Ranking the farm systems

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Baseball America’s annual ranking of the farm systems is out. The top five: Rangers, Rays, Giants, Phillies and Indians.  The bottom five: Nationals, Diamondbacks, Blue Jays, Cardinals and Astros.

The Giants at number 3 seems like an empty ranking to me.  While they still technically count, the two blue chippers they name — Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner — aren’t going to be minor leaguers for long, and another named prospect — Angel Villalona — may never be allowed in the United States, what with the murder rap and all. Mostly, though, I just refuse to believe that Brian Sabean has built a solid farm system, because if that happened I’d have to stop criticizing him about everything, and it’s hard to let go of the things that you love.

The Indians should be on there twice. Once for having a good system of their own, and once for allowing Philadelphia to rank so high by virtue of not driving a hard bargain in the Cliff Lee deal.

At the bottom, the Nats have Strasburg and Storen, but everything else was put together by Jim Bowden so it’s understandably a mess. I think the most telling tidbit, however, comes in the Astros comment: no Houston farm team has had a winning record since 2007.  That’s sixteen team seasons. That’s top-to-bottom consistency, my friends.  Awful consistency, but consistency all the same.

Anyway, the B.A. list is always fun, if for no other reason than it puts to lie the “our team should trade some prospects for so-and-so” arguments you hear on talk radio all the time. Fact is, for a good number of you, there are no prospects. 

Dodgers place Yu Darvish on 10-day disabled list with back tightness

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In a flurry of roster moves, the Dodgers placed Yu Darvish on the 10-day disabled list with back tightness, the team announced Saturday. Darvish was removed from his start on Wednesday after experiencing back pain and is expected to skip his scheduled start in Pittsburgh next Tuesday before returning to the roster. Left-hander Edward Paredes was recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City in a corresponding move.

This is the first disabled list stint of the year for the 31-year-old right-hander, who exited Wednesday’s outing with a 3.83 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 9.9 SO/9 over 155 innings for the Dodgers and Rangers in 2017. Darvish told reporters that he felt comfortable continuing to pitch even after the diagnosis, but wanted to respect the team’s decision going forward.

The Dodgers have not officially announced Darvish’s replacement, but will likely turn to right-hander Brock Stewart for a spot start when they polish off their seven-game road trip next week. It’s been a rough weekend for the NL West leaders, who are still waiting on Clayton Kershaw‘s return and lost lefty reliever Grant Dayton to elbow discomfort on Friday.

Yankees oust Aroldis Chapman from the closer’s role

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The writing was on the wall, but the Yankees made it official on Saturday: Aroldis Chapman is no longer closing games for the Bronx Bombers. Comments from manager Joe Girardi suggested that the move is a temporary one, however, and he told reporters that Chapman will be utilized at “different points” in the game as the Yankees try to pinpoint the source of the left-hander’s struggles.

There’s no question that the flame-throwing southpaw has been off his game for a while, and his season 4.29 ERA, 4.3 BB/9 and 12.6 SO/9 hints at some of the issues he’s been facing. He imploded in each of his last three appearances, issuing a cumulative five hits, six runs and five strikeouts over just 3 1/3 innings. It seems plausible that the left rotator cuff inflammation that sidelined him several months ago has resurfaced, but the veteran lefty said Friday that he doesn’t believe any physical issues have caused his decline.

While Chapman works out the kinks in his mechanics, the Yankees will look to some combination of Dellin Betances and David Robertson to cover the ninth inning. Girardi wouldn’t commit to either reliever in the closer’s spot, however, and said he’d take it on a case-by-case basis depending on the match-ups in any given game. The long-term plan is still to reinstate Chapman, whenever that might make sense for the team.

“He’s been scuffling over the past 10 days, two weeks,” Girardi said. “I just thought for us to get him back on track, maybe the best way would be to move him around a little bit until he gets going. When we get him going like I believe he’ll get going, there’s a good chance I’ll put him right back in that closer’s role.”