Orioles sign enigmatic speedster Joey Gathright

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Released by the Blue Jays over the weekend, Joey Gathright quickly found another gig by signing a minor-league contract with the Orioles.
Gathright is a fascinating to me because he’s without question one of the fastest and most athletic players in all of baseball, yet for all his blazing speed and car-jumping ability he can’t hit and isn’t even a great base-stealer.
He’s batted .263 with a mediocre .327 on-base percentage and punchless .303 slugging percentage in 1,328 plate appearances as a major leaguer, and has also averaged just 36 steals per 600 trips to the plate while being gunned down on 27 percent of his attempts.
Ultimate Zone Rating pegs him as 8.5 runs above average defensively per 150 games in center field and he rates even better as a left fielder, but for whatever reason Gathright can’t seem to find a long-term home as a fourth or fifth outfielder. He’s not even 30 years old yet, but has already played for the Rays, Royals, Red Sox, Cubs, Blue Jays, and Orioles.
This is actually Gathright’s second stint with the Orioles, as he played 80 games for their Triple-A affiliate last season before being traded to the Red Sox for a player to be named later or cash. Gathright hit .329 with 24 steals in those 80 games at Norfolk, which is where he’ll likely begin this season.

The Cards dealt Stephen Piscotty to the A’s, in part, so he could be near his ailing mother

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Last night we wrote about the rumored deal between the Cardinals and the Athletics for Stephen Piscotty. The deal is now official, with Piscotty going to Oakland for minor leaguers Yairo Munoz and Max Schrock.

Something else emerged about the deal today: a big reason why St. Louis traded Piscotty to Oakland as opposed to another team was so that he could be near his mother, who was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease last May. Piscotty and his family are from Pleasanton, California, about 35 miles from Oakland.

Here’s Cardinals GM John Mozeliak:

This was certainly a baseball trade — Piscotty became expendable for the Cardinals after they acquired Marcell Ozuna yesterday — but it was one which could’ve been made with any team with a couple of red or white chip prospects. That Mozeliak considered Piscotty’s personal situation in making the deal with the A’s is a credit to him and his staff.

The 26-year-old Piscotty hit .235 with nine homers and 39 RBIs in 107 games last season. He has hit .268 with 38 homers and 163 RBIs in 2+ major league seasons. He agreed to a six-year, $33.5 million contract extension last spring.

As for the prospects in return: Munoz, 22, hit .300 with 13 homers and 68 RBIs this year for Double-A Midland and Triple-A Nashville. Schrock, 23, batted .321 with seven homers and 46 RBIs for Midland, and was a Texas League All-Star.