Bengie Molina slams ESPN


Bengie Molina angry.jpgLast week ESPN ran a slow-motion clip of Bengie Molina getting thrown out at the plate in a Giants-Marlins game as, bascially, the game’s only highlight on that night’s SportsCenter. What’s more, they slowed the clip down and set it to music meant to evoke “Chariots of Fire,” mocking Molina’s lack of speed.  As he was thrown out, the anchor yelled “get in there, slim!”  You can see the video here.

San Francisco Chronicle reporter Henry Schulman took great offense at this, writing a blog post slamming ESPN for the lack of respect shown to Molina. Yesterday Molina weighed in himself, slamming ESPN for its “cheap shot” and, while acknowledging that he’s perhaps the slowest player in baseball, saying that “ESPN’s intention was not to criticize but to humiliate.”

Molina closes by saying “All I can do is play the way I always have – with respect and
professionalism. It’s shame that ESPN, a once great network, won’t have
any idea what I’m talking about.”  It was a really well-done post, in my opinion, with Molina taking the high road while still making it clear that his feelings were hurt.

I take shots at players from time to time, and yes, I occasionally go a little too far, crossing the line that separates tough criticism and mockery.  I try hard to avoid it and I’m not proud of myself when I do it, but it happens, often as a result of a misguided attempt at humor.

I’m guessing that’s what happened with ESPN here too.  They do a zillion highlight reels a day, and you can’t blame them for wanting to go in a different direction with one for a change. I’m sure no one there had malice in their heart as they were putting it together, but the humor obviously fell flat, outweighed by mockery. It obviously hit Molina the wrong way.

They probably owe him an apology. In light of Molina’s blog post, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if one came as early as this morning.

Major League Baseball will investigate Yasiel Puig for his role in Miami nightclub brawl

Yasiel Puig
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It was reported on Friday afternoon that Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig was involved in a brawl at a Miami nightclub. Details were scant at the time, but he reportedly left with a bruise on his face.

Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times reports that Major League Baseball plans to investigate Puig under the league’s new domestic violence policy for his role in the brawl. Citing a report from TMZ, Hernandez notes that Puig shoved his sister, “brutally sucker-punched” the manager of the bar, and instigated the brawl.

The Dodgers and Puig’s agent have thus far refused to comment on the situation.

Rockies shortstop Jose Reyes was the first player to be investigated under the league’s new domestic violence policy earlier this month, as he allegedly assaulted his wife. Reyes has pleaded not guilty after he was charged with domestic abuse in Hawaii.

As our own Craig Calcaterra pointed out, commissioner Rob Manfred does not need to wait for Puig to plead guilty or to be found guilty to levy a punishment.

Dayan Viciedo close to signing with Japan’s Chunichi Dragons

Dayan Viciedo
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Patrick Newman is reporting that the Chunichi Dragons of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball and outfielder Dayan Viciedo are close to an agreement on a contract. Newman notes that the Dragons are close to signing pitcher Jordan Norberto as well.

Viciedo, 26, has struggled since making his major league debut in 2010 with the White Sox, batting an aggregate .254/.298/.424 with 66 home runs and 211 RBI in 1,798 plate appearances. He spent the 2015 season with Triple-A Charlotte (White Sox) and Nashville (Athletics), hitting a composite .287/.348/.450. While Viciedo can hit the occasional home run, he hasn’t shown the ability to do much else at the big league level. Given his age, he could prove himself in Japan and parlay that into a renewed shot in the majors in the future.

The White Sox signed Viciedo out of Cuba in December 2008, agreeing to a four-year, $10 million deal. The club re-signed him to one-year deals in 2013 and ’14 for $2.8 million each and $4.4 million ahead of the 2015 season.

Blue Jays sign J.A. Happ to a three-year, $36 million contract

J.A. Happ
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Update (8:45 PM EST): Per Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi, Happ will get $10 million in 2016 and $13 million each in 2017 and ’18.

*’s Gregor Chisholm reports that the Blue Jays have signed lefty J.A. Happ to a three-year deal worth $36 million.

Happ, 33, had a rebirth as a member of the Pirates last season after starting the season with 20 subpar starts with the Mariners. He made 11 starts for the Buccos, boasting a 1.85 ERA with a 69/13 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings.

Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported this past August that Happ’s newfound success had to do with a delivery tweak suggested by Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage. The Blue Jays are certainly hoping that adjustment is the full explanation for his success.

The Jays’ signing of Happ most likely signifies they won’t be pursuing free agent lefty David Price.

This will be Happ’s second stint with the Blue Jays. The Astros dealt him to Toronto in a July 2012 trade. He posted a 4.39 ERA with a 256/113 K/BB ratio in 291 innings with the Jays, then went to the Mariners in a trade this past December that brought outfielder Michael Saunders to the Jays.

Orioles “searching everywhere” for outfield help

L.J. Hoes
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CSN Mid-Atlantic’s Rich Dubroff reports that the Orioles are “searching everywhere” for outfield help. The club recently acquired L.J. Hoes from the Astros in exchange for cash considerations, throwing him into a stable of six outfielders that could potentially crack the Opening Day Roster.

Adam Jones, of course, will open the season in center field. But in the corner outfield and on the bench, Dubroff lists Hoes along with Dariel Alvarez, Junior Lake, David Lough, Nolan Reimold and Henry Urrutia. Both Lough and Reimold are eligible for arbitration — Lough for the first time, and Reimold for his third and final year — so it remains to be seen if the Orioles will retain both of them.

The Orioles could target outfield help in the Rule-5 draft, and they could also target outfielders in free agency. Gerardo Parra, acquired by the O’s in a trade with the Brewers at the trade deadline, remains a possibility but the team is reluctant to offer him more than two years.