Josh Byrnes, Dave Dombrowski and Brian Cashman were just brought before us to “announce” the Granderson trade. I think I could rip into about 2,000 words on the metaphysics of it all (i.e. has the trade really happened if no one has yet to announce it?) but I’ll save that for the bar and my annoyed drinking companions this evening. The short version:
- Byrnes, Dombrowski and Cashman were all introduced by their official titles. It’s different for each of them. Byrnes is an “executive vice president and general manager.” Cashman is a “senior vice president.” Dombrowski is “CEO, President and general manager.” I’m assuming those titles are, to some extent, negotiable and mildly meaningless. If I ever become a GM I’m going to demand to be called “Vice President of Funk, Empress of India and General Manager.”
- Asked about when and how the talks got started, Dombrowski said that it began back around Thanksgiving.
- Why do the deal, Detroit? Dombrowski: “We had some adjustments we needed to make . . . given our situation.” Read: “we had to dump payroll because I was on crack when I gave Dontrelle Willis and Nate Robertson all that money a couple of years ago.”
- Both Dombrowski and Cashman seemed to go out of their way to talk about how hard a bargain Byrnes was driving. Me thinks the GMs doth protest too much. I mean, he was sitting right next to them, so I suppose it was natural that they wanted to make him feel better.
- Dombrowski on Austin Jackson: “he’s about as sure a prospect as you can have.” No pressure or anything, Austin. And you may want to read this, Dave.
- Cashman claimed that he was the last one into the deal and that he had “said no to so many deals involving Austin Jackson in the past.” I don’t doubt that.
- Cashman was asked if getting Granderson means that they’re going to cut bait on either Damon and/or Matsui. “Not necessarily,” Cashman said. “But it gives us comfort right now.” I think he meant from a roster construction perspective, but I’m guessing he meant from a negotiating perspective.
Now on to the metaphysics of it all . . .
Nationals’ star outfielder Bryce Harper had some words of advice for a local Little League team on Saturday, telling a crowd of young players and their parents that winning matters far more than any participation trophies they might receive for their efforts on the field.
“As much as they might tell you, ‘Oh, it’s okay, you guys lost…’ No, Johnny, no,” Harper explained. “No participation trophies, okay? First place only. Come on.”
The panic over participation trophy culture has swelled over the last few years as studies continue to suggest that children are happier when they’re praised for their accomplishments, rather than rewarded for simply trying their best. The general idea is that kids aren’t motivated to succeed when they know they’ll receive a ribbon or medal celebrating their efforts at the end of the day — regardless of whether they win or lose. (Granted, it stands to reason that every kid can feel the difference between winning a championship trophy and receiving a participation ribbon.) Some have taken the idea to an extreme, claiming that when a child receives too many accolades for mediocre or poor performances, it can warp the way they view the world by generating a sense of undeserved entitlement.
Harper kept his tone light during the Q&A session, however, drawing cheers and applause from the majority of parents and a few of the kids. The 2015 NL MVP has routinely taken his own advice over the years, earning Rookie of the Year honors, four All-Star nominations and a Silver Slugger award since he broke into the major leagues in 2012. Next on his list? A World Series championship.
MLB.com’s William Kosileski reports that Indians starter Danny Salazar is being moved to the bullpen and will be available as soon as Wednesday or Thursday. The Indians will go on a five-game road strip starting on June 2, and manager Terry Francona said that Salazar could get a start during that trip.
Salazar, 27, has struggled to a 5.50 ERA over his first 10 starts this season. While none of those starts were absolute disasters, he failed to finish the sixth inning in seven of those 10 starts. It’s a far cry from his performance over the last two seasons, when he finished with a 3.45 ERA and 3.87 ERA.
Salazar’s walk rate is up to a career-high 11.9 percent, per FanGraphs, and he’s allowing many more line drives at the expense of ground balls. Compared to 2016, his line drive rate is up 8.9 percent and his ground ball rate is down 10.4 percent. All of that could explain Salazar’s struggles to some extent.