UPDATE: Phillies designate Scott Mathieson for assignment

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UPDATE: Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer kept his promise to explain the Mathieson situation and it appears he isn’t going anywhere. Here are the specifics.

Problem is, Mathieson cannot be optioned without going on waivers.
Here is my understanding of Mathieson’s situation:

There are four types of waivers, the rarest being optional waivers.
They are required when a team wishes to option a player who has options
remaining but is more than three calendar years removed from his
major-league debut. Mathieson falls under that category; he made his
debut on June 17, 2006. And he has options left.

So the Phillies had to place Mathieson on waivers regardless. Will they
lose him? Almost certainly no. Optional waivers are revocable, which
means if a team puts a claim in for Mathieson, the Phillies can pull him
back.

Well, I’ve learned something today. How about you?

1:59 PM: Todd Zolecki of MLB.com confirms that Mathieson was designated for assignment, while Matt Gelb tweets that there is a “very small chance” that the Phillies will lose him through a loophole. My head hurts. This has nothing to do with my personal fandom, I swear, but it would be pretty entertaining to see the Mets put in a waiver claim here.

1:47 PM: Well, that was fast. Scott Mathieson was just called up from Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Friday, however he was designated for assignment on Saturday in order to make room on the roster for catcher Dane Sardinha, according to Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Mathieson reached cult hero status among some Phillies fans after multiple Tommy John surgeries, posting a 2.43 ERA and 34/12 K/BB ratio over 29 2/3 innings with the IronPigs this season, however he failed to impress in his season debut against the Twins on Friday night, allowing two runs on three hits and a wild pitch with the bases loaded in the ninth inning. The 26-year-old fireballer was yanked after throwing 23 pitches.

There’s some uncertainty as to what this roster move actually means, as Mathieson has options remaining. Assistant general manager Scott Proefrock told Gelb that it was “a procedural move,” but wouldn’t elaborate further. I’m stumped.
 

Edwin Encarnacion: “I think [the Blue Jays] got too hasty in making their decision.”

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 19:  Edwin Encarnacion #10 of the Toronto Blue Jays reacts in the fifth inning against the Cleveland Indians during game five of the American League Championship Series at Rogers Centre on October 19, 2016 in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
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1B/DH Edwin Encarnacion signed a three-year, $60 million contract with the Indians early last month. The 34-year-old had spent the last seven and a half seasons with the Blue Jays, but his future elsewhere appeared to be written on the wall when the Jays signed Kendrys Morales in November to essentially occupy Encarnacion’s role.

Encarnacion spoke about testing free agency for the first time in his career and the situation that led to him leaving Toronto for Cleveland. Via Jorge L. Ortiz of USA TODAY:

“Toronto was always my first option, but I had never been a free agent, and anybody who gets to free agency wants to find out what’s out there,’’ he said. “I think they got too hasty in making their decision, but now I’m with Cleveland and I’m happy to be here.’’

Encarnacion last season hit .263/.357/.529 with 42 home runs and an AL-best 127 RBI. He’s now on the team that defeated his Blue Jays in the ALCS to advance to the World Series. Encarnacion effectively replaces Mike Napoli, who returned to the Rangers.

Sammy Sosa compares himself to Jesus Christ

Sammy Sosa
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I’m on record saying that Sammy Sosa has been rather hosed by baseball history.

The guy did amazing things. Unheard-of things. He was truly astounding at this peak and was incredibly important to both his franchise and Major League Baseball as a whole. His repayment: he’s a pariah. His club won’t claim him and his greatness, by any measure, has not just been overlooked but denied by most who even bother to consider him.

Yes, he had PED associations, but they were extraordinarily vague ones. He’s in the same boat as David Ortiz as far as documented PED evidence against him, but Ortiz will be a first ballot Hall of Famer while Sosa barely clings to the ballot. He hit homers at the same cartoonish rate as Mark McGwire, but while Big Mac has been embraced by baseball and has coached for years, Sosa can’t get into Wrigley Field unless he buys a ticket and even then the Cubs might try to hustle him out of sight. The man has been treated poorly by any measure.

Yet, it’s still possible to overstate the case. Like Sosa did in this interview with Chuck Wasserstrom:

It’s like Jesus Christ when he came to Jerusalem,” Sosa told chuckbloggerstrom.com. “Everybody thought Jesus Christ was a witch (laughing) — and he was our savior. So if they talk (bleep) about Jesus Christ, what about me? Are you kidding me?”

At least he was basically joking about it. Still, it’s a totally unfair and almost offensive comparison.

I mean, anyone who watched Sosa’s career knows that he had trouble laying off breaking stuff low and away. In contrast . . .