Daily Dose: Tommy John surgery for Nady

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Xavier Nady felt a “sharp pain” in his elbow on April 14 and reports
immediately surfaced that he’d need surgery. He opted instead to rehab
the injury and looked to be making good progress, but suffered a
setback during a minor-league game last week and the Yankees confirmed
Thursday that he’ll undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery.

A fluky .330 batting average had Nady’s value at an all-time high
when New York acquired him last July, but he was a career
.272/.327/.441 hitter heading into the season and hit a nearly
identical .270/.319/.469 in 66 post-trade games. Damaso Marte was
included in the deal along with Nady and has been awful since, so the
Yankees got little value for Jose Tabata, Ross Ohlendorf, and Jeff
Karstens.

Nady faces 9-12 months on the sidelines and is an impending free
agent, so he’s unlikely to re-sign with the Yankees and may have
trouble securing more than an incentive-laden deal on the open market.
Tabata was the centerpiece of the deal and has struggled at Double-A,
but he’s still just 20 years old and Pittsburgh has already gotten 238
innings of 4.57 ERA pitching from Ohlendorf and Karstens.

While the Nady trade looks a whole lot different now than it did at the time, here are some other notes from around baseball …

* If you watched the World Baseball Classic the name Aroldis Chapman
should ring a bell, as the 21-year-old southpaw flashed a high-90s
fastball while pitching for Cuba. Earlier this week he defected while
the Cuban national team was in the Netherlands for a tournament.
Chapman explained afterward that he just walked right out of the team
hotel and hopped into a waiting car.

“Now the plan is to sign with a major-league team,” Chapman said.
Seven years ago Jose Contreras defected in a very similar manner before
signing a four-year, $32 million contract with the Yankees. Contreras
was already 30 years old at the time and the consensus has Chapman as a
vastly superior talent, so speculation is that he could command upwards
of $60 million in a bidding war.

Chapman should be targeted heavily in any keeper league where he’s
available, because after watching him in the WBC there’s no doubt that
his raw stuff is elite and has the potential to make him an ace.
However, even with a 100-mph heater and promising off-speed pitches
he’s far from ready to thrive at the age of 21. He had a 5.68 ERA
during the WBC and a 4.03 ERA in Cuba last season.

* Perhaps regretting their decision to trade Mark DeRosa in
December, the Cubs traded for a poor man’s version Thursday by getting
Jeff Baker from the Rockies. Baker isn’t as versatile defensively or as
potent offensively, but can play second base, third base, and the
outfield corners while hitting .257/.313/.458. Of course, he’s batted
just .205/.266/.343 away from Coors Field, so don’t expect too much.

AL Quick Hits: CC Sabathia allowed six runs on 10 hits in 5.2
innings Thursday, giving up more than four runs for the first time
since mid-April … Despite his 7-1 record, Matt Palmer has been demoted
to the Angels’ bullpen to make room for Ervin Santana (triceps) in the
rotation … Vicente Padilla’s next outing has been pushed back to
Tuesday because of shoulder soreness … Mark Buehrle took a shutout into
the ninth inning Thursday while improving to 8-2 … Alexei Ramirez sat
out Thursday’s game after bruising his finger the night before … Tampa
Bay added former top prospect John Meloan to the bullpen mix Thursday,
hoping that the 25-year-old can rediscover his once dominant stuff …
Ichiro Suzuki swiped a base and doubled twice Thursday, boosting his
batting average to .370 … After never playing an inning at the position
prior to this year, Ty Wigginton appeared at shortstop Thursday for the
fifth time this season.

NL Quick Hits: Raul Ibanez (groin) has had his rehab assignment
pushed back twice, so he won’t be rejoining the Phillies until at least
next week … Joey Votto went 4-for-6 with a walk-off single Thursday and
is 15-for-38 (.395) since coming off the disabled list … Tim Redding
allowed five runs while recording seven outs Thursday, as his ERA rose
to 6.99 … Alfonso Soriano was a healthy scratch for the second straight
game Thursday, with Sam Fuld starting in his place … About one month
removed from hip surgery, Brett Myers will begin a throwing program
next week … Derrek Lee went deep twice and drove in a career-high seven
runs Thursday … Matt Diaz had another strong game Thursday, going
3-for-4 with a double and a steal … Doug Davis got stuck with a
no-decision for seven innings of one-run ball Thursday, making him 3-8
despite a 3.15 ERA … Mark DeRosa (wrist) is unlikely to start again
until Tuesday, according to Tony La Russa.

Settling the Scores: Memorial Day edition

ARLINGTON, VA - MAY 21:  American flags are shown after being placed by members of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment at the graves of U.S. soldiers buried at Arlington National Cemetery, in preparation for Memorial Day May 21, 2015 in Arlington, Virginia. "Flags-In" has become an annual ceremony since the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) was designated to be an Army's official ceremonial unit in 1948  (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
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Memorial Day commemorates the men and women who died in military service. At some point in the past couple of decades, however, it has become an all-purpose flag-waving, patriotism-declaring, civilians-in-camouflage holiday. It’s understandable why this is the case. We, as a country, haven’t always done mourning well. I think it’s part of our national cultural DNA that we don’t and it’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it does make days like this difficult.

I feel like the flag-waving and troop-supporting stuff is some sort of subconscious reaction to death. It’s our way of instantly trying to justify those deaths or to explain how they were not in vain, much the same way we might tell someone upon the death of a loved one that they’re in a better place or that they had a full life. Feeling the pain of loss is hard. We want to soften it in any way we can and make our pain serve a larger, better purpose. And so we get today, when Major League Baseball puts its players in camouflage caps and in jerseys with camouflage logos. They’ll sell them too, with proceeds going to good and noble veterans charities. The intent is noble and the ultimate effect of it all is beneficial. But it’s also a little beside the point. Maybe not beside the point as much as mattress sales or big celebratory barbecues which have come to characterize Memorial Day for so many, but still not exactly the purpose of the holiday.

I don’t condemn it. As I wrote last year, the men and women who actually fought and died in wars were hoping that they were, ultimately, making a better and happier world for those they left behind. And they no doubt hoped, among everything else they hoped, that others didn’t have to face what they were facing. They wanted our lives to be happy and our country to be safe and part of a happy and safe country involves 300 million people doing whatever it is they damn please, even if it’s just having barbecues and wearing camo at the ballpark.

I won’t say have a happy Memorial Day because that seems odd. Have any kind of Memorial Day you want, really, even if it includes barbecuing, drinking beer and wearing a cam ballcap. But as you do, please make sure you take some time to think about those who died in military service. And remember that they didn’t get to have as many days like the one you’re having as they were meant to have. And make at least some effort to offset your happy, patriotic or silly pursuits with some mourning and reflectiveness. It’s OK for that to stand on its own.

The scores:

Red Sox 5, Blue Jays 3
Orioles 6, Indians 4
Yankees 2, Rays 1
Nationals 10, Cardinals 2
Brewers 5, Reds 4
Royals 5, White Sox 4
Cubs 7, Phillies 2
Rangers 6, Pirates 2
Astros 8, Angels 6
Athletics 4, Tigers 2
Twins 5, Mariners 4
Giants 8, Rockies 3
Diamondbacks 6, Padres 3
Marlins 7, Braves 3
Dodgers 4, Mets 2

 

Should Dave Roberts have taken Clayton Kershaw out of Sunday’s game?

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 29:  Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers delivers a pitch in the first inning against the New York Mets at Citi Field on May 29, 2016 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Dodgers manager Dave Roberts will likely be second-guessed heavily during tomorrow’s news cycle. Starter Clayton Kershaw had pitched a terrific ballgame, as is his tendency, but with 114 pitches to his name, Roberts decided to pull him from the game in the eighth inning with two outs and a runner on first base.

Roberts opted not for closer Kenley Jansen, who hasn’t pitched since Wednesday, but for another lefty in Adam Liberatore. He was playing the numbers, with the left-handed-hitting Curtis Granderson coming up. Liberatore, much to Roberts’ chagrin, served up what turned out to be a game-tying triple to Granderson, hitting a rocket to right-center just out of the reach of a leaping Yasiel Puig.

Jansen has, for six years, been one of the game’s elite relievers. Kershaw, though at a high pitch count, doesn’t seem to suffer from the times through the order penalty like most pitchers. Kershaw’s opponents’ OPS facing him for the first time was .525 coming into Sunday. Twice, .597. Three times, .587. Four times, .526 (but this suffers from survivorship bias so it’s not exactly representative).

Furthermore, Kershaw held lefties to a .546 OPS over his career. Liberatore, in 99 plate appearances against lefty hitters, gave up a .575 OPS. Jansen? .560. It seems that, faced with three decisions, Roberts arguably made the worst one. Playing conservative with Kershaw at 114 pitches is defensible, but only if Jansen comes in. If Roberts wanted the platoon advantage, Kershaw should have stayed in.

Luckily for the Dodgers, Mets closer Jeurys Familia didn’t have his best stuff. He loaded the bases with one out in the top of the ninth on a single and two walks, then gave up a two-run single to Adrian Gonzalez, giving the Dodgers a 4-2 lead. Jansen came on in the bottom half of the ninth and retired the side in order to pick up his 15th save of the season.

Royals sweep White Sox over the weekend on three late rallies

KANSAS CITY, MO - MAY 28:  Brett Eibner #12 of the Kansas City Royals celebrates his game-winning RBI single with teammates in the ninth inning against the Chicago White Sox at Kauffman Stadium on May 28, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. The Royals won 8-7. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
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The Royals had themselves a pretty good weekend. The quickly fading White Sox, not so much.

On Friday, the Royals fell behind 5-1 after the top of the sixth. They would score once in the bottom of the sixth, four times in the seventh, and once in the eighth to steal a 7-5 win facing pitchers Miguel Gonzalez Dan Jennings, Matt Albers, Zach Duke and Nate Jones.

On Saturday, the Royals entered the bottom of the ninth down 7-1. They scored seven runs on closer David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle to win 8-7.

On Sunday, the Royals were down 4-2 after the top of the eighth. They plated three runs in the bottom half of the eighth against Jones and Albers, going on to win 5-4.

Coming into the weekend, the Royals were 24-22 in third place. The White Sox were 27-21, a half-game up in first place. Now the Royals are in first place by a game and a half, and the White Sox are in third place, two games out of first.

Here’s video of the Royals’ comeback on Saturday, since it was so unlikely:

Report: Ryan Braun is “the hot name out there”

ATLANTA, GA - MAY 24: Ryan Braun #8 of the Milwaukee Brewers waits to hit during the first inning against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on May 24, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
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In Saturday’s column for The Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo notes that, according to a scout, Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun is “the hot name out there.” Braun has been bothered by neck and back issues this year, missing on Sunday his eighth start out of the Brewers’ last 14 games, but he has still put up a quality .351/.424/.583 triple-slash line in 170 plate appearances this year.

More importantly for an acquiring team, Braun is in the first year of a five-year, $105 million contract. He’s earning $19 million this season and in the ensuing two seasons, and then his salary decreases slightly to $18 million in 2019, $16 million in 2020, and $15 million if both sides pick up his mutual option (else a $4 million buyout would be exercised).

Per Cafardo, the Astros, Cardinals, Red Sox, Phillies, Mets, Giants, and White Sox are potential landing spots for Braun.