Russ Ortiz and Ramon Ortiz in the same game? Dodgers deserved to lose

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Russ Ortiz took the loss in last night’s marathon Dodgers-Diamondbacks game, but a terrible play from Matt Kemp in center field was actually to blame. With that said, at this point any major-league team using Russ Ortiz in a game that counts in the standings probably deserves to lose.
Ortiz went 103-60 with a 4.00 ERA in 1,341 innings through age 30, including 21 wins and a fourth-place Cy Young finish for the Braves in 2003. However, since then he’s gone 10-29 with a 6.59 ERA and putrid 185/177 K/BB ratio in 317 innings while pitching for five different teams, posting yearly ERAs of 6.89, 8.14, 5.51, 5.57, and now 8.31.
So if the Dodgers are in the 11th inning of a 7-7 game and want to use a 36-year-old pitcher who hasn’t had an ERA under 5.00 since 2004 … well, they deserve what they got. Heck, before turning to Russ Ortiz in extra innings they used Ramon Ortiz to get two outs in the seventh inning. He’ll be 37 years old next month, has allowed five runs in 4.1 innings so far this season, and hasn’t had an ERA under 5.00 since 2004.
I’ll never understand why teams keep giving chances to washed-up (and then some) veterans like Russ and Ramon Ortiz (or Sidney Ponson for another prime example) when they’d probably be better off just randomly picking a different pitcher off a Triple-A roster. You’re telling me there aren’t a couple 20-somethings in the Dodgers’ farm system who could do a better job than the geriatric Ortiz boys?

The international draft is all about MLB making money and the union selling out non-members

SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO - MARCH 13:  A fan flies the Dominican Republic flag during the game against Cuba during Round 2 of the World Baseball Classic on March 13, 2006 at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, Puerto Rico.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
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On Monday we passed along a report that Major League Baseball and the MLBPA are negotiating over an international draft. That report — from ESPN’s Buster Olney — cited competitive balance and the well-being of international free agents as the reasons why they’re pushing for the draft.

We have long doubted those stated motivations and said so again in our post on Monday. But we’re just armchair skeptics when it comes to this. Ben Badler of Baseball America is an expert. Perhaps the foremost expert on international baseball, international signings and the like. Today he writes about a would-be international draft and he tears MLB, the MLBPA and their surrogates in the media to shreds with respect to their talking points.

Of course Badler is a nice guy so “tearing to shreds” is probably putting it too harshly. Maybe it’s better to say that he systematically dismantles the stated rationale for the international draft and makes plan what’s really going on: MLB is looking to save money and the players are looking to sell out non-union members to further their own bargaining position:

Major League Baseball has long wanted an international draft. The driving force behind implementing an international draft is for owners to control their labor costs by paying less money to international amateur players, allowing owners to keep more of that money . . . the players’ association doesn’t care about international amateur players as anything more than a bargaining chip. It’s nothing discriminatory against foreign players, it’s just that the union looks out for players on 40-man rosters. So international players, draft picks in the United States and minor leaguers who make less than $10,000 in annual salary get their rights sold out by the union, which in exchange can negotiate items like a higher major league minimum salary, adjustments to the Super 2 rules or modifying draft pick compensation attached to free agent signings.

Badler then walks through the process of how players are discovered, scouted and signed in Latin America and explains, quite convincingly, how MLB’s international draft and, indeed, its fundamental approach to amateurs in Latin America is lacking.

Read this. Then, every time a U.S.-based writer with MLB sources talks about the international draft, ask whether they know something Ben Badler doesn’t or, alternatively, whether they’re carrying water for either the league or the union.

President Bill Murray speaks about the Cubs from the White House

CHICAGO - APRIL 12:  Celebrity Bill Murray clowns around with Chicago media before the opening day game between the Chicago Cubs and the Pittsburgh Pirates on April 12, 2004 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Pirates defeated the Cubs 13-2.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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I don’t know why Bill Murray is in Washington today. I don’t know why he’s at the White House. But I do know that he was there in Chicago Cubs gear, standing at the lectern in the press briefing room, voicing his full confidence in the Cubs prevailing in the NLCS, despite the fact that Clayton Kershaw is going for the Dodgers tomorrow night.

“Too many sticks,” president Murray said of the Cubs lineup. And something about better trees in Illinois.

Four. More. Years.