As you’d expect, manager Ron Gardenhire had some good and some not-so-good things to say about Carlos Gomez after the Twins traded him to the Brewers:
He irritates people. Sometimes me. We’ve been trying to get him to calm down and get him to control the situations, and sometimes the situation controls him. There are times when you’re like, “Go-Go, you have to see what we’re trying to do here.” We just had a 25-pitch inning from our pitcher, and he goes up and falls down swinging on the first pitch.
Those things get you irritated as a manager, because we want him to recognize what we’re doing in a game. But he can play, and he’s fun to watch. He’s very, very talented and has a lot to learn, yes, but like I said, when you see him out there in center field covering all that ground and then some of the offensive things he can do that other people can’t do, that’s why the guy is in the big leagues.
Sounds about right. I’d have loved to see how differently things may have turned out for Gomez had he spent 2008 and perhaps even part of this year at Triple-A, but thanks to the Mets rushing him to the majors and the Twins feeling like they needed something immediate to show for the Johan Santana trade we’ll never know. Certainly many of those issues that Gardenhire brings up would’ve been worth working on against International League pitchers rather than American League pitchers.
Before settling on Gomez the Brewers were apparently deep in J.J. Hardy trade talks with several teams. For example, the Boston Globe reports that they turned down the Red Sox’s offer of Michael Bowden, insisting instead on either Clay Buchholz or Daniel Bard. According to the Toronto Globe and Mail they requested either Adam Lind or Travis Snider from the Blue Jays, but new general manager Alex Anthopoulos didn’t bite.
Hardy is coming off arguably the worst season of his career, so there’s no doubt that the Brewers sold low, but obviously he still had plenty of value around baseball and Milwaukee clearly wasn’t just looking to dump him. Bowden is a solid pitching prospect, and guys like Buchholz, Lind, Bard, and Snider are all very promising young building blocks. Gomez got a bum rap in Minnesota and is underrated in terms of current value and future upside, but as a Twins fan I’d probably have traded him for any of those four players.
In a special for USA TODAY Sports, Mike Vorkunov details how six teams — the Mets in particular — provide an education program that helps their Dominican prospects earn high school diplomas. It seems like an obvious win-win: smarter players make smarter decisions, making them more likely to achieve their potential as athletes. That, of course, requires spending money, which is why only six teams make the investment. For the players, if baseball doesn’t work out, they are better able to support themselves in other ways.
Vorkunov lists the Pirates, Tigers, Phillies, Diamondbacks, and Mariners as the other teams who provide an education program for their Dominican prospects. We learned earlier this month that the Phillies were also investing in making sure their minor leaguers eat healthy. As Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer reported, “few teams” supply their minor league players with healthy food options.
Juan Henderson, the head of the Mets’ Dominican academy, said, “We see the benefit of it. I gotta tell you, we’re working with a new generation of baseball players. You see in the past that players just carry a bat and a glove and a helmet on the baseball field and in the academy. Those years, I think, are going to be pretty much over. Now they also do that, but they also carry books, they also carry an iPad, they also carry a laptop.”
Kudos to the six teams for making a great decision and here’s hoping the other 24 teams follow suit.
Angels first baseman Albert Pujols cranked out a two-run home run in the third inning against Rangers starter Derek Holland, breaking a scoreless tie. It’s the ninth homer of the season for Pujols and the 569th of his career, putting him into a tie with Rafael Palmeiro for 12th on baseball’s all-time home run leaderboard.
Harmon Killebrew is Pujols’ next target at 573, followed by Mark McGwire at 583 and Frank Robinson at 586.
Pujols hadn’t homered since May 13. He entered Monday night hitting a mediocre .228/.309/.395 with eight home runs and 28 RBI in 188 plate appearances.
Monday has unfortunately been a day of injury news. Royals outfielder Alex Gordon is the latest to hit the 15-day disabled list, as he has been diagnosed with a fractured scaphoid bone in his right wrist. The club has recalled infielder Cheslor Cuthbert from Triple-A Omaha.
Gordon suffered the injury colliding with third baseman Mike Moustakas attempting to catch a fly ball on Sunday afternoon. He is expected to miss three to four weeks, MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan reports.
Gordon was having a tough 2016 campaign and the injury only makes it worse. He’s hitting .211/.319/.331 with four home runs and 10 RBI in 166 plate appearances on the year.
The Royals will likely use Jarrod Dyson and Paulo Orlando in left field in Gordon’s absence.
The Orioles announced on Monday night that the club has traded reliever Brian Matusz to the Braves in exchange for minor league pitchers Brandon Barker and Trevor Belicek. The Braves are also receiving a Competitive Balance Round B pick (76th overall) in the 2016 draft.
Matusz, 29, made his season debut on April 23 after battling a back injury since early March. It’s been a struggle, as the lefty has yielded eight runs on 11 hits and seven walks with just one strikeout in six innings. He is earning $3.9 million and can become a free agent after the season.
MLB.com’s Mark Bowman reports that the Braves are expected to designate Matusz for assignment. Essentially, the Braves bought the draft pick for Matusz’s remaining salary of $3 million of $3.9 million total.
Barker, 23, has been pitching at Double-A Mississippi after getting a taste of Triple-A last year. So far this season, the right-hander has a 2.00 ERA with a 40/12 K/BB ratio in 45 innings spanning eight starts and a relief appearance.
Belicek, a 23-year-old left-hander, has spent most of the year with Single-A Rome, compiling a 2.49 ERA with a 29/1 K/BB ratio in 25 1/3 innings over 11 relief appearances.