John Smoltz joins TBS as announcer, but still not officially retiring

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Turner Sports announced that John Smoltz has joined the TBS broadcast team as an analyst for their Sunday afternoon games and select Braves games.
Smoltz joins a lineup of color commentators that includes Ron Darling, Buck Martinez, David Wells, and Dennis Eckersley, with Ernie Johnson, Brian Anderson, and Dick Stockton filling play-by-play duties. Chip Caray’s name is nowhere to be seen, thankfully.
On the surface the new gig seemingly means Smoltz is retiring, but he talked previously about wanting to join a team at midseason if he plays in 2010 and it’s possible that the announcing job is just something to do while passing the time (or a way to gauge whether he’s truly ready to call it quits).
Smoltz was terrible after signing with the Red Sox last season, getting released after going 2-5 with an 8.32 ERA in eight starts, but then had a 4.26 ERA and excellent 40/9 K/BB ratio in seven starts after joining the Cardinals.
His overall ERA was ugly, but his 73/18 K/BB ratio in 78 innings overall and strong stretch-run performance certainly suggest that he’s still capable of getting big-league hitters out as a back-of-the-rotation starter or reliever. And if not he’ll probably be making a speech in Cooperstown five years from now.

Francisco Rodriguez is being sued by his former landlord

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John Wisely of the Detroit Free Press reports that current free agent reliever Francisco Rodriguez is being sued by his former landlord for damage to the rented property as well as missing artwork. The landlord is asking for $80,000 after having kept Rodriguez’s $15,000 security deposit.

The lawsuit says that Rodriguez damaged a bedroom TV, a crystal floor lamp, glass shelves in the bar, glass tiles in the master bath, and a Moroccan mirror in the powder room. Additionally, the suit claims that the bedding is stained and paint has chipped, as well as other damages. And the piece of art that is allegedly missing, which depicts a tiger, is valued at more than $10,000.

Rodriguez has not yet been served with the suit, but the landlord has been speaking to his managers.

The Nationals released Rodriguez, 35, two weeks ago after having signed him to a minor league contract in late June. He started the season with the Tigers, but struggled to a 7.82 ERA over 25 1/3 innings before being released.

Report: Rays acquire Lucas Duda from the Mets

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MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reports that the Rays have acquired first baseman Lucas Duda from the Mets. The Mets will receive pitching prospect Drew Smith in return, per Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.

Duda, 31, is batting .246/.347/.532 with 17 home runs and 37 RBI in 291 plate appearances for the Mets this season. He’ll provide a potent bat in the Rays’ lineup as they attempt to overcome their current 2.5-game deficit in the AL East.

Smith, 23, is the Rays’ No. 30 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline. He ascended from High-A to Triple-A already this season, posting an aggregate 1.60 ERA with a 40/9 K/BB ratio over 45 innings across four stops with High-A Lakeland (Tigers), High-A Charlotte (Rays), Double-A Montgomery, and Triple-A Durham.