Sanchez and Wilson get an offer

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There’s been a lot of talk about the Pirates trading Jack Wilson and Freddy Sanchez, but a new wrinkle has emerged:

The Pirates have approached shortstop Jack Wilson and second baseman
Freddy Sanchez about multiyear contract extensions, putting on hold,
for now, the possibility that either will be traded by Major League
Baseball’s July 31 deadline. But the clock is ticking. If the parties
are to agree on extensions, they will need to do so far enough in
advance of the deadline so that, if the Pirates decide no agreement is
possible, they still can pursue a trade for one or both. That likely
means something must get done within the next week to 10 days.

Despite all of the drama surrounding recent Pirates’ trades,
I can’t recall an instance of Pirates’ GM Neal Huntington playing games
with players. Still, it strikes me as odd that contract offers are
coming so late in the game and close to the deadline, leaving little
time for negotiation. If it were any other GM I’d wonder whether this
wasn’t a PR move on the part of the team designed to lessen fan — and
player — ire when two popular players are ultimately moved.

For what it’s worth, both Sanchez and Wilson are playing fantastic
defense this year, really enjoy playing in Pittsburgh and, based on
this article and everything else I’ve seen, have no desire to break the
bank. Against that backdrop, it would make sense to keep them around,
both as a stability move and because it will give the fans something to be happy about in Pittsburgh.

Video: Undercover David Ortiz drives a Lyft in Boston

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David Ortiz did one of those “Undercover Lyft” spots for, well, Lyft, in which famous people disguise themselves while driving passengers around. Yes, they’re ads, but they’re still pretty funny. At least this one was.

Best parts: (1) the woman who says she has two David Ortiz shirts to which Undercover Ortiz responds, “actually, all my shirts are his shirts”; and (2) when Ortiz agrees with someone that baseball games are “so loooong.” Oh, and at one point he tells a woman who said she was going to the Red Sox game that night that he was too. After he unmasked himself, she explains his own joke to him. Which, ooohhkay.

In other news, people who take Lyfts in Boston either don’t watch much baseball, because Ortiz’s costume is NOT very concealing, or else they simply don’t look at their Lyft driver while in the car, at all.

Scouting in Venezuela: “Someone is going to get killed. It’s just a matter of time”

MIAMI - MARCH 14:  Venezuela fans cheer with a country flag while taking on the Netherlands during round 2 of the World Baseball Classic at Dolphin Stadium on March 14, 2009 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
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Ben Badler of Baseball America has a story about how major league scouts who cover Venezuela are unhappy with the rules imposed upon them by the league. Rules, they say, which unreasonably prohibit them from scouting Venezuelan players in centralized, team-controlled locations or, alternatively, flying them to team facilities in the Dominican Republic or elsewhere.

The result: international scouts are forced to travel all over Venezuela to evaluate prospect. And, given how destabilized and dangerous Venezuela has become, they believe their safety is at risk:

“MLB’s rules that limit our ability to travel a Venezuelan guy to the Dominican Republic, that limit our ability to get them in a complex at different ages, all these rules are solely contributing to the risks that all of us are taking traveling from complex to complex, facility to facility in the streets,” said one international director. “Someone is going to get killed. It’s just a matter of time, and it’s on MLB when it happens, because they’re the ones who created these rules.”

As Badler notes, Major League Baseball itself has moved its annual national showcase out of the country due to safety concerns. It will not, however, relax scouting rules — which seem arbitrary on their surface in the first place — in order to make the job of international scouts safer.

It seems that Rob Manfred and the league owe their employees better than this. Or at the very least owe them an explanation why they don’t think they do.