Piniella: 'Too much patience is stupidity'

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cubs-piniella-100601.jpgChicago Cubs manager Lou Piniella, exasperated with his team’s offense, did the ol’ lineup shakeup for Tuesday’s game against the Pirates, inserting Tyler Colvin, Xavier Nady, Jeff Baker and Koyie Hill into the lineup as Marlon Byrd, Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez and Geovany Soto grabbed some pine.

Benching all of those guys in the same game smacks of desperation, but when you’re 24-28 (make that 24-29, now) and your offense just spent the month of May hitting like this guy, well, these are desperate times.

Two months into the season, Piniella is telling the Chicago Tribune that he is finished being patient.

“I think we’ve shown remarkable patience here, not changing things, staying constant, assuming that our hitting is right around the corner,” manager Lou Piniella said before Tuesday’s game. “Unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case. So what do you do? Patience is a virtue, right? Too much patience is stupidity. I still cling to the fact that our guys are going to hit, but at the same time, it’s already June… a third into the season.”

Alas, Lou’s moves failed to produce a win, as the Cubs fell 3-2 to Pittsburgh on Neil Walker’s first career home run. Nady did his part, going 4-for-4 with a two-run home run, but the others were a combined 1-for-9 with three strikeouts. Lee and Byrd each had a shot at pinch-hitting duties, and each returned to the bench after whiffing.

While the face value interpretation of Piniella’s mini-rant on patience is that he’s tired of waiting for his stars to hit, it could also be viewed as a plea to GM Jim Hendry to do something – anything – to make this team better.

One thing for certain is that Piniella is baffled by how to fix things. ”I mean, the last three games we won, we shut out the opposition. I don’t know. I wish I knew, fellas. I wish I knew.”

Hendry, for his part, didn’t sound like he as in a hurry to do anything. (As told to the Chicago Sun-Times)

”This next couple of weeks is real important,” general manager Jim Hendry said. ”You could look up in two weeks and be two or three back maybe or if you had a bad two weeks, then you’ve got some concern.”

So maybe Hendry is still preaching patience, but Piniella has had all of that he can stomach.

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Diamondbacks, A.J. Pollock avoid arbitration with two-year contract

Arizona Diamondbacks center fielder A.J. Pollock drives in two runs against the Cincinnati Reds during the eighth inning of a baseball game, Thursday, Aug. 20, 2015, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Gary Landers)
AP Photo/Gary Landers
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Steve Gilbert of MLB.com reports that the Diamondbacks and outfielder A.J. Pollock have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a two-year extension. The deal is worth $10.25 million, per ESPN’s Buster Olney.

Pollock was arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter. The 28-year-old requested $3.9 million and was offered $3.65 million by the Diamondbacks when figures were exchanged on January 15. It wasn’t much of a gap, but the two sides were ultimately able to find common ground on a multi-year deal. Pollock will still be under team control for one more year after this new deal expires.

Pollock is coming off a breakout 2015 where he batted .315/.367/.498 with 20 home runs, 76 RBI, and 39 stolen bases over 157 games. He ranked sixth among position players with 7.4 WAR (Wins Above Replacement), according to Baseball Reference.

Report: Blue Jays and Josh Donaldson agree to two-year, $29 million extension

Toronto Blue Jays' Josh Donaldson celebrates his two run home run against the Kansas City Royals during the third inning in Game 3 of baseball's American League Championship Series on Monday, Oct. 19, 2015, in Toronto. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
AP Photo/Paul Sancya
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The Blue Jays and 2015 American League Most Valuable Player Josh Donaldson have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a two-year, $29 million contract, reports Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca.

Donaldson was arbitration-eligible for the second time this winter. He filed for $11.8 million and was offered $11.35 million by the Blue Jays when figures were exchanged last month. It wasn’t a big gap, but since the Blue Jays are a “file and trial” team, they bring these cases to an arbitration hearing unless a multi-year deal can be worked out. As opposed to last winter, they were able to avoid a hearing this time around. Donaldson was originally a Super Two player, so he’ll still have one year of arbitration-eligibility once this two-year deal is completed.

The 30-year-old Donaldson is coming off a monster first season in Toronto where he batted .297/.371/.568 with 41 homers while leading the American League with 123 RBI.

Giants and Brandon Belt have an arbitration hearing scheduled for Wednesday

San Francisco Giants'  Brandon Belt reacts after being called out on strikes by home plate umpire Jim Joyce to end the top of the first inning against the Colorado Rockies in a baseball game Friday, Sept.. 4, 2015, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
AP Photo/David Zalubowski
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Brandon Belt filed for $7.5 million and was offered $5.3 million by the Giants when arbitration figures were exchanged last month. That’s a pretty sizable gap. While there’s still a chance that an agreement will be worked out at the last minute, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that an arbitration hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.

The Giants haven’t gone to an arbitration hearing since 2004, when they lost to catcher A.J. Pierzynski. Schulman hears from one person involved that because of the gap between Belt and the Giants, there’s a real chance this will break that string and require a hearing.

Belt batted .280/.356/.478 with 18 home runs and 68 RBI over 137 games in 2015, but he dealt with concussion symptoms for the second straight season. An arbitration hearing could bring some unpleasant conversation to the surface.

Padres sign veteran utility player Skip Schumaker

Cincinnati Reds' Skip Schumaker is tagged out at home plate by San Francisco Giants' Buster Posey during the seventh inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2015, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
AP Photo/Ben Margot
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The Padres have inked veteran utility player Skip Schumaker to a minor league contract, per FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.

Schumaker, who turned 36 last week, has spent the last two seasons with the Reds. He batted .242/.306/.336 with one home run and 21 RBI over 131 games last season while making starts between all three outfield spots and second base. Cincinnati cut ties with him in November after declining a $2.5 million club option for 2016.

While Schumaker had to settle for a non-guaranteed deal here, it would be no surprise to see him land a bench job with the Padres come Opening Day.