Adam LaRoche fails at being a team leader

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Adam LaRoche and other Pirates’ players are not happy about the Nate McLouth deal:

“There ain’t a guy in here who ain’t pissed off about it. They might
be trying to hide it or whatever, but . . . hey, you get a guy’s loved
by everybody, not just in this clubhouse but in the community, who does
everything you could want a guy to do, a perfect guy to be a leader . .
. It’s kind of like being with your platoon in a battle, and guys keep
dropping around you. You keep hanging on, hanging on, and you’ve got to
figure: How much longer till you sink?”

An anonymous Pirate veteran was critical of the haul the Pirates got in
return, saying “You make a deal for a player like that, and you’d
better get at least one elite guy in return. Who’s the guy in this
trade? Who is that player?”

The article notes how Adam LaRoche had declared himself a team
leader earlier in the season. It strikes me, however, that if you’re
going to be a team leader, you have to do things that a team leader
does such as ensure that this sort of discontent is not aired in
public, both from yourself and from the teammates you purport to lead.
That’s especially true when the discontent involves specific criticism
of the guys that are coming to join your team. Lamenting the loss of a
friend and valuable veteran is fine, but this kind of thing isn’t
helpful to anyone. Not the fans, who don’t want to hear one of the
team’s best players suggest that the team is sinking or giving up, not
Gorkys Hernandez, Charlie Morton or Jeff Locke, who have now been told
that they suck even before arriving in Pittsburgh, and last but not
least, not Andrew McCutchen, who represents the future of the Pirates’
organization whether LaRoche and his veteran friends like it or not.

Maybe this was not the best haul Pittsburgh could have gotten for
McLouth, but it’s not a lay-down trade by any stretch. The difference
between the Pirates being good and the Pirates being bad is more than
Nate McLouth, and any trade that brings them some needed organizational
depth and creates an opportunity for a guy like McCutchen to play has
much to recommend it. A team leader would recognize that or, at the
very least, keep such criticisms in-house rather than publicly sow this
sort of discontent.

Brewers’ Julio Mendez remains hospitalized after hit by pitch

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Brewers’ minor league infielder Julio Mendez remains in “critical but stable condition,” club GM David Stearns announced Friday. Back in August, Mendez suffered a cardiac event after he was inadvertently struck by a ball from the Angels’ Austin Krzeminksi during a game between the rookie-level affiliates. The 20-year-old was removed to a Phoenix-area hospital for treatment following the incident and has recently been transferred to a hospital in his native Venezuela.

Mendez was in his fourth season with the Brewers’ organization. He spent the majority of his 2017 run with the rookie-level AZL Brewers, slashing .255/.294/.355 with 10 extra-base hits, 16 RBI and four stolen bases over 119 plate appearances. He currently holds a career .241/.324/.309 batting line, 33 extra bases and a .633 OPS through 668 PA.

Baseball is still on the back burner, however, as Mendez appears to have made little progress nearly a month following the hit by pitch. Thoughts go out to his family during this difficult time.

Brad Ausmus out as Tigers manager

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The Tigers just announced that they will not be bringing Brad Ausmus back as manager in 2018. His contract was going to be up at the end of this season and they have decided not to renew it. Ausmus and his staff will manage the club for the final week of the season.

In the press release announcing the move, Tigers GM Al Avila said “[a]s we transition the ballclub in a new direction, I feel it’s best that we have a new approach and a fresh start with the manager position.” He went on to praise Ausmus for “doing an admirable job under difficult circumstances, especially this season,” a clear reference to the club’s decision at mid-season to blow things up. Justin Verlander and J.D. Martinez were traded in July and August, as were some more minor players. The club is clearly embarking on a lengthy rebuild of which Ausmus, who was brought in four years ago to lead a contending team, will not be a part.

In his four seasons at the helm the Tigers are 312-325. He won 90 games and the AL Central in his first season in 2014, but the Tigers were swept out of the ALDS in three games. In the past three seasons they finished fifth, second and will either finish in fourth or fifth this year. Injuries and poor bullpens have been the biggest problem, but clearly this Tigers team was supposed to win more over the past four years.

It’s unclear what direction the Tigers will take in their managerial search, but it’s clear they’re going to go outside of the organization, as Avila said in his statement that the status of the current coaching staff will be contingent on the wishes of whatever new manager they hire.

Happy trails, Brad Ausmus. Baseball’s Most Handsome Manager is now Baseball’s Most Handsome Unemployed coach.