Daily Dose: Webb finished in Arizona?

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Last week various reports surfaced that the Diamondbacks don’t plan to exercise the $8.5 million option on Brandon Webb for 2010 and would instead attempt to work out a new, incentive-laden deal for the injured right-hander.
Those plans hit a major snag Tuesday when Webb said that he’s not willing to take a discount to remain in Arizona “if it comes down to that and they ask me to do something like that.”
While paying $8.5 million for Webb next season is a huge risk for the Diamondbacks given that he hasn’t pitched since Opening Day thanks to a shoulder injury, it doesn’t make much sense for him to accept a below-market deal when big-payroll teams like the Yankees and Red Sox would definitely take fliers on him being healthy. As he put it: “I’d have to see what else is out there and see if there’s something better.”
While the Diamondbacks learn that declining the $8.5 million will likely mean the end of Webb’s time in Arizona, here are some other notes from around baseball …


* Zack Greinke moved one step closer to the Cy Young award by picking up his 15th victory with six shutout innings Tuesday. Greinke has clearly been the league’s best pitcher this season, but it remains unclear if Cy Young voters will look past a modest win total due largely to horrendous teammates. Fifteen victories and an MLB-leading 2.08 ERA will hopefully do the trick, and he likely has a couple more starts left.
* Already sidelined by a strained calf, Kevin Kouzmanoff is now suffering from a sore back and may not be able to return this season. Chase Headley has looked good at third base in his absence, hitting .349 with seven extra-base hits in 11 games back at the spot he played in the minors. Kouzmanoff has long been linked to various trade rumors and the Padres seem more likely than ever to pull the trigger this winter.
* Three months ago the Cardinals signed 16-year-old outfielder Wagner Mateo out of the Dominican Republic for $3.1 million, but the contract was voided Tuesday based on the “pre-existing injuries and physical defects” clause relating to a vision problem. Wagner is now free to sign with any team and will surely land somewhere for a solid chunk of change, but won’t get the second-largest Latin American bonus ever again.
AL Quick Hits: Bobby Jenks may be done for the year after aggravating his calf injury Tuesday … Michael Young (hamstring) had trouble simply jogging Monday and is no sure thing to play again this season … Denard Span missed Tuesday’s game with the side effects from being plunked on the helmet Monday, so Carlos Gomez played center field and led off in his place … Edwin Jackson tossed seven shutout innings Tuesday amid speculation that he’s been tipping pitches recently … Glen Perkins will get a second opinion on his injured shoulder from Dr. Lewis Yocum … Brian Roberts smacked his MLB-leading 55th double Tuesday, tying Lance Berkman’s record for a switch-hitter … Matt LaPorta exited Tuesday’s game after injuring his hip sliding into home plate … Josh Hamilton (glute) may return as soon as this weekend after taking batting practice and shagging fly balls Tuesday … Billy Butler’s batting average has dipped below .300, but he’s still close to some big-time company.
NL Quick Hits: Jair Jurrjens is 4-0 with a 1.60 ERA against the Mets this season after Tuesday’s gem … Joe Blanton threw seven shutout innings Tuesday, allowing three or fewer runs for the 14th time in 15 starts … Chris Snyder will undergo back surgery Wednesday, but should be ready for spring training … Aaron Cook (shoulder) is set to rejoin the rotation Friday after missing over a month … Angel Guzman (triceps) has been shut down for the year after posting a 2.95 ERA and 47/23 K/BB ratio in 61 innings … Brian McCann left Tuesday’s game with a bruised wrist … Despite leaving his last outing after just three innings, J.A. Happ will make his scheduled Thursday start … Carlos Gonzalez left Tuesday’s game after straining his hamstring on a triple, with Seth Smith replacing him … Gary Sheffield said Tuesday that he plans to play in 2010 at the age of 41 … Brett Myers (shoulder) will be shut down for one week after an MRI exam showed a Grade 1 strain … Willy Taveras returned from the disabled list Tuesday after missing over a month.

Oh good, it’s “Yasiel Puig is a showboat” season

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With the Los Angeles Dodgers punching their ticket to the World Series, Yasiel Puig is now going to be the subject of commentary by people who tend not to care about Yasiel Puig until it’s useful for them to write outraged columns or go on talk radio rants about baseball deportment.

We got a brief teaser of this last night when, after scoring the Dodgers’ ninth run on a Logan Forsythe double, TBS analyst Ron Darling criticized Puig for his “shenanigans” and “rubbing it in.” Never mind that his third base coach was waving him home and that, if he didn’t run hard, he was just as likely to be criticized for dogging it. In other news, baseball teams don’t stop trying in the fourth inning of baseball games, nor should they.

That was just an appetizer, though. The first real course of the “Puig is a problem” feast we’re likely to be served over the next week and a half comes from Phil Mushnick of the New York Post, who wrote it even before the Dodgers won Game 5 last night:

If you were raised to love baseball and to recognize the smart, winning kind from everything less, the Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig is insufferable. As the sport is diminished by professionals who disregard the basic act of running to first base as a matter of style, Puig, an incurable home-plate poser, often makes turning doubles and triples into singles appear effortless . . . In the postseason, Puig continues to behave as if he’s in the Home Run Derby. He even seems to relish his high-risk flamboyant foolishness despite frequent backfires.

This may as well be a fill in the blanks column from 2013 or 2014, when “Puig is a flashy showboater who costs his team more than he gives it” columns were all the rage. It ignores the fact that Puig, commonly dinged for being lazy, worked his butt off in 2017, particularly on defense, to the point where he has a strong case for a Gold Glove this year. It also ignores his .455/.538/.727 line in the NLDS sweep of the Diamondbacks and his .389/.500/.611 line against the Cubs in the NLCS. In the regular season he set career highs for games, homers, RBI, stolen bases and almost set a career high for walks despite having seventy fewer plate appearances than he did back in 2013 when he walked 67 times. He’s not the MVP candidate some thought he might be, but he’s a fantastic player who has been a key part of the Dodgers winning their first pennant in 29 years.

But the dings on Puig from the likes of Mushnick have rarely been about production. They’ve simply been about style and the manner in which he’s carried himself. To the extent those issues were legitimate points of criticism — particularly his tardiness, his relationships with his teammates and his at times questionable dedication — they have primarily been in-house concerns for the Dodgers, not the casual fan like Mushnick. On that score the Dodgers have dealt with Puig and, by all accounts, Puig has responded pretty well. An occasional lapse to be sure, but nothing which makes him a greater burden than a benefit. I mean, if he was, would be be batting cleanup in a World Series-clinching game?

So if the beef with Puig is not really about baseball, what could Phil Mushnick’s issue with him possible be?

I, for one, have no idea whatsoever.