The "curse of MT"

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Someone please kill Twitter. Kill it with fire:

Following the Red Sox’ 4-3 win over the Yankees, Thursday night at
Fenway Park — their eighth victory in as many meetings with New York
this season — Sox majority owner John Henry posted on his Twitter
account: “the MT Curse?” The ‘MT’ was assumed to be in reference to
Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira, who signed with the Yankees
instead of the Red Sox. But a few hours later, in an email to WEEI.com,
Henry wrote: “Purely Entertainment. Nothing more. I don’t believe in
curses.”

OK, that’s not fair. Twitter isn’t the problem here. It’s just the
medium. This is really two problems, a minor one and a major one. The
minor one is that John Henry doesn’t know how curses are supposed to
work. The Red Sox allegedly failed to win the World Series for over
eight decades because they gave up the guy they should have kept, not
because they got him. For there to be some curse analogous to that of
the Bambino here, it would have to be the curse of, hell, I dunno, John
Smoltz or Brad Penny or something. Wait, the Yankees didn’t want those
guys. Look, just make up your own curse, I don’t have time to think
that through.

The major problem here is the pathological overreaction to this kind
of stuff by the East Coast media. So John Henry said something somewhat
off-the-wall late in the evening. Henry is my mom’s age. She’s so batty
we can’t take her in public, so this isn’t exactly news. Nevertheless,
we can be assured that Henry’s tweets will be all over the Boston and New York media today. If that seagull thing had happened in the Sox-Yankees game the bird’s family would be on all of the talk shows today.

Athletics trade Billy Burns to the Royals for Brett Eibner

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - MAY 13: Billy Burns #1 of the Oakland Athletics waits on deck to bat during the fourth inning of a game against the Tampa Bay Rays on May 13, 2016 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
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The Athletics and Royals swapped outfielders on Saturday. The Athletics sent Billy Burns to Kansas City and the Royals sent Brett Eibner to Oakland.

Burns, 26, doesn’t provide much in the way of offense, but he runs the bases well and plays solid defense. He was hitting .234/.270/.303 with 11 doubles, four triples, and 14 stolen bases in 274 plate appearances.

Eibner, 27, was batting .231/.286/.423 with three home runs and 10 RBI in 85 plate appearances. He has spent most of the season with Triple-A Omaha, where he’s put up a .902 OPS in 219 PA. Eibner played the outfield corners in the majors, but racked up a ton of time playing center in the minors, so his versatility will be valuable to the A’s.

Burns will become eligible for arbitration for the first time after the 2017 season while Eibner has hardly accrued any service time, which might explain part of the motivation behind the trade for the small-market Athletics.

Nationals acquire closer Mark Melancon from the Pirates

PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 20:  Mark Melancon #35 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches during the ninth inning against the Colorado Rockies on May 20, 2016 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
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The Nationals announced on Saturday afternoon that the club acquired closer Mark Melancon from the Pirates in exchange for reliever Felipe Rivero and minor league pitcher Taylor Hearn.

Melancon, 31, put together another solid season for the Pirates, leaving the club with 30 saves, a 1.51 ERA, and a 38/9 K/BB ratio in 41 2/3 innings. He led the majors last season with 51 saves and has a 1.80 ERA since joining the Pirates in 2013. Melancon is earning $9.65 million this season and can become eligible for free agency after the season.

With Melancon out of the picture, the Pirates intend to have Tony Watson take over the closer’s role.

Rivero, 25, has handled the seventh and eighth innings for the Nationals this season, compiling a 4.53 ERA and a 53/15 K/BB ratio in 49 2/3 innings. He’s just shy of one year of service time, so the Pirates will have control of him for a long time.

Hearn, 21, was rated the Nationals’ 27th-best prospect by MLB Pipeline. He was originally drafted by the Pirates in the 22nd round of the 2012 draft but he didn’t sign and ended up going back to college. The Nationals took him in the fifth round of last year’s draft. This season, between rookie ball and Single-A Hagerstown, Hearn put up a 2.79 ERA and a 39/13 K/BB ratio in 29 innings. He’s a long way away from the majors, so he’s essentially a lottery ticket for the Pirates.

The Nationals needed an upgrade at closer as Jonathan Papelbon has struggled this season. The right-hander has allowed runs in each of his last three appearances, ballooning his ERA up to 4.41 with a 30/13 K/BB ratio in 32 2/3 innings. It will be interesting to see how Papelbon, who has never made a habit of letting his feelings go unspoken, handles a demotion to the eighth inning.