The WAR folks like Yunel apparently. I know this, Bobby Cox hated going to war with this guy.
— Jon Heyman, slamming sabermetrics and Yunel Escobar in one beautifully facepalm-inducing tweet.
I actually see this trade more like Heyman does than like a lot of my friends in the sabermetric community because I have always had this sense that Escobar is something less than the sum of his parts. But a few hours in, I think both the pro-Escobar and the anti-Escobar sides have overplayed their hands a bit. This kind of thing from Heyman — and especially this overheated hit job by the AJC’s Mark Bradley (Really? His English is the issue?) — seem a bit much. At the same time, a lot of the more sabermetrically-oriented analysis of the deal discounts the Braves’ distaste for Escobar a bit too much.
This is a trade that could really go either way. The Braves should be given some benefit of the doubt about their judgment here because they know the guy more than any of us ever will be able to. Likewise, those opposed to the trade from the Braves’ perspective are absolutely right to note that the Braves are selling low and could wind up really getting burned. In light of this currently-unresolvable ambiguity, everyone should probably tone it down a bit.
The Mets have begun working outfielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Neil Walker at first base as potential insurance in the event Lucas Duda continues to experience back discomfort, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Duda has been sidelined recently due to back spasms and missed all but 47 games last season as a result of a stress fracture in his lower back.
Manager Terry Collins spoke about Bruce’s work at first base on Sunday, saying, “I liked everything I saw today. “It looks like he’s got the athleticism, he’s got the hands, he’s got the arm angle. He made some throws in our drills that you wouldn’t expect an outfielder to be able to make, but yet he does. If that’s where we have to go, I think we’ll be fine.”
Bruce has only three games’ worth of experience at first base at the major league level, but still has high expectations for himself. He said, “I am going to work at it. I want to give myself a chance and the team a chance. I am not going to go over there and be a butcher. It’s just not the way I go about my business on the baseball field and it wouldn’t be fair to the team if I wasn’t capable to do it, so I am going to work at it and we’ll see what happens.”
The Mets made Bruce available via trade over the offseason but didn’t get an offer that whet their appetite. As a result, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out in the Mets’ crowded outfield.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.
There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.
Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.