Pirates to call up James McDonald for Thursday's start

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Acquired from the Dodgers over the weekend in the Octavio Dotel trade, James McDonald is expected to join the Pirates’ rotation to start Thursday against the Rockies.
As a 25-year-old with a good minor-league track record McDonald is certainly deserving of a shot that the Dodgers never quite seemed willing to give him. He had a solid 4.11 ERA in 76.2 innings during various stints with the Dodgers, but posted a sub par 63/40 K/BB ratio and got knocked around in five starts while thriving as a reliever.
McDonald may be destined for the bullpen long term, but the Pirates can certainly afford to give him a chance to establish himself as a mid-rotation starter after he went 9-2 with a 3.96 ERA and 125/45 K/BB ratio over 22 starts in a hitter-friendly environment at Triple-A.
He’s exactly the type of player the Pirates should be taking fliers on and they very did well to get McDonald and outfield prospect Andrew Lambo for Dotel.

The Mariners and Cardinals make a minor trade

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The Seattle Mariners and the St. Louis Cardinals have made a minor trade. Seattle has acquired lefty Marco Gonzales from the Cardinals in exchange for outfielder Tyler O’Neill.

Gonzales, the Cardinals’ first round pick out of Gonzaga back in 2013, is in his first season back from Tommy John surgery. It’s been a good season, in which he has posted a 2.78 ERA and 64/17 K/BB ratio over 74.1 innings across two minor league levels. He’s pitched one game for St. Louis this year and got shelled, but we’ll leave that go.

O’Neill is a third rounder from 2013. He has hit .269/.344/.505 in five minor league seasons. He’s holding his own in Triple-A this year, smacking 19 homers in 93 games.

Topps has eliminated Chief Wahoo from both new and throwback card designs

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I’ve been out of the baseball card game for a good long time, but despite this — maybe because of this — I enjoy the posts from SABR’s Baseball Card Committee. A lot of that is old time stuff that old men like me enjoy — check out the airbrushing on the “Traded” cards! — but they talk about new cards too. Definitely worth your time if cards are now or have ever been your bag.

Today there’s an interesting post, pointing out something most of us wouldn’t have otherwise noted: Topps has dropped Chief Wahoo from Indians card designs. They’re doing it for the old Braves “screaming Indian” logo as well, though the Braves no longer use that themselves.

They’re not airbrushing these logos out of photos of players — that would be Orwellian even for my extreme Wahoo-hating tastes — but in card designs which have team logos, Topps is using the block-C logo, not Wahoo, and the Braves “A” logo in place of the old logo. This includes throwback issues like the Heritage sets which put modern players on card designs from the 1950s-1960s and on simple retro designs like their 1987 variations. Any cards which once featured Wahoo on the border or on the back now features the block-C.

As you may or may not know, Topps is now the official card producer for Major League Baseball. As such, I take their doing this as a sign that MLB is continuing the slow process of de-Chiefing in whatever areas it has ultimate say.

Now if only the Indians themselves would get on board.