The Giants and the Brewers played in the Cactus League today and, against all odds, something (kinda) meaningful happened:
In the first inning of today’s Cactus League game against the Milwaukee
Brewers, Zito hit Prince Fielder in the back with his first pitch in
apparent retaliation for Fielder’s staged “bowling pin” celebration
after his homer ended a Sept. 6 game in Milwaukee.
You remember that one, don’t you:
I’m fiercely opposed to guys throwing at one another out of b.s. like honor and adherence to the so-called unwritten rules, but that was really, really bush league by the Brewers and I probably would have plunked someone over it too.
And besides, Barry Zito’s fastball is in no danger of hurting anyone over the age of 6, so it’s all good.
UPDATE: Prince Fielder’s comments after the game:
Anthony Witrado of the Journal-Sentinel asked Fielder if the celebration was worth the ball in the back.
“Hell yeah,” Fielder said. “That’s something I did with me and my teammates. It has nothing to do with them.”
“You’re damn right it was worth it.”
I hated the celebration, but I like that he’s at least owning it, ya know?
Craig Mish of MLB Network Radio is reporting that Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto has requested a trade out of Miami. Jon Heyman is characterizing it as Realmuto telling the team that he “wouldn’t mind” a trade.
Either way, Realmuto has no power to force a trade. This isn’t the NBA or something. Still, it’s evidence of just how dreary a prospect remaining in Miami is for Marlins veterans in the wake of trades that sent Giancarlo Stanton to New York, Marcell Ozuna to St. Louis.
Realmuto, who will turn 27 just before the 2018 season, hit .278/.332/.451 with 17 homers, 65 RBI, and eight steals over 141 games this past season. He only has three years of service time and is arbitration eligible for the first time this offseason. He made just $562K in the 2017 and will get a big raise this year, but he’s still going to be underpaid based on his production. If the Marlins wanted to trade him, they’d get a nice return. Why they would want to trade him, I have no idea.
Expect more of this sort of thing as the Marlins slash payroll and make it clear that their immediate priorities are more about saving money and less about winning baseball games. Which may or may not be a valid goal for the team’s new owners, but is certainly a letdown for baseball players and fans.