It's time for someone — anyone — to raise the white flag

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MLB.com has a story about the Brewers and the trade deadline. I found this non-Brewers bit to be the most interesting:

Only six of the 30 Major League teams entered play Wednesday more
than 10 games out of first place, and the other 24 teams could take a
public relations hit if they start dealing away core players. Melvin
raises the Mariners as an example. New GM Jack Zduriencik, who took the
job after a decade as Milwaukee’s scouting director, was expected to be
a seller this summer, but the Mariners were just 3 1/2 games out of
first place on Wednesday morning.

Yes, trading off bigger names when you’re only 3.5 games back can be
seen as a bad thing by the fans. Like you’re surrendering. Like you’re,
oh, I don’t know, waving a white flag:

They called it the “White Flag” trade. On July 31, 1997, at the
trading deadline, the Chicago White Sox dealt a trio of veteran
pitchers — Wilson Alvarez, Danny Darwin and Roberto Hernandez — to
the San Francisco Giants for six young players, four pitchers and two
position players, all minor leaguers. At the time, the White Sox
trailed Cleveland in the standings by just 3 1/2 games, yet it appeared
they were giving up the chase, hence the trade’s nickname. Sox fans
were up in arms. But more than three years later, that trade looks
different. The White Sox finally blew past the Indians in 2000, winning
95 games and the AL Central title.

Whether it’s Jack Zduriencik or someone else, there are opportunities
to be taken advantage of in this market if someone has the guts — and
backing from ownership — to make it happen. With so many teams
thinking they’re in the hunt, the first guy to recognize that, while
their team is technically in contention, they aren’t in serious contention, could make out like a bandit.

Yes, fans may grouse about it. They certainly did in Chicago in 1997.
But the cheers they’ll offer when the team is on truly solid footing a
couple of years later will drown that out.

Leonys Martin feared for his life from alleged human traffickers

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 30: Leonys Martin #12 of the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on September 30, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
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Leonys Martin, outfielder for the Seattle Mariners, testified yesterday that he feared for his life after he was smuggled from Cuba by a group of men prosecutors say worked for a sports agent and a baseball trainer currently on trial for human trafficking in Miami.

Martin took the stand at the trial of Bartolo Hernandez and Julio Estrada, who face felony charges. He said that, after getting to Mexico from Cuba, men threatened to take him away. There was a kidnapping attempt against one of the men who had taken him from Cuba as well. Martin said that, eventually, he crossed the U.S.-Mexico border into Texas without any valid papers because his life was in danger and his safety was at risk.

Players like Martin who fled Cuba often hole up in Mexico while waiting to be declared free agents by Major League Baseball. There is pitched competition to sign agreements with the players in question, seeking to obtain promises of a cut of future baseball earnings for their services. Those promises can come under the threat of violence. Eventually, Martin promised to pay Hernandez and Estrada, but ceased paying them later, fomenting a lawsuit from them. In the wake of the suit, the allegations of threats and smuggling arose, leading to this trial.

Martin has been late to Mariners camp as a result of having to testify. He’ll likely report in the next day or so. The trial continues.

Josh Hamilton leaves camp with a tweaked knee

SURPRISE, AZ - FEBRUARY 28:  Josh Hamilton #32 of the Texas Rangers poses during a spring training photo shoot on February 28, 2016 in Surprise, Arizona.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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Josh Hamilton was already a long shot to make the Texas Rangers roster, but his shot got even longer today, as he left camp to have his reconstructed left knee examined after experiencing pain.

As Jeff Wilson reports, Hamilton felt discomfort in the knee during the Rangers’ first full-squad spring training workout yesterday. Hamilton has had 10 knee operations in career. Which is a lot of knee operations in case you were unaware.

You have to wish good luck to Hamilton, but at the same time you have to be realistic. The guy has not played in the major leagues since 2015 and even then he didn’t play well, hitting .253 with eight home runs and 25 RBIs in 50 games. He appeared in one game last year for Double-A Frisco, on April 30. He’ll be paid $24 million this year, mostly by the Angels. One suspects that this will likewise be his last spring training.