Red Sox send Lugo to Cards for Duncan

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Because you can never trade for just one left-handed hitting, first
baseman-type with a career OPS in the low 800s whose father was a
former All-Star pitcher and whose brother is also a professional
baseball player.

Ever without the historical similarities, it is fascinating that the
Red Sox traded for two such similar players in one day in getting Chris
Duncan and Adam LaRoche. However, while LaRoche is coming over to play
a significant role down the stretch, Duncan is likely being looked at
strictly as insurance. It’s no secret that he’s hurting, and the
Cardinals had just optioned him to the minors. The Red Sox will likely
assign him to Triple-A Pawtucket until an injury opens up a spot.

This trade for Boston was more about getting rid of Julio Lugo. The
Mets appeared interested in signing him as a free agent, but the
Cardinals were willing to part with Duncan and a player to be named.
Duncan wouldn’t seem to have a role in Boston’s plans, but he’s more
depth for a team obsessed with it. The 28-year-old has hit
.257/.348/.458 in 1,147 major league at-bats. He got off to a great
start this year, hitting .304/.417/.522 in April, but he hadn’t done
much of anything since. He was 1-for-27 this month, giving him a season
line of .227/.329/.358.

Duncan is making $825,000 this year as a super-two player. He
probably won’t be due more than $1 million-$1.2 million in 2010, which
should give him some trade value. He’d be a nice platoon option at that
price.

Lugo figures to be just about free for the Cardinals, as the Red Sox
were willing to pick up most or all of the approx. $13.5 million he was
due through the end of next year. He will likely take the spot of the
newly recalled Brian Barden on the St. Louis roster and play behind
Brendan Ryan at shortstop. The Cards are sure to have him work out at
other positions as well, but since he hasn’t played anywhere besides
short since 2007, it could be some time before he’s an option at second
or third. Unfortunately, Lugo has displayed very little range
defensively since coming back from spring knee surgery. He may end up
outhitting Ryan, but he’d be an awfully weak regular unless his legs
come back.

It’s the tenth anniversary of the biggest rout in baseball history

Associated Press
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Ten years ago today the Rangers and the Orioles squared off at Camden Yards. The Orioles built a 3-0 lead after three innings and then all hell broke loose.

The Rangers scored thirty (30!) unanswered runs via a five-spot in the fourth, a nine-spot in the sixth, a ten-spot in the eighth and a six-spot in the ninth. That was . . . a lot of spots.

Two Rangers players — Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Ramon Vazquez — hit two homers and drove in seven runs a piece. The best part: they were the eighth and ninth hitters in the lineup. There was plenty of offense to go around, however as David Murphy went 5-for-7 and scored five times. Travis Metcalf hit a pinch-hit grand slam. Marlon Byrd drove in four. It was a bloodbath, with Texas rattling out 29 hits and walking eight times.

On the Orioles side of things, Daniel Cabrera took the loss, giving up six runs on nine hits in five innings. That’s not a terribly unusual line for a bad day at the office for a pitcher — someone will probably get beat up like that in the next week or so — but the Orioles’ relievers really added to the party. Brian Burres was the first victim, allowing eight runs on eight hits in only two-thirds of an inning. Rob Bell gave up seven in an inning and a third. Paul Shuey wore the rest of it, allowing nine runs on seven hits over the final two.

The best part of the insanely busy box score, however, was not from any of the Orioles pitchers or any of the Rangers hitters. Nope, it was from a Rangers relief pitcher named Wes Littleton. You probably don’t remember him, as he only pitched in 80 games and never appeared in the big leagues after 2008. But on this day — the day of the biggest blowout in baseball history — Wes Littleton notched a save. From Baseball-Reference.com:

Three innings and 43 pitches is a lot of work for a reliever and, per the rules, it’s a save, regardless of the margin when he entered the game. Still, this was not exactly a game that was ever in jeopardy.

When it went down, way back on August 22, 2007, it inspired me to write a post at my old, defunct independent baseball blog, Shysterball, arguing about how to change the save rule. Read it if you want, but know that (1) no one has ever paid attention to such proposals in baseball, even if such proposals are frequently offered; and (2) the hypothetical examples I use to illustrate the point involve an effective Joba Chamberlain and Joe Torre’s said use of him, which tells you just how long ago this really was.

Oh, one final bit: this massacre — the kind of game that the Orioles likely wanted to leave, go back home and go to sleep afterward — was only the first game of a doubleheader. Yep, they had to strap it on and play again, with the game starting at 9PM Eastern time. Baltimore lost that one too, 9-7, concluding what must have been one of the longest days any of the players involved had ever had at the office, both figuratively and literally.

Hall of Fame baseball announcer Rafael ‘Felo’ Ramirez dies

Associated Press
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MIAMI (AP) Rafael “Felo” Ramirez, a Hall of Fame baseball radio broadcaster who was the signature voice for millions of Spanish-speaking sports fans over three decades, has died. He was 94.

The Miami Marlins announced Ramirez’ death Tuesday.

Ramirez, who died Monday night, began his broadcasting career in Cuba in 1945 before calling 31 All-Star games and World Series in Spanish. He was the Marlins Spanish-language announcer since their inaugural season in 1993 and was inducted into baseball’s Hall of Fame in 2001.

He was known for an expressive, yet low-key style and his signature strike call of “Essstrike.”

Several Spanish-language broadcasters, including Amury Pi-Gonzanez of the Seattle Mariners and San Francisco Giants, have admitted to emulating his style.