The Padres make a mildly baffling trade

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This isn’t the sort of trade that’s going to alter the balance of power or anything, but it does have some gawk-appeal:

The San Diego Padres acquired infielder Oscar Salazar from the
Baltimore Orioles for right-handed pitcher Cla Meredith on Sunday.

The trade became more urgent for San Diego after utilityman Edgar
Gonzalez was hit in the head with a pitch on Saturday night and
remained hospitalized Sunday. San Diego is expected to place Gonzalez
on the DL. The brother of All-Star first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, Edgar
was still complaining of dizziness, ringing in his ears and a partial
loss of hearing a day after the frightening beaning.

Not to take a thing away from the Edgar Gonzalez situation — beanings
are serious business — but I’m not sure what was so “urgent” about
this deal. The Padres aren’t going anywhere this year, and unless
they’ve made the organizational decision to go to a zone defense, they
have a second baseman somewhere in the system who can serve as a
utilityman in Gonzalez’s absence.

What they or any other team don’t have a lot of, however, are 26 year-old groundball machines, as The Hardball Times’ Evan Brunell puts it. No, Meredith ain’t the second coming of Dan Quisenberry or anything, but he does represent something
of value in the game of baseball. The kind of which can and should
bring more than a journeyman infielder like Oscar Salazar around the
trade deadline.

Can anyone give me one good reason why Kevin Towers couldn’t fill
Gonzalez’s hole with an organizational soldier for a week while seeing
if he couldn’t drum up a little bit more for a decent reliever than
Oscar Salazar? Can’t anyone point to a team a little more desperate to
obtain him than the 40-50 Baltimore Orioles? Maybe this is just a
little thing, but when you’re a team like the Padres, the little things
add up.

Bartolo Colon ain’t doing so hot this year

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If he wasn’t 44 years-old we’d just call it a slump, but the way Bartolo Colon is pitching right now makes you wonder if the end is nigh.

Colon was shelled this afternoon, giving up seven runs on ten hits and walking three in five innings of work to take the loss against the Pirates. That brings his ERA up to 6.96 on the year. He’s allowed five or more runs in five of his ten starts and opposing batters are hitting .320 against him. One of the big reasons he had been so effective into his 40s had been his low walk rate — he led the NL in this category for the past two seasons — but he’s walking more guys this year than last.

The Braves picked up Colon for the reasons a lot of rebuilding teams pick up veteran starters: to provide innings and stability until the younger arms of the future can mature. Colon, however, has been the weakest link of the Braves rotation.

At some point, every baseball player reaches the end. Almost all of them do it before the age of 44. One hopes, given his history and popularity that Colon is just experiencing a rough patch and that, by mid season, he’ll be reliably pumping strikes into the zone the way he has the past few seasons. But with each bad start he registers this year, that’s seeming like more and more of a stretch.

Braves designate Josh Collmenter for assignment

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Last night Braves reliever Josh Collmenter surrendered three homers and seven runs in the 10th inning of a loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates. He came into the game when it was tied 5-5 so, yeah, ouch. Today Collmenter is on his way to no longer being a Braves reliever as he has been designated for assignment.

Collmenter made 11 appearances for the Braves, going 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA in 17 innings. If he doesn’t latch on someplace else he can take heart that his final act in the big leagues was striking out former MVP Andrew McCutchen. If only he hadn’t surrendered consecutive homers to David Freese, Jose Osuna and Jordy Mercer just before that. Oh well. Take the good with the bad.

Right-hander Matt Wisler, who has been no great shakes in the bigs himself, was called up from Triple-A Gwinnett before today’s series finale against the Pirates. He’s currently throwing mopup duty for Bartolo Colon, who got shelled for seven runs in four innings.

Given how Colon is going, maybe the Braves will be thinking about some more transactions soon.