Sabean: "Triple-A baseball isn't very good"

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posey swining.JPGI understand the pickle Brian Sabean is in.  He has a top prospect in Buster Posey hitting .345 down in Fresno. Calling him up, however, risks making him arbitration eligible a year earlier than he otherwise might be, and the owners clearly don’t want that, what with having screwed that whole process up with Tim Lincecum. The media  asks when they’re going to see Posey every day, but you can’t just say “we’re waiting until June for service time reasons,” because it (a) looks cheap; and (b) may not make Major League Baseball or the union happy.

So what to do? Why, you dump on minor league baseball, that’s what:

“Triple-A baseball isn’t very
good,” Sabean said. “I’m going to tell you that right now. Especially
from a pitching standpoint. Anybody who can pitch is in the big
leagues.”

That was Sabean’s response when asked why Posey hitting .345 hasn’t earned him a promotion. I’m sure his AAA pitchers — including top prospect Madison Bumgarner — appreciate that. I’m sure Posey appreciates that. I’m sure the front office for the Fresno Grizzlies and all of the people who buy tickets to see them appreciate that.

The thing is, Sabean doesn’t even need to go there. He’s actually getting decent production from his catching combo right now, with Bengie Molina hitting .333/.402/.457 and Eli Whiteside hitting the cover off the ball in limited play.  Will it last? Oh, heck no, but at the moment it provides Sabean plenty of cover to say “we really don’t need help behind the plate right now” and have it sound eminently plausible.

But instead he dumps on his prospect and his farm team.  I just don’t get that. Of course, there are a lot of things about Brian Sabean’s tenure in San Francisco I don’t get. Mostly how it’s lasted this long.  

Report: Diamondbacks acquire Steven Souza from Rays; Yankees land Brandon Drury

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Update (6:35 PM ET): This is a three-team deal also involving the Diamondbacks, per Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. The Diamondbacks will receive outfielder Steven Souza from the Rays and second baseman Brandon Drury will head to the Yankees. Lefty reliever Anthony Banda will go to the Rays, Piecoro adds. The Diamondbacks will also receive prospect Taylor Widener from the Yankees, per Joel Sherman of the New York Post. MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert adds that the Rays will get two players to be named later from the D-Backs.

Souza, 28, is earning $3.55 million in his first of three years of arbitration eligibility, so the Rays are presumably saving money in moving him. Last season, Souza hit a productive .239/.351/.459 with 30 home runs, 78 RBI, 78 runs scored, and 16 stolen bases in 617 plate appearances. Souza’s arrival almost certainly pushes Yasmany Tomas out of a starting gig.

Drury, 25, has played a handful of positions in his brief major league career. Last year, he played second base in Arizona, batting .267/.317/.447 with 13 home runs and 63 RBI in 480 PA.

Banda, 24, made his major league debut last season, posting an ugly 5.96 ERA with a 25/10 K/BB ratio in 25 2/3 innings. The peripherals suggest he pitched better than his ERA indicated.

Widener, 23, was selected by the Yankees in the 12th round of the 2016 draft. This past season with High-A Tampa, he pitched 119 1/3 innings and posted a 3.39 ERA with a 129/50 K/BB ratio. MLB Pipeline rated Widener as the 14th-best prospect in the Yankees’ system.

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Robert Murray of FanRag Sports reports that the Rays will acquire second base prospect Nick Solak from the Yankees. The Yankees’ return is presently not known.

Solak, 23, was selected by the Yankees in the second round of the 2016 draft. He spent last season between High-A Tampa and Double-A Trenton, hitting a combined .297/.384/.452 with 12 home runs, 53 RBI, 72 runs scored, and 14 stolen bases.

MLB Pipeline ranked Solak as the eighth-best prospect in the Yankees’ system and the fifth-best second base prospect in baseball, praising him for his ability to hit line drives as well as his speed.