Halladay, Downs added to crowded Jays' DL

Leave a comment

On the same day that their trainer was awarded a trip to the All-Star
Game, the Jays placed three more pitchers on the disabled list: Roy
Halladay (groin), Casey Janssen (shoulder) and Scott Downs (toe).

Those three join fellow pitchers Jesse Litsch, Shaun Marcum, Dustin
McGowan and Robert Ray on the shelf for Toronto. The offense has
actually stayed remarkably healthy, with only backup catcher Michael
Barrett missing significant time due to injury. The Jays, though, are
missing four legitimate major league starters, two more guys who have
spent time in their rotation this year and a reliever who appeared in
line for an All-Star appearance.

Fortunately, Halladay is expected to miss the minimum two starts.
Janssen, who missed last year following shoulder surgery, may have been
bounced from the rotation if the Jays didn’t have reason to put him
back on the DL. Brad Mills is coming up to replace him and will make
his major league debut Thursday.

Mills, a 2007 fourth-round pick, gets his promotion despite starting
off 1-8 in Triple-A. He had a 4.48 ERA, which is actually quite good
for a Las Vegas pitcher. Still, as a modest flyball pitcher without a
true strikeout pitch, he could have a rough adjustment period ahead of
him. I think Brett Cecil would have been the better choice to step in,
but Cecil might follow him as the starting in Halladay’s place on
Saturday.

Downs was hurt Tuesday, when he stumbled out of the box while
grounding out in his first at-bat since 2004. He only hit because the
Jays scored five runs in the top of the 10th. He was the ninth and
final batter of that inning, and the plan was to send him back out for
the 10th, though the injury forced his removal.

The Jays now have a tough decision on whether to go back to B.J.
Ryan in the closer’s role. Ryan hasn’t allowed a run in any of his last
eight appearances, though he’s been pitching mostly in losing causes.
His stuff still isn’t nearly what it was last year. However, he does
have the experience, and as bad as he pitched in April, he never
actually cost the Jays a game. Both of his blown saves came in games
the Jays went on to win.

If performance to date this year is all that matters, then Jason
Frasor becomes the immediate favorite for saves in Toronto. Still, it
would make sense for Cito Gaston to pick his spots and give Ryan the
occasional chance in the ninth. The Jays need to figure out whether
Ryan is going to be a valuable piece in the pen going forward.

Reds sign catcher Tucker Barnhart to a four-year deal

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Mark Sheldon of MLB.com reports that the Reds have signed catcher Tucker Barnhart to a four-year contract extension. The terms: $16 million total, with a $7.5 million club option for the 2022 season that has a $500,000 buyout. He also received a $1.75 million signing bonus.

The deal buys out all three of his arbitration years — he was going to be eligible for the first time this offseason — and the first year of his potential free agency. The club option buys a second. Barnhart made $575,000 this season.

Barnhart, 26, is finishing his second season as the Reds primary catcher. This year he’s hitting .272/.349/.399 with six homers and 42 RBI in 113 games. For his career he has a line of .257/.328/.366 in 330 major league games. His real value is defensive, however. He leads the National League in caught stealing percentage and number of base stealers caught (31-for-70, 44%) and leads all players at any position in the league in defensive WAR according to Baseball-Reference.com.

Dodgers owner Mark Walter is involved in a scandal

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Dodgers last owner, Frank McCourt, was a mainstay of the gossip pages. The new administration has been pretty drama free since taking over five years ago. That is, until now.

Multiple outlets, ranging from the New York Post to the Wall Street Journal, have been reporting on a scandal brewing at Guggenheim Partners, the multi-billion investment firm led by Mark Walter, its CEO. Walter is also the head of Guggenheim Baseball Management, the offshoot of the firm which owns the Dodgers. Walter is the Dodgers’ named owner — the “control person” — as far as Major League Baseball is concerned.

The scandal does not directly relate to the baseball team. Rather, it involves allegations that Walter bought a $13 million Pacific Palisades home for a younger female executive named Alexandra Court:

In the past 24 hours, the company has pushed back on multiple reports that CEO Mark Walter will step down; its chief investment officer has claimed on CNBC that there’s “no tumult” at the company; and Guggenheim has denied reports on a real-estate blog and in the New York Post that Walter bought a California mansion for a younger female executive at the company.

The denial regarding who bought the mansion is a bit too cute, though, as the company only denies that Walter bought it or owns it. In fact, the mansion is owned by a holding company that also bought Walter’s personal residence in Malibu. Billionaires don’t go to closings at title company offices, of course. They buy houses through companies and LLCs and trusts and stuff. As such, the claim that Walter didn’t buy the house may be technically and legally true but entirely misleading all the same. For what it’s worth, The Wall Street Journal has reported that Walter and Court have a “personal relationship.” Walter, who is married, and the company deny this. Court is on an extended leave of absence.

Walter and Guggenheim are denying that Walter is going to step down as CEO. That remains to be seen. The question for our purposes is whether, if he steps down from Guggenheim Partners, he would necessarily have to step down from Guggenheim Baseball Management and thus relinquish control of the Dodgers. I suspect not — they’re distinct legal entities, and his departure from Partners would be unrelated to stuff having to do with the baseball team — but you never know. It’s not like he put up $2 billion of his personal dollars for the team. There are likely a lot of strings attached and contingencies involved to the arrangement.

Something to watch.