That’s the prediction of Al Yellon of Bleed Cubbie Blue, who looked on aghast as Ubaldo Jimenez cramped up while running the bases in against the Astros last night:
There are millions of dollars invested in pitchers like this,
including Jimenez, who is signed through 2012 with a couple of
relatively inexpensive (for today’s market) club options for 2013 and
2014. And teams don’t want investments like this injured while doing
something that isn’t their primary responsibility — batting or running
This is why the designated hitter is, I believe, almost certain to
come to the National League, probably by 2012. It will undoubtedly be a
bargaining chip in the next labor negotiation — the current agreement
expires on December 11, 2011.
I’ve seen this line of reasoning before, but even if I think the DH is going to come to the NL eventually — which I do — it won’t be because of some pitcher injury. It will be because the owners want to get a big financial concession from the players in collective bargaining and, in exchange, they throw the DH — usually a highly-paid roster slot — out there in trade.
I don’t see anything like that on the horizon in 2012. The primary issues will be the international draft and draft pick slotting, and I don’t think that the players currently hate those things so much that the owners will have to give them the DH in exchange.
As for the pitcher injuries, jeez, man up, get more potassium and have someone massage that crap out after the game.
The Athletics and Royals swapped outfielders on Saturday. The Athletics sent Billy Burns to Kansas City and the Royals sent Brett Eibner to Oakland.
Burns, 26, doesn’t provide much in the way of offense, but he runs the bases well and plays solid defense. He was hitting .234/.270/.303 with 11 doubles, four triples, and 14 stolen bases in 274 plate appearances.
Eibner, 27, was batting .231/.286/.423 with three home runs and 10 RBI in 85 plate appearances. He has spent most of the season with Triple-A Omaha, where he’s put up a .902 OPS in 219 PA. Eibner played the outfield corners in the majors, but racked up a ton of time playing center in the minors, so his versatility will be valuable to the A’s.
Burns will become eligible for arbitration for the first time after the 2017 season while Eibner has hardly accrued any service time, which might explain part of the motivation behind the trade for the small-market Athletics.
The Nationals announced on Saturday afternoon that the club acquired closer Mark Melancon from the Pirates in exchange for reliever Felipe Rivero and minor league pitcher Taylor Hearn.
Melancon, 31, put together another solid season for the Pirates, leaving the club with 30 saves, a 1.51 ERA, and a 38/9 K/BB ratio in 41 2/3 innings. He led the majors last season with 51 saves and has a 1.80 ERA since joining the Pirates in 2013. Melancon is earning $9.65 million this season and can become eligible for free agency after the season.
With Melancon out of the picture, the Pirates intend to have Tony Watson take over the closer’s role.
Rivero, 25, has handled the seventh and eighth innings for the Nationals this season, compiling a 4.53 ERA and a 53/15 K/BB ratio in 49 2/3 innings. He’s just shy of one year of service time, so the Pirates will have control of him for a long time.
Hearn, 21, was rated the Nationals’ 27th-best prospect by MLB Pipeline. He was originally drafted by the Pirates in the 22nd round of the 2012 draft but he didn’t sign and ended up going back to college. The Nationals took him in the fifth round of last year’s draft. This season, between rookie ball and Single-A Hagerstown, Hearn put up a 2.79 ERA and a 39/13 K/BB ratio in 29 innings. He’s a long way away from the majors, so he’s essentially a lottery ticket for the Pirates.
The Nationals needed an upgrade at closer as Jonathan Papelbon has struggled this season. The right-hander has allowed runs in each of his last three appearances, ballooning his ERA up to 4.41 with a 30/13 K/BB ratio in 32 2/3 innings. It will be interesting to see how Papelbon, who has never made a habit of letting his feelings go unspoken, handles a demotion to the eighth inning.