Tejada stealing signs? Astros are outraged

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tejada_cruz_090914.jpgA couple of weeks ago, the New York Times brought to light a story about the 2001 Oakland A’s, and how some of the players were concerned that their star shortstop Miguel Tejada was tipping pitches to friends on opposing teams.

Tejada denied the accusations, his teammates ended up backing him up, and nothing came of it.

Now, come some new barbs thrown Tejada’s way, courtesy of Pittsburgh Pirates closer Matt Capps, who claims Tejada was working in concert with Houston Astros first base coach Jose Cruz to steal signs.

“Just compete,” Capps told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette after the game. “You don’t need to do any of that stuff. Those two have a thing going out there. I’m set, and he’s not even looking at me. That tells me all I need to know.”

Tejada called the accusations “ridiculous” and “unbelievable,” and backed up Cruz as well, saying “If he wants to disrespect me, that’s fine. He shouldn’t disrespect any coach.” Cruz went so far as to tell the Houston Chronicle that he was offended:

“Never ever in 13 years that I’ve been here (coaching) and 30 years I’ve been in baseball,” Cruz said. “Shoot. So … yeah, I’m offended. I don’t know how he got the idea that I gave a sign to Tejada.”

First of all, I think the Astros are a little too outraged over this. Sign-stealing is a part of baseball. Everyone does it. Just don’t get caught. Now maybe Tejada and Cruz weren’t in cahoots on that particular play, but spare us the outrage OK?

(In fact, our own Bert Blyleven breaks down the dos and don’ts of stealing signs right here.)

That being said, Capps needs to cut the crybaby act. I’m sure his Pirates teammates steal signs as well – or at least attempt to do it. If you think you caught the other team red-handed, plant your next pitch in the hitter’s ribs. That will get your message across.

Yordano Ventura killed in an auto accident

CLEVELAND, OH -  JUNE 2:  Starting pitcher Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals jokes with teammates as he walks off the field after the fifth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on June 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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Terrible, terrible news: Christian Moreno of ESPN reports that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura has been killed in an automobile accident in the Dominican Republic. His death has been confirmed by police. He was only 25 years-old. There are as of yet no details about the accident.

Ventura was a four-year veteran, having debuted in 2013 but truly bursting onto the scene for the Royals in 2014. That year he went 14-10 with a 3.20 ERA in 183 innings, ascending to the national stage along with the entire Royals team with some key performances in that year’s ALDS and World Series. The following year Ventura won 13 games for the World Champion Royals and again appeared in the playoffs and World Series.

Ventura was often in the middle of controversy — he found himself in several controversies arising out of his habit of hitting and brushing back hitters — but he was an undeniably electric young talent who was poised to anchor the Royals rotation for years to come. His loss, like that of Jose Fernandez just this past September, is incalculable to both his team, his fans and to Major League Baseball as a whole.

Our thoughts go out to his family, his friends, his teammates and his fans.

Report: Tim Lincecum is not ready for retirement

ANAHEIM, CA - JULY 29:  Tim Lincecum #55 of the Los Angeles Angels during the second inning of the game against the Boston Red Sox at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on July 29, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
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Free agent right-hander Tim Lincecum isn’t ready to hang up his cleats just yet. At least, that’s the word from Lincecum’s agent, Rick Thurman, who says the 32-year-old is still “throwing and getting ready for the season” (via Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News).

Lincecum may not be ready to enter retirement, but another quote from Thurman suggests that he’ll be picky about where he pitches next. He doesn’t appear open to pitching overseas, and despite not having a contract for 2017 (or even any serious suitors), the right-hander is set on pitching in the big leagues this year. Whether or not he’s willing to take a bullpen role to do so remains to be seen.

While Baggarly predicts some interest in the veteran righty, there’s not much in Lincecum’s recent history to inspire faith in him as a starter, or even a reliever. He picked up a one-year, $2.5 million contract with the Angels following his hip surgery in 2015, and went 2-6 in 2016 with a 9.16 ERA, 5.4 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 over 38 1/3 innings. At this point, a minor league contract seems like the surest path back to major league success, though he’s unlikely to find an open spot on the Giants’ or Angels’ rosters anytime soon.