Jose Offerman says he was provoked

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Thumbnail image for Offerman bat.jpgESPN’s Jorge Arangure links a Spanish language report in which Jose Offerman says that the umpire he struck had spoken badly about his mother. I took a bunch of Spanish about 20 years ago and forgot most of it, but I kind of got the gist from the article.  But to be totally professional about it, I put Offerman’s quotes through Google Translate:

“He
mentioned my mother in the classic tone of someone trying to offend a
man, and that’s where my reaction came to throw a punch.”

OK, I think the nature of translation software makes Offerman sound a bit more formal than he likely is, so I’ll paraphrase the rest:  Offerman says that there were multiple problems with the umps during the series, and that it all came to a head after his catcher, Ronny Paulino, was ejected after some argument with the home plate ump about a replacement ball following a wild pitch. Later, when Offerman comes out to argue with Daniel Rayburn — not the one who ejected Paulino, but the crew chief — Rayburn gave Offerman some derivation of “yo momma” and Offerman let fly. He says, however, that he never hit him, and that Rayburn’s hitting the ground was a big show.

Maybe. The video certainly reveals the contact, if indeed there was some, to be minor at best, and it sure looks like Rayburn took a dive  Still, when you’re Jose Offerman and you have a history destroying a freakin’ player’s life via an assault with a baseball bat, you’re not going to get the close calls.

Brett Lawrie will take a pay cut to avoid arbitration with White Sox

MIAMI, FL - AUGUST 12: Brett Lawrie #15 of the Chicago White Sox fields a ground ball during batting practice before the start of the game against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park on August 12, 2016 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)
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Infielder Brett Lawrie successfully avoided arbitration and signed a one-year contract with the White Sox on Friday, per a team announcement. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman added that the deal was for $3.5 million, significantly lower than the $4.125 million Lawrie was paid by the White Sox in 2016.

The White Sox acquired Lawrie last December in a swap for minor league arms Zack Erwin and J.B. Wendelken. After splitting time at second and third base for the Athletics in 2015, Lawrie slotted in at second base and DH for the White Sox and batted .248/.310/.413 with 12 home runs in 384 PA. While it’s strange to see a healthy, fairly productive player receive a salary reduction in arbitration, Lawrie missed nearly half of the season with a strain in his left hamstring, though he’s projected to return at full health by the start of the 2017 season.

Cubs sign LHP Brian Duensing to a one-year, $2 million deal

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 04:  Brian Duensing #50 of the Baltimore Orioles throws a pitch in the eleventh inning against the Toronto Blue Jays during the American League Wild Card game at Rogers Centre on October 4, 2016 in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
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Left-hander Brian Duensing signed a one-year, $2 million contract with the Cubs on Friday, per a report from FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman.

The free agent spent the bulk of his 2016 season with the Orioles after receiving a call-up from Triple-A Norfolk in early June. He underwent elbow surgery several weeks later when a freak bullpen injury revealed cartilage chips and inflammation in his pitching elbow, but recovered to finish the season with a 4.05 ERA and 10 strikeouts in 13 1/3 innings for the club. The Orioles utilized him for a final out during the AL Wild Card game, during which Duensing recorded a five-pitch strikeout in the ninth inning of their 5-2 loss to the Blue Jays.

The 33-year-old is currently expected to bulk up the Cubs’ left-handed relief corps, with fellow left-hander Mike Montgomery slated for the rotation in 2017.