Ken Rosenthal has set the Phillies’ little corner of the Twitterverse a-tweeting by suggesting — based on word from “major league sources” — that the Phillies could shop Jayson Werth mid-season. This is one of those things, though, in which the caveat basically swallows up the rumor. The caveat: “if the Phillies somehow fall out of contention.”
While I’m sure one’s definition of “fall out of contention” varies, I don’t see how that could realistically apply to the Phillies before the trade deadline. They’re four games back as we speak. Only two games out of the Wild Card. They’re playing a Braves team that is banged up and is doing things like trotting out an outfield consisting of Melky Cabrera, Omar Infante and Gregor Blanco, and they’re doing it at home. At the end of the week the two teams they’re behind will play each other. It’s just as likely that they’ll gain ground before the break as lose ground.
After the break they have just over two full weeks before the deadline with over half of those games coming against losing teams. Yes, it’s possible that they’ll lose 14 of 17 or something while the Mets and Braves surge, but that’s not likely either. My guess is that, at worst, they’ll be around the same place they are now. Maybe four or five games back. At worst. That’s certainly not “out of contention” territory.
Someone better versed in waiver-trade-fu than me can correct me if I’m wrong, but given that Werth is (a) good; and (b) about to become a free agent, the odds of him making it through waivers seem pretty small (i.e. there’s not some big contract to scare teams away). That means the Phillies aren’t like to match up with any optimum trade partners if they want to make an August deal.
All of this leads to me thinking that the odds of the Phillies actually trading Jayson Werth are infinitesimal. It’s enough to get Rosenthal a little chatter, but ultimately nothing is going to happen.
The Braves have been terrible with respect to replay challenges this year. Almost improbably terrible. Fredi Gonzalez has challenged calls seven times and he’s been unsuccessful on all seven challenges. Given how these things work, it’s likely because he’s getting bad advice from the Braves employee designated to watch the replays and suggest when challenges should be made.
Now Gonzalez is going to have a new guy in that role. A familiar name too: Buddy Carlyle, who Mark Bowman of MLB.com reports, will join the Braves as a coaching assistant who will handle the replay review decisions.
Carlyle, of course, spent nine seasons as a major league pitcher and nearly 20 as a professional overall. Most recently with the Mets last season before calling it a career. He pitched for the Braves as well, from 2007-09.
Now he’ll provide a new and, hopefully, more discerning set of eyes for the Braves’ replay operation.
Bad, bad news for the Los Angeles Angels: their best starter needs Tommy John surgery and their most promising young starter has UCL damage as well.
Jeff Passan reports that Garrett Richards has a torn right ulnar collateral ligament and is expected to need Tommy John surgery. Richards was scratched from today’s start due to fatigue and dehydration, but Passan says they found the UCL tear while examining him yesterday. Richards is the Angels’ ace, having won 13 games in 2014 and 15 games a year ago. So far this year he a 2.34 ERA in six starts.
Heaney, meanwhile, has damage to his left ulnar collateral ligament, Passan reports. He was diagnosed with a flexor muscle strain after he was placed on the disabled list following his first start of the season, but this is obviously more serious. Unlike Richards, the plan at the moment is for Heaney to rehab rather than go under the knife. Sometimes that works. Often it doesn’t and Tommy John happens later. We’ll see.
These twin blows are huge and terrible for the Angels, who already had serious depth issues basically everywhere on the roster. The conventional wisdom before the year started was that, if everything broke right and everyone stayed healthy, they could possibly contend in an often volatile AL West, but that they didn’t have a big margin for error. This is a lot of error. The Angels are 13-15 and four games out in the division as it is. Without two starters on whom they were counting big, it’s hard to see how the rest of the Angels’ season isn’t going to be a total slog.
This is not exactly stunning news, but it’s Willie Mays’ 85th birthday today and any excuse to talk about Willie Mays is a good one. Happy Birthday, Willie!
The pretext is a story in the San Francisco Chronicle about how The Greatest Baseball Player of All Time (my view anyway) is getting an iconic cable car named after him. An icon named after an icon, I guess. The cable car is, appropriately, number 24.
Next month I’m taking my kids on vacation to California and we’re spending a few days in San Francisco. It’ll be a shame when I tell them we have to cancel half of a day’s plans while I make them wait for one particular cable car to come by so they can take my picture with it, but that’s just what they have to deal with given that I’m their dad.
Yesterday I wrote about a column written by Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle. It was about Astros outfielder Carlos Gomez, who has had a poor start to the year.
The column, as I noted, was a hatchet job, blaming Gomez for the Astros’ problems despite the fact that Gomez is by far from the biggest of the Astros’ problems. It was particularly bad in that it presented an unedited bit of broken English from Gomez which seemed calculated to cast Gomez in a bad light. Many journalists were critical of Smith in this regard, noting that he could’ve used a translator, could have paraphrased or could’ve done some mild correction via brackets, as is often done with quotes from non-native English speakers.
Last night Gomez took to Twitter to call out Smith himself:
It’s possible to write a column about how a player hasn’t lived up to expectations without being an insensitive jackass. It’s possible to do so even in the sharpest of ways. Smith didn’t do that, however, and didn’t make an effort to try, it seems. Gomez is right to take issue with it. And I suspect that Gomez’s teammates and organization take issue with it too. Which likely doesn’t bode well for Smith getting cooperation from others in the Astros family.