Daily Dose: Cup check!

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This is no laughing matter, despite the jokes that will inevitably fly after news of this breaks. It turns out that Mariners third baseman Adrian Beltre injured his testicle last night after a ground ball took a bad hop and hit him in the groin area. No, he does not wear a protective cup.
Geoff Baker, Seattle Times
That quote just about says it all. Adrian Beltre, who had already come back from June shoulder surgery to rejoin the Mariners’ lineup last week, is now back on the disabled list with an injury that will probably have everyone reading this right now cringing. He had tearing and internal bleeding, and may be headed for surgery that would end his season, yet amazingly stayed in the game for 14 innings Wednesday.
Baker reports that Beltre could return in a couple weeks if surgery isn’t needed, but no one would blame the impending free agent for taking September off either way. Beltre’s unfortunate injury combined with Jack Wilson’s hamstring problems have the Mariners extremely short-handed on the left side of the infield, so much so that Jack Hannahan and Josh Wilson were the starters Thursday night against the Yankees.
While protective cup sales skyrocket in the Seattle area, here are some other notes from around baseball …

* Bronson Arroyo was busy Thursday. In the afternoon reports surfaced about his admitted use of over-the-counter supplements that aren’t on MLB’s approved list and a few hours later he tossed a two-hit shutout against the Nationals, giving up just one walk and two singles while plunking a batter. Arroyo has a Quality Start in six of his last seven outings, slicing his ERA from 5.85 to 4.74 during that time.
* Jake Peavy took a big first step towards joining the White Sox by the end of the month when he threw three shutout innings in a rehab start Thursday at Triple-A. Out since early June with a torn ankle tendon, Peavy struck out five, walked one, and allowed just one hit while throwing 43 pitches against the Red Sox’s affiliate. He’s aiming for August 28 against the Yankees as his White Sox debut.
* Tim Hudson also had an encouraging rehab outing Thursday, allowing two runs in four innings at Triple-A. He threw 42 of 63 pitches for strikes and was clocked in the low-90s consistently, which matches the 91 miles per hour he averaged on his fastball prior to Tommy John elbow surgery. He’s expected to make 2-3 more rehab starts before coming off the disabled list at some point next month.
AL Quick Hits: Justin Verlander blanked the Red Sox for eight innings Thursday as Clay Buchholz picked up a tough-luck loss … Neftali Feliz whiffed five in two perfect innings Thursday, giving him 13 strikeouts with zero walks in 6.2 innings overall … Torii Hunter (groin) homered in a rehab game Wednesday and is set to come off the disabled list this weekend … CC Sabathia had his first 10-strikeout game Thursday after notching eight of them last year … David Ortiz went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts against Verlander and is 5-for-44 (.113) this month … A pair of MRI exams revealed no major damage to Glen Perkins’ shoulder, so he could return in September … Justin Morneau went hitless in four at-bats Thursday with his batting average dropping below .300 for the first time since April … Baltimore will go with a six-man rotation in September to accommodate young arms Chris Tillman, Brian Matusz, and David Hernandez … Josh Hamilton went 4-for-4 with two doubles Thursday and has 18 hits in his last 10 games.
NL Quick Hits: Jonny Gomes homered three times Thursday and is now slugging .566 in 166 at-bats … Garrett Jones struck out in all four of his at-bats Thursday, perhaps signaling the end of his deal with the devil … Ted Lilly (knee, shoulder) said Thursday that he’ll be ready to rejoin the rotation next week … Cliff Lee won his sixth straight start with eight innings of one-run ball Thursday … Manny Parra allowed six runs on 13 hits to the NL’s worst offense Thursday, but got his fifth straight win thanks to Cesar Carrillo being rocked in his debut … Dexter Fowler returned from a bruised knee by going 4-for-5 with three doubles and three runs Thursday … Jason Marquis tossed seven innings of one-run ball Thursday, tying Johan Santana and Adam Wainwright for the league lead with 13 wins … Kevin Kouzmanoff had hits in all five at-bats Thursday and went 11-for-13 in the series against Milwaukee … Already pitching through a knee injury, Mike Hampton left Thursday’s start after straining his shoulder.

The Marlins are using Jose Fernandez’s death to head off criticism of their teardown

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There are certain facts about the Miami Marlins that are basic and clear. Among them:

  • Jose Fernandez died in September of 2016;
  • Marlins owner Jeffery Loria, who was by all accounts very close to Jose Fernandez, took it hard;
  • Despite losing the ace who was supposed to anchor the staff for years to come, Loria decided against a teardown that offseason because there was a lot of talent on the roster and trying to patch holes and compete made sense to him;
  • During the ensuing offseason, the Marlins signed a number of players;
  • Those players failed or got hurt and now the Marlins are engaged in a total rebuild and have traded away players in an effort to slash payroll.

Those things cannot be disputed. Nevertheless, I do not think it’s unfair to say that this framing off all of those facts, via anonymous sources speaking to Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald, is totally bogus:

The death of pitching ace Jose Fernandez in 2016 triggered a series of costly roster decisions that the Marlins’ new owners are having to contend with now.

There is no shortage of ‘what ifs’ with how it all played out.

But this much is clear: according to sources with knowledge of internal discussions at the time, a number of players with prohibitive salaries wouldn’t be on the Marlins now if previous owner Jeffrey Loria had listened to the advice of his top baseball people back then.

These “top baseball people” are mostly still with the Marlins, including president of baseball operations Michael Hill, so it’s impossible to separate the historical account of this from present day spin. Which is to say that this article is, without question, fueled by Marlins officials looking to deflect fan anger at their decisions this offseason by holding up the tragic death of Jose Fernandez as a shield against criticism.

“Hey, we know you don’t like that we traded away our best players and continue to look to slash talent,” they are basically saying, “but, please, blame God and fate and Jose Fernandez’s poor decisions and Jeff Loria’s emotions and anything else! Do not blame the baseball operations department of the Miami Marlins!”

It’s emotionally manipulative crap, and whoever supplied this line to Spencer ought to be ashamed of himself.

The emotional components aside, whatever the advice these sources gave to Loria at the time about the need to rebuild then and to not sign players heading into 2017, it was rejected. Once that occurred, like all subordinates, they were required to go out and make good decisions with their overarching marching orders. To the extent they are claiming that extending Martin Prado, signing Edinson Volquez, Brad Ziegler and Junichi Tazawa and trading for Dan Straily were bad moves, they hold responsibility for that too. Loria was a lot of things, but he was not out there handling the day-to-day transactions. If the Marlins signed bad players to bad contracts, the people now looking to be excused of that hold a great deal of responsibility.

Even if we put THAT aside this is a crap line of reasoning. Spencer clearly notes that the idea to give Martin Prado his three-year, $40 million extension was agreed to in principle before Fernandez’s death, even if it was officially signed after. For another, Volquez only cost the Marlins $9 million last year, which should not be bank-breaking for an average pitcher, which Volquez basically was before his injury. He’s on the hook for $13 million this year, much of it presumably covered by insurance. Ziegler and Tazawa are owed a combined $16 million. Given the injuries and ineffectiveness of these guys, no, they are not good contracts, but they also amount to less than $30 million in commitments, again, offset by insurance. They should not break the back of a competently-run organization, even if it’s a low revenue one like the Marlins.

I get it, Marlins executives: you’ve got new bosses who have mandated that you slash payroll. You’ve caught all kinds of hell for it and no one likes catching hell. But (a) the mandate has way, way, way more to do with the new owners’ debt service obligations from their highly-leveraged acquisition of the team than it does the death of Jose Fernandez; and (b) the decisions you made in the wake of Fernandez’s death are your responsibility and you don’t get off the hook for them by making an emotionally manipulative appeal.

Do better, guys. This is pathetic even by the historically pathetic standards of the Miami Marlins.