My managerial ejection conspiracy theory


Charlie Manuel was ejected early in today’s Phillies-Indians game. Game time temperature in Philly was 94 degrees and it’s probably getting hotter. The manager’s office is air conditioned, there’s HD TV, and if Cholly is as awesome as I like to imagine he is, there’s probably a six pack of Ballantine or Hamm’s or some other brand of defunct beer that only he can get because he knows a guy who knows a guy.

What’ I’m saying is, I think the fix is in and Charlie wanted a breather from the hot day.  I have no evidence for this. I’m just speculatin’ on a hypothesis. Worth noting though, that the Phillies were already up 4-0 at the time against a weak team. In short, it’s not a day that requires Manuel’s managerial expertise.

I’ve always thought that Bobby Cox does this, by the way. Indeed, there was a stretch there — especially between 2006 and 2009 when the Braves weren’t playing so hot — where if it was a day game above 85 degrees, you could almost guarantee that Cox was going to get run for arguing balls and strikes. And he wouldn’t put up much of a fight, either. He’d go straight to the magic words, sometimes barely leaving the dugout before he was ejected. I think he was jonesin’ for the AC as well.

And I’m not being critical here. I love it!  Probably because I’m a giant wuss when it comes to heat and I’m totally projecting on two of my favorite managers in the game. I wish I could do what they do, and I’d like to pretend that they’d do what I’d do, even if doing so is pretty selfish and irresponsible. It’s probably also worth mentioning that when I woke up this morning my air conditioner wasn’t working and, as I type this, a repairman is working on it while the temperature in my house climbs above 80.

So, yeah, double the envy of the beer sipppin, feet-on-the-desk Charlie Manuel, who (in my mind at least) is thinking that today’s adversary Manny Acta is an A-1 sucker for not gettin’ wise to his plan, see?

Braves sign Bud Norris to one-year contract

Bud Norris

Bud Norris has found a home for his attempt at a bounceback season, signing a one-year deal with the Braves. Jon Heyman of says it’s worth $2.5 million, which is a huge cut from his $8.8 million salary this year.

Norris had established himself as a solid mid-rotation starter from 2009-2014, but had a brutal 2015 season split between the Orioles and Padres with a 6.72 ERA in 83 innings and a late-season move to the bullpen.

In announcing the signing the Braves referred to Norris as a starting pitcher, so joining the rotation for a rebuilding team gives him a chance to get his career back on track with an eye on hitting the open market as a free agent again next offseason. And if he fares well, the Braves could use him to add a prospect or two at the trade deadline.

The Cubs acquire Rex Brothers from the Rockies

Rex Brothers Rockies

The number of people who, if you held a gun to their head, would say that “Rex Brothers” was a game show host and/or local TV news personality from the late 1970s or early 80s is not insignificant. But if you’re a Rockies fan or if spend all day thinking about baseball you know that he’s a reliever who has played in Colorado for the past five years. Now you know him as a reliever for the Cubs:

Brothers — a former Best Shape of His Life All-Star — was pretty good until he hit a brick wall in 2014 and spent most of 2015 in Triple-A. He had something of a bounceback after being called up when rosters expanded in September, but that’s not the sort of thing to excite anyone. He could be useful for the Cubs or just spring training cannon fodder and organizational depth.

Cabrera just turned 18 a couple of weeks ago and pitched a grand total of 14 games in the Dominican Summer League. He’s young and was a $250,000 signee from the Dominican as a 16-year-old so, by definition, he’s a project. Worth giving up Rex Brothers for him if you’re the Rockies, worth risking for some depth in the pen if you’re the Cubs.

Diamondbacks hire Dave Magadan as hitting coach

Dave Magadan Rangers
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Steve Gilbert of reports that the Diamondbacks’ new hitting coach is Dave Magadan, who “parted ways” with the Rangers last month after three years filling the same role in Texas.

Magadan also previously was the Red Sox’s hitting coach and his teams have generally done pretty well, including the Rangers scoring the third-most runs in the league this year.

He’ll have plenty of talent to work with in Arizona, as the Diamondbacks scored the second-most runs in the league led by Paul Goldschmidt, A.J. Pollock, and David Peralta. Turner Ward, who had been Arizona’s hitting coach, chose to leave the team two weeks ago.

A’s reacquire Jed Lowrie in trade with Astros

Jed Lowrie

Jed Lowrie, who was traded from the Astros to the A’s in 2013 and then re-signed with the Astros as a free agent last offseason, has now been traded back to the A’s.

Lowrie got a three-year, $23 million deal from the Astros with the idea that he’d play shortstop in the first season and then move to another position whenever stud prospect Carlos Correa arrived. Instead he got hurt right away, Correa became an immediate star, and the Astros weren’t so keen on paying him $15 million over the next two seasons.

He could resume playing shortstop for the A’s, who watched rookie Marcus Semien make an absurd number of errors there this year. Lowrie hit .271 with a .738 OPS in two seasons in Oakland, which is similar to his career totals and makes him a solidly above-average offensive shortstop. There’s a decent chance the A’s will have a Lowrie-Lawrie double-play duo in 2016.

In return the Astros get minor leaguer Brendan McCurry, a 24-year-old right-hander who split 2015 between high Single-A and Double-A with a 1.86 ERA and 82/17 K/BB ratio in 63 relief innings. He was a 22nd-round draft pick in 2014 and doesn’t have exceptional raw stuff, but McCurry’s numbers are incredible so far.