Cliff Lee throws complete game as Mets and Twins reportedly emerge as trade talk 'frontrunners'

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Cliff Lee was brilliant again last night as rumors continue to swirl about his time in Seattle winding down, holding the Cubs to one run in a complete-game victory that lowered his ERA to a league-best 2.39.
Lee missed most of April, yet leads the league with four complete games (including two shutouts) and has an absolutely ridiculous 76/4 K/BB ratio in 87 innings. To put that into some context Bret Saberhagen holds the all-time record with 11.0 strikeouts per walk in 1994 and no other pitcher in baseball history who qualified for the ERA title ever had 10 strikeouts per walk.
Right now Lee has 19.0 strikeouts per walk.
Obviously the Mariners didn’t plan on being 30-41 and all but out of the playoff picture in June, but the good news is that Lee has maintained his full trade value and then some. Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times reports that the Mets and Twins are the front-runners for Lee at this point, speculating that Minnesota has the potential edge in the form of Wilson Ramos because Seattle wants a good catching prospect.
Baker notes that Ramos “could make a centerpiece to a deal along with a mid-to-back-end starting pitcher” that would presumably be Scott Baker or Kevin Slowey. He also wonders if the Mets could trump that by offering Jenrry Mejia and Angel Pagan. Of course, a report out of New York yesterday said the Mets were unlikely to deal Mejia.

Jered Weaver dealing with “dead arm”

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Padres starter Jered Weaver lasted just two-thirds of an inning in Wednesday afternoon’s Cactus League appearance against the Royals. He yielded four runs on three hits, throwing 31 pitches before getting pulled. His spring ERA now sits at an ugly 10.13.

Weaver said he’s been dealing with a “dead arm” since his last bullpen session, but added he’s dealt with the issue in previous springs, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.

The Padres signed Weaver to a one-year, $3 million contract last month. The right-hander is coming off of the worst season of his 11-year career. His fastball averaged a career-low 83 MPH and he put up a 5.06 ERA with a 103/51 K/BB ratio in 178 innings.

Ian Kinsler doesn’t think Puerto Rico or Dominican Republic players play the game the right way

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Update: Whoops…

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Earlier, Craig wrote about Dan Duquette’s dogwhistle language in his criticism of Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista. We have some more dogwhistling, this time coming from Tigers (and Team U.S.) second baseman Ian Kinsler. Via Billy Witz of The New York Times:

I hope kids watching the W.B.C. can watch the way we play the game and appreciate the way we play the game as opposed to the way Puerto Rico plays or the Dominican plays. That’s not taking anything away from them. That just wasn’t the way we were raised. They were raised differently and to show emotion and passion when you play. We do show emotion; we do show passion. But we just do it in a different way.

The goal of the World Baseball Classic, created by Major League Baseball, is to promote baseball across the globe. It’s players like Puerto Rico’s Javier Baez who are doing the best job in that regard, not boring white guys from the U.S. Potential baseball fans are not swayed into liking the sport when a player hits a home run and solemnly puts his head down to stroll the bases. They get excited and energized when players show emotion, flip their bats, celebrate. Baez did more to make baseball appeal to new and lapsed audiences with his premature celebration tag than the entire U.S. team has done this tournament.

Furthermore, it is hypocritical to want to diversify the sport’s audience while squelching incoming cultures.

Jim Leyland also got in on the action:

Go Puerto Rico.