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.

Matt Carpenter suspended one game for bumping umpire

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Cardinals first baseman Matt Carpenter has been suspended one game for bumping home plate umpire John Tumpane when he didn’t like a called strike three in the seventh inning of Sunday’s game against the Brewers. Manager Mike Matheny was also ejected along with Carpenter.

Carpenter will serve his suspension Tuesday night, per Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Through his first 69 nice plate appearances this season, Carpenter is hitting .236/.362/.364 with a pair of home runs and five RBI.

Dave Stewart says Diamondbacks’ early success is proof he was good as GM

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After the completion of the 2016 regular season, the Diamondbacks fired then-GM Dave Stewart and then-manager Chip Hale. Stewart acted as GM for two seasons. His most controversial move occurred in December 2015 when he acquired pitcher Shelby Miller and minor league pitcher Gabe Speier in exchange for outfielder Ender Inciarte and prospects Dansby Swanson and Aaron Blair. After his firing, Stewart blamed his superiors for the trade and said his gut was telling him not to make the trade.

The D-Backs are now led by new GM Mike Hazen and manager Torey Lovullo. The club had a relatively quiet offseason, as its biggest acquisitions were Taijuan Walker and Fernando Rodney. Defying expectations, though, the Diamondbacks enter Tuesday night’s action with a 13-8 record, just a game and a half behind the first-place Rockies. Stewart spoke to Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports and said that the D’Backs’ success shows that he knew what he was doing all along.

This means a lot to me because this is the same team, or very close to the one that I put on the field. So basically all of those guys and baseball analysts who said I didn’t know what I was doing, it showed I knew exactly what I was doing.

Everybody was just beat up and not living up to expectations. So all of a sudden, it’s my fault. Well, it’s not my fault. I couldn’t prevent injuries or jump in their bodies to make them pitch better in the starting rotation. We put the right people on the field. So I don’t think anybody should be surprised how well those kids are playing. They’re healthy now. I knew this was going to happen.

Everyone should have seen it coming.

Not to rain on Stewart’s parade, but the Diamondbacks are five games over .500 in a relatively tiny 21-game sample size. Had his team valued analytics during his tenure, he might have known that. Additionally, few of the players performing well for the team right now are players Stewart himself was responsible for bringing to Arizona. Furthermore, the team’s success doesn’t retroactively justify what he gave up for Miller nor does it justify practically giving away Touki Toussaint and signing a 32-year-old Zack Greinke to a six-year, $206.5 million contract.

During and after his tumultuous tenure with the D-Backs, Stewart has appeared very insecure. When he was fired, he quipped, “Quite frankly, I’ve got better things to do.” He appeared on MLB Network Radio in February to deflect any blame directed at him for the team’s failure. And then there’s his most recent quotes in which he heaps praise on himself for the team’s success.

Stewart was an All-Star starter who finished in the top-three in AL Cy Young Award voting three times in his career. He’s understandably competitive and has probably built up a very strong distaste for failure. Sometimes, though, one has to make peace with the fact that things didn’t go one’s way. Stewart simply appears to be tilting at windmills to protect his ego.