Your pre-arbitration filing deadline signing scoreboard, Part III

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First we had Part I, then we had Part II, and now we have even more signings!  We will not be undersold!

  • Carl Pavano, Twins, $7 million.  Heyman says he “wouldn’t give that guy a penny.”  Maybe $7 million is a lot, but aren’t there such a thing as average starting pitchers in Heyman’s world?
  • Russell Martin, Dodgers, $5.05 million. Not a big raise for Martin, but it’s not like he had the best year ever.
  • Jered Weaver, Angels, $4.265 million. It’s hard to express in English, but I’m sure the Germans have some awesome, multi-syllabic word that perfectly expresses the notion of “a player who feels like he has been around forever due to the fact that he was a highly touted prospect, yet who is inexplicably still in his arbitration years.” 
  • Peter Moylan, Braves, $1.15 million. Dude missed almost all of 2008 following elbow surgery and then Bobby Cox throws him out there 87 times.  Either his arm is made of rubber or Bobby Cox thinks he’s two different guys.
  • Matt Garza, Rays, $3.35 million. Anyone else see a Sid Fernandez career for this guy?  As was the case with El Sid, whenever I see him he looks dominant, but they you look at his numbers at the end of the year and he’s just like, eh. Good pitcher, but if he could harness the awesomeness of which he is occasionally capable he’d be somethin’ else.
  • David Aardsma, Mariners, $2.75 million. Milton Bradley says that as long as Aardsma plays the right way, comes to spring training ready to
    work and ready to be part of the team that they have–good guys put their
    nose to the ground and bust their butts–they’ll even take Aardsma.
  • Michael Bourn, Matt Lindstrom, and Humberto Quintero, Astros for $2.4 million, $1.625 million and $750,000, respectively. Bourn was the only one of the three NL Gold Glovers who actually deserved it last year.
  • Jason Hammel, Rockies, $1.9 million. Jason Marquis gets $15 million over two years. The guy who the Rockies actually trusted to pitch in the playoffs is paid under $2 million for a year. Viva the free market.
  • Kevin Kouzmanoff, Athletics, money not yet reported. Obviously the A’s knew they had to pay him when they dealt for him, but doesn’t doing this deal a mere couple of days after the trade feel like putting a new water pump in a car you just friggin’ bought?
  • J.P. Howell, Rays, $1.8 million. Hey, J.P., I know you’re not the closer anymore, but please take this raise as a parting gift.
  • Jason Frasor, Brian Tallet, Blue Jays, $2.65 million and $ 2 million, respectively.  I continue to be upset that Alex Anthopoulos didn’t get to kick ass and take names in arbitration like he said he was going to.
  • Delmon Young, Twins, $2.6MM with $25,000 bonuses each for 575 and 600 plate appearances. You gotta figure that if he doesn’t step up and assert himself this year that he’s non-tender bait for next year.
  • Alex Gordon and Robinson Tejeda, Royals, terms are top secret. They could tell you, but then they’d have to kill you.
  • Stephen Drew, Diamondbacks $3.4 million. He’s the Ashlee Simpson of the Drew brothers. Wait, I forgot about Tim Drew.  Let’s start over: Tim is Magda Gabor, J.D. is Zsa Zsa, and Stephen is Eva. 
  • John Danks, White Sox,  $3.45 million, and all of the Slim-Fast he can drink. Forget that. I got my Danks and Jenks mixed up.  Again.
  • Pedro Feliciano, Mets $2.9 million with $100K in performance bonuses. He’s used so much, however that he’s probably the cheapest pitcher in baseball on a pro-rata basis.  If the Mets are out of it this year they should try to break Mike Marshall’s record with the guy.
  • Chris Ray, Rangers, $975,000. Ray saved 33 games once upon a time, but a 7.27 ERA and Tommy John surgery in the rear window will cut down on your market price.
  • Jeremy Accardo, Blue Jays, $1.08 million.  Accardo is like that old barn on a road trip. I feel like I’ve reported this deal four of five times already today, but according to my map I’m still heading in the right direction;
  • Rafael Perez, Indians, $795,000. Another member of the 7.00+ ERA club. I actually saw him pitch here in Columbus last year. I’m sure I’ll get plenty of chances this year too.
  • Luke Scott, Orioles, $4.05 million. I like Luke Scott. I kind of hope he turns into Matt Stairs and hangs around forever.
  • Jeff Baker, Mike Fontenot, Koyie Hill, Angel Guzman and Tom Gorzelanny, Cubs, for $975,000 $1million, $700,000, $825,000 and $800,000, respectively. Man, the Cubs were busy this morning. Kind of makes me wish I was in the room at the same time. I bet I’d have a good shot of slipping a contract with my name on it in front of Jim Hendry and walking away with $800K. 
  • Zach Duke, Pirates, terms unknown. And Duke comes from Parts Unknown. Used to wrestle with a mask back in his high school days. True story.
  • Mark Lowe, Mariners $1.15 million.  At some point in the last hour I became convinced that people just started making up names of baseball players and tweeted phony deals for them. Neat idea. I think I’m going to jump on the Twitter and make up one myself.

Tony La Russa went into the Pirates broadcast booth over Hit-by-pitch criticism

MESA, AZ - MARCH 10:  Chief baseball officer Tony La Russa of the Arizona Diamondbacks gestures as he talks with coaches in the dugout before the spring training game against the Oakland Athletics at HoHoKam Stadium on March 10, 2015 in Mesa, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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On Tuesday a couple of Arizona Diamondbacks batters were hit in head by Pirates pitcher Arquimedes Caminero. Caminero did not appear to be trying to bean these guys. He simply had no control whatsoever. That the Pirates just sent him down to the minors underscores that. Still: a bad situation given the inherent danger of plunkings in general and beanballs in particular. Thank goodness nether Dbacks batter appears to be injured.

It would make sense that Dbacks folks would be a bit upset at this, but Tony La Russa took things to the next level. The Pirates announcers apparently mentioned something about the Diamondbacks’ and La Russa’s history with hit-by-pitch controversies. And then this, from Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic . . .

La Russa acknowledged he went into a broadcast booth during Tuesday night’s game after he “heard some stuff on the air” that he considered inaccurate about his history with retaliatory pitches during his managerial days.

“I never have stood for inaccuracies,” La Russa said, “so I corrected the inaccuracies.

“It’s about taking responsibility. If you’re going to speak untruths then you’re going to get challenged and you should be responsible for what you say. I am. I reacted.”

That’s a totally chill and above-it-all way for a Hall of Famer and the head of baseball operations of a major league club to react. Glad to see La Russa, as always, is a portrait of zen.

Either way, the Pirates announcers should be excused if they were somewhat inaccurate. For you see, La Russa has always been somewhat hard to pin down on his plunking/beanball politics. In the past he’s said that another team accidentally hitting his team is bad while defending his own team’s clear and obvious retaliation. He once blamed an opposing hitter for escalating a situation by not avoiding what was clearly intentional attempt to hit him by his own player, claiming that a mere inside pitch with no intent was worse than his own guy TRYING to hit the opposition.

The common denominator to La Russa’s history with this stuff is (a) whatever the Tony La Russa-led team is doing is correct; (b) whatever the other team did was incorrect; and (c) almost everyone who isn’t Tony La Russa just doesn’t get it and that’s their problem, not his.

So of course he’s gonna go into a broadcast booth to La Russa-splain things to them. It’s a complicated business about which he and he alone has clarity. He’s doing us a favor, really.

Wade Boggs embroiled in non-controversy over his Yankees World Series ring!

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The Red Sox held a ceremony honoring the 1986 team last night and one of the key members of that team, Wade Boggs, was in attendance wearing  his Red Sox jersey. He also wore his Yankees World Series ring.

When I heard about this controversy a few minutes ago I did something that neither I nor most people who are a part of the Internet Industrial Complex usually do: wondered whether this was actually a controversy.

I quickly scanned around and found a good dozen or so articles talking about it and people talking about them talking about it. I noticed people making reference to how, theoretically, this could upset some Red Sox fans or be seen as a sign of disrespect. But I could not find anyone who actually cared. Anyone who was actually upset about it. I can’t say that I read every comment to every article, but you usually don’t have to dig deep to find people mad about something on the Internet and I could not immediately find anyone who was mad about this. Lots of jokes and comments about the idea of being mad, but no one who actually cared. It was like an obligatory ceremonial function the meaning of which everyone has forgotten.

There are a lot of “controversies” like that. They tend to be more common in the entertainment world than the sports world — people referencing a “scandalous” thing some singer or actor did which, in reality, scandalized no one — but it happens in sports too. In sports it’s when a convention or custom is not followed or when someone doesn’t otherwise conform to some set of expectations. A lot of the time no one cares at all. It’s all about the politics of recognizing situations in which someone might, in theory, care. Or once did long, long ago.

Maybe someone is genuinely mad at Wade Boggs over this If so, I’d love to hear from that person and wonder why on Earth they’d care. But I sort of feel like such a beast does not exist. And for that I’m pretty glad.

The Cardinals had a “statement loss” yesterday

ST. LOUIS, MO - MAY 25: Manager manager Mike Matheny #22 congratulates Matt Adams #32 of the St. Louis Cardinals as he enters the dugout after scoring a run during the fourth inning against the Chicago Cubs at Busch Stadium on May 25, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Scott Kane/Getty Images)
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I’ve always been critical of the concept of “statement games” in Major League Baseball. Maybe it matters more in football where there are far fewer games and thus each one means much more, but in baseball a win lasts, at best, 48 hours and usually less. Like Earl Weaver said, we do this every day, lady. When you’re constantly talking, as it were, any one statement is pretty unimportant.

I’ll grant that a “statement win” is a thing players use to motivate or validate themselves, of course. We on the outside can roll our eyes at the notion, but we can’t know the minds of a major league player. If they think that they made a statement and it’s important to them, hey, it’s important to them. I’ll admit, however, that a statement loss is a new one to me:

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Kolten Wong provided the basis of that headline. Here is what he said:

“I think we still made a statement. We were down 6-1 right off the bat. The game before, we were kind of in the same situation. We were tired of it,” second baseman Kolten Wong said. “Our pitchers have been our go-to these past few years. It was time for us to step up and I think we all kind of felt that, too. We just wanted to make this a game and show that we have our pitchers’ backs.”

In context it makes sense. A moral victory, as it were. They got to one of the best pitchers in the game after finding themselves down by several runs thanks to their starting pitching betraying them. The hitters didn’t go into a shell when most folks would excuse them for doing so against a guy like Jake Arrieta.

Makes sense and no judgments here. Moral victories matter. Still, it’s hard not to chuckle at the headline. I can’t remember a big leaguer talking quite that way after a loss.

Julio Urias to be called up, make his MLB debut tomorrow

GLENDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 20:  Starting pitcher Julio Urias #78 of the Los Angeles Dodgers participates in a spring training workout at Camelback Ranch on February 20, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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The Dodgers have been mulling this for a long time, but they just announced that they plan on calling up top prospect Julio Urias. He’ll be making his major league debut against the Mets tomorrow evening in New York.

Urias is just 19 years-old, but he’s shown that he’s ready for the bigs. In eight Triple-A games this year — seven starts — he’s 4-1 with a 1.10 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 44/8 in 41 innings. He has tossed 27-straight scoreless innings to boot. While the Dodgers and Urias’ agent are understandably wary of giving the young man too much work too soon, he has nothing left to prove at Oklahoma City.

Urias turns 20 in August. Tomorrow night he will become the first teenager to debut in the majors since 2012 when Dylan Bundy, Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, and Jurickson Profar each made their debuts.