Brewers manager Ken Macha tired of 'negativism' and 'poppycock'

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Asked yesterday about Brewers owner Mark Attanasio giving him a vote of confidence following the team’s poor start, manager Ken Macha showed a rare bit of emotion while scolding reporters:

Sunday was an exceptional day and to have any negative questions in this meeting today is poppycock. Because we had a tough game on Friday, a game where we battled back on Saturday against a team that’s leading its division in the American League, at their ballpark, had a blown save, played extra innings and had everybody on the staff come in and volunteer to pitch innings, then come back and beat them Sunday.



That’s an incredible win. We should come home on a high and be positive and ready to turn this thing around. If we continue the negative thoughts and negativism, it’s not going to come around. All of the Brewers’ fans should be positive. I know my staff, myself, we’re positive. We have some things happening in our bullpen now. We’re going to try to correct the difficulties we’ve had. It should be a positive mood right now.

Macha then told the reporter who asked the question: “That was your last question of the day.”
All the “negativism” comes from the Brewers having the league’s second-worst record and losing 11 of the past 13 games, so I’m amused by the notion that reporters shouldn’t ask “negative” questions about a 17-27 team just because they beat the Twins on Sunday after losing to them on both Friday and Saturday. Imagine that same logic being applied to reporters covering anything but sports.
With that said, I do admire Macha for his use of “poppycock.”

Seattle Mariners to make a “full-court press” for Shohei Ohtani

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Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto said in a team-sponsored podcast the other day that the M’s will make a “full-court press” for Shohei Ohtani. To that end, Dipoto said that the M’s would be willing to let the two-way star to pitch and to hit, which is something Ohtani is interested in doing in the United States. Not all clubs are likely to let him do this, with most likely seeing him as a starting pitcher only.

Ohtani, who is expected to be posted by his Japanese team, the Nippon Ham Fighters, possibly as early as today, can sign with anyone he wants. He is, however, subject to the international bonus pool caps, so the bids on him will be somewhat limited. The Texas Rangers and New York Yankees have the most money available: $3.535 million for the Rangers and $3.5 million for the Yankees. The Twins ($3.245 million), Pirates ($2.266 million), Marlins ($1.74 million) and Mariners ($1.57 million) are the only other teams with more than $1 million left. Twelve teams — including the Dodgers, Cubs, Cardinals and Astros — are limited to a maximum of $300,000, having met or exceeded their caps for this signing period already.

Ohtani, however, is said to be less motivated by money than he is by finding the right situation. While a lot of guys say that, the fact that Ohtani is coming over to the U.S. now, when his financial prospects are limited, as opposed to waiting for two years when he is not subject to the bonus caps and could sign for nine figures, suggests that he is telling the truth. As such, a team like the Mariners that is willing to allow him to hit and pitch could make up for the couple of million less they have in bonus money to spend.

As for how that might work logistically, Dipoto said that the team would be willing to play DH Nelson Cruz a few days in the outfield to accommodate Ohtani, allowing him to DH on the days he’s not pitching. That might be . . . interesting to see, but given how badly the Mariners could use a good starting pitcher, they have an incentive to be creative.

Ohtani, 23, suffered some injuries in 2017, limiting him to just five starts and 65 games as a hitter. In 2016, however, he hit .289/.356/.547 with 22 homers in 342 at-bats and went 11-3 with a 3.24 ERA, and a K/BB ratio of 146/51 in 133.1 innings as a starter.

Five clubs have more money to spend on Ohtani than the Mariners do. None of those teams are on the west coast, which some Asian players have said in the past they preferred due to faster travel back home. The Mariners, owned for a long time by a Japanese company which still retains a minority interest in the club, and long the home for high-profile Japanese players such as Ichiro and Hisashi Iwakuma, likely have a better media and marketing reach in Japan than most other teams as well, which might be a factor in his decision making process. Is all that enough to sway Ohtani?

We’ll find out over the next couple of weeks.