are.