Panic on the streets of New York

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Evidence that there are too many days off between playoff series: when a couple of plunkings in a simulated game give you the back page in the New York Daily News.

Yeah, it’s kind of funny and I suppose kind of worrisome that Burnett was wild while pitching a simulated game.  But wasn’t the whole point of the sim game to remove a bunch of accumulated rust anyway? Maybe this was worse than the Yankees hoped for, but of course he wasn’t going to be on. If he was sharp they wouldn’t have needed the game.

Everyone’s so damn tense right now. Some Yankees fans are actually arguing that Girardi should punt Game 3 by pitching Burnett against Lee.*  I was on a Philly radio show this morning and people there are actually concerned about the Giants because Roy Halladay gave up five runs to them in a game six months ago.

I understand that FOX and TBS like to sell ads ahead of time and everything, but I wish the playoff schedule was set up so that the LCS started a day or two after the LDS ended. Sure, maybe a couple of pitchers would be tired, but I think it’d be preferable to all of this waitin’ around a worrying.

*I’m not suggesting that pitching Burnett against Lee would actually constitute Girardi punting the game. I think Burnett is capable of pitching well enough if the Yankees are on, even if I think you should match up a better pitcher against Lee. But the rhetoric from some Yankees fans I’ve talked to is basically “well, we’re going to lose against Lee anyway, so we may as well hide Burnett there.”  I can’t recall the last time I heard anything so defeatist from Yankees fans.

Yoenis Cespedes: “I’m going to play the last year of my career with Oakland”

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Yoenis Cespedes told Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle that he wants to finish his career with the Athletics, according to an exclusive interview released on Friday. The Mets’ 31-year-old outfielder praised Oakland manager Bob Melvin, telling Slusser, “I don’t think there’s a better manager than Melvin” and adding that while he didn’t know if a return to Oakland would be possible, his love for the city had not faded.

Melvin, for his part, said he wasn’t surprised that the slugger wants another go-round with his first major league club, even if only as a final hurrah. Cespedes hit well over two and a half seasons with the A’s, compiling a cumulative .262/.318/.470 batting line from 2012 to 2014 and enjoying two postseason runs with the club before he was traded for Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes in 2014.

There’s been relatively little for Cespedes to complain about since his departure from Oakland, of course: he turned in a career-best performance in 2015, slashing .291/.328/.542 with 35 home runs and 6.7 fWAR in back-to-back gigs with the Tigers and Mets, and netted a whopping three-year, $75 million contract prior to the 2016 season. Still, there’s something special about the A’s, as the slugger relayed to teammate Jerry Blevins:

I told Blevins, ‘I don’t know how many years I’m going to play, but I’m going to play the last year of my career with Oakland.’ I don’t know if that’s possible or not, but that’s my goal.

Whether or not Cespedes gets his wish, it’s unlikely he’ll pursue any kind of deal with the A’s for the time being. He’s still owed $23.75 million in 2017 and 2018 and isn’t scheduled to hit free agency until 2019.

Brewers sell Michael Choice’s contract to the Nexen Heroes

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The Brewers offloaded outfielder Michael Choice’s contract to the Nexen Heroes of the Korea Baseball Organization, per a team announcement on Friday. Choice signed a minor league deal with the Brewers in early May, but did not earn a major league stint in 11 weeks with the team.

It’s been two full years since the 27-year-old outfielder snagged a big league opportunity of any kind. He last appeared with the Rangers in 2015 and played in just one game, striking out in his only at-bat. His production rate sagged through three consecutive minor league assignments with the Indians, Orioles and Brewers and peaked in 2016 after slashing .246/.304/.456 with 14 home runs for the Indians’ Triple-A Columbus. He was off to a decent start this season for the Brewers’ Double-A Biloxi, working a .272/.349/.503 batting line with nine home runs and an .852 OPS through his first 195 PA.

Choice is poised to join several other ex-major leaguers on the Heroes’ roster, including left-hander Andy Van Hekken, right-hander Jake Brigham and infielder/outfielder Danny Dorn.

6:43 PM: Danny Dorn no longer plays for the Nexen Heroes, as he was released to clear roster space for Choice.