Sports Illustrated’s Jon Heyman runs down what he considers to be “October’s Disasters.” Top of the list? The manager of the team that’s probably going to win the World Series:
It may be a little odd to put the manager of the team that’s leading the ALCS 3-2 in games atop this list [note: this was posted before last night’s game]. But Girardi has had a very strange postseason indeed. Joe Torre wrote a bestseller this year, and I can’t wait for Girardi’s new tome, Over-Managing 101. Girardi apparently already has a dreary book of overwrought stats in the dugout, and he’s gone to it once or two or maybe even three times too many.
Girardi’s blunders have been well-documented, but at some point doesn’t the outcome trump the mistakes? The definition of a “disaster” is “a calamitous event bringing great damage, loss, or destruction; a sudden or great misfortune or failure.” Girardi has been less than ideal, but with the talent at his disposal, any one decision he makes is fairly unimportant. And obviously the outcome hasn’t been too terribly affected by anything he’s done.
Given the other possible choices — Matt Holliday, Chip Caray, the umpires, Mike Scioscia, and anything having to do with the Dodgers’ NLCS performance — I think Girardi needs to be moved down that list quite a bit.
Update (7:01 PM EDT): David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports the deal has been completed.
ESPN’s Keith Law reported on Saturday evening that a bad contract swap involving the Braves’ Hector Olivera and the Padres’ Matt Kemp was “getting close.” Olivera has been pulled off the field, per Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that only a last-second medical would kill the deal at this point, and that the Padres will be sending money to the Braves.
Kemp, 31, will have $64.5 million remaining on his contract through 2019 after this season, but the Dodgers will pay $3.5 million annually over those remaining three years, so the $64.5 million is really $54 million. The veteran has compiled a .262/.285/.489 triple-slash line with 23 home runs and 69 RBI in 431 plate appearances for the Padres this season.
Olivera, 31, will have $28.5 million remaining on his contract through 2020 after this season. The outfielder was handed an 82-game suspension, beginning on May 26, for his involvement in a domestic dispute on April 13. The suspension is up on August 2. He has a .501 OPS in 21 major league at-bats this season and a .278 OPS in 37 PA at Triple-A.
Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the Padres will consider designating Olivera for assignment. The trade is all about the salary dump for the Padres, as they’d rather give outfield playing time to prospects Hunter Renfroe and Manuel Margot.
The Athletics and Royals swapped outfielders on Saturday. The Athletics sent Billy Burns to Kansas City and the Royals sent Brett Eibner to Oakland.
Burns, 26, doesn’t provide much in the way of offense, but he runs the bases well and plays solid defense. He was hitting .234/.270/.303 with 11 doubles, four triples, and 14 stolen bases in 274 plate appearances.
Eibner, 27, was batting .231/.286/.423 with three home runs and 10 RBI in 85 plate appearances. He has spent most of the season with Triple-A Omaha, where he’s put up a .902 OPS in 219 PA. Eibner played the outfield corners in the majors, but racked up a ton of time playing center in the minors, so his versatility will be valuable to the A’s.
Burns will become eligible for arbitration for the first time after the 2017 season while Eibner has hardly accrued any service time, which might explain part of the motivation behind the trade for the small-market Athletics.