John Smoltz to St. Louis

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John Smoltz is set to clear waivers today at noon. When he does, the Cardinals are going to sign him.  They’re going to use him as a fifth starter initially, with thoughts of moving him to the bullpen late in the year or for the playoffs.

The Cardinals are one of the few contenders who really have nothing to lose by giving Smoltz a shot in the rotation.  Between Todd Wellemeyer, Mitchell Boggs, Brad Thompson, and P.J. Walters, their fifth starters have been utter abominations. Those guys are a combined 10-15 with a 5.45 ERA, and given that they’ve allowed 320 baserunners in 188 1/3 innings, that ERA probably represents good luck.

Only downside: NL guys like me will bang our heads against a wall if Smoltz waltzes in to St. Louis and starts to pitch effectively, because it will just be the latest painful data point reminding us of the disparity between the leagues.

Javier Baez, D.J. LeMahieu have disagreement about sign-stealing

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Fellow second basemen Javier Baez of the Cubs and D.J. LeMahieu of the Rockies got into a disagreement in the top of the third inning of Sunday’s game at Coors Field over sign-stealing.

LeMahieu reached on a fielder’s choice ground out, then advanced to second base on Charlie Blackmon‘s single. While Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story were batting, Baez was concerned that LeMahieu was relaying the Cubs’ signs to his teammates. Baez decided to stand in front of LeMahieu to block any information he might have been giving to Arenado and Story. LeMahieu got irritated and the two jawed at each other for a bit. Umpires Vic Carapazza and Greg Gibson had to intervene to tell Baez to knock it off.

There has always been a back-and-forth with alleged sign-stealing. As long as teams aren’t using technology to steal signs, it’s fair game for players to relay information to their teammates about the opposing team’s signs. Last year, MLB determined the Red Sox went against the rules and used technology — an Apple watch in this case — to steal signs from the Yankees. Other teams in the past have been accused of using binoculars from the bullpen to steal signs. In this particular case with Baez and LeMahieu, there was no foul play going on, just Baez trying to make the Rockies cede what he perceived to be their slight competitive advantage.

The Cubs went on to beat the Rockies 9-7 on Sunday.