Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reported on Friday that the Red Sox were talking trade with the Twins and Rangers about Mike Lowell. The Angels, who are currently in search of a bat with the injury to Kendry Morales, were said to be “hovering” in the conversation.
Just a short while ago, Rosenthal elaborated on the situation via Twitter:
Twins’ field staff lobbying
for Lowell. Need is obvious. Front office would need to work through
$$$ and durability concerns.
The Twins would appear to be a natural fit for the veteran third baseman, as they attempt to compensate for injuries to J.J. Hardy and Orlando Hudson. As alluded to by Rosenthal, Lowell comes has a significant injury history of his own, but he would be a clear upgrade for a team whose third baseman have combined to hit just .209 with two homers, 16 RBI and a 557 OPS, all major league lows.
On Monday, Major League Baseball announced some changes aimed at improving the game’s pace of play, something that has been a pet cause for commissioner Rob Manfred. Among the changes was a limit on mound visits whether from managers and coaches, the catcher, or other defenders. Each team will have six non-pitching change mound visits per game and one additional visit each inning in extra innings. Craig wrote more in depth on the changes here if you happened to miss it.
Angels catcher Martin Maldonado says he is going to do what’s necessary to stay on the same page with his pitchers. Via Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register, Maldonado said, “If the game is on the line, I’m going to go out there. If we’re at six [visits], and it’s going to be the seventh, I’m going to go out there, even if I have to pay a fine. I’m there for the pitchers.”
Cubs catcher Willson Contreras said as much on Tuesday. Per Josh Frydman of WGN News, Contreras said, “What about if you have a tight game and you have to go out there? They can’t say anything about that, that’s my team and we just care about wins. If they’re going to fine me about number seven mound visit, I’ll pay the price.”
Exhibition games haven’t even started yet, but two notable backstops — the lesser-known Maldonado won a Gold Glove last year — are clearly not happy with the rule change. As Craig alluded to in his article yesterday, arguments between catchers and umpires (and, subsequently, managers and umpires) are probably going to become more frequent, which would likely end up nullifying any pace of play improvements.
Update (4:43 PM ET): In response to this, Manfred said that if a catcher or coach made a seventh mound visit, there would have to be a pitching change (via Fletcher). However, chief baseball officer Joe Torre said (via SB Nation’s Eric Stephen) that the seventh visit cannot trigger a pitching change. The umpire would simply have to prevent the seventh mound visit.