The strong implication in all of the stories about the Jose Guillen HGH investigation is that the Giants kept Guillen off the postseason roster because of the investigation. A source with knowledge of the investigation, however, tells me that this isn’t the case. The decision to keep Guillen off the roster was a baseball decision, borne of his lingering neck injuries and, quite frankly, his ineffectiveness down the stretch. No one at Major League Baseball, my source tells me, “directed the Giants” to keep Guillen off, to use the term from the New York Times story that broke the news. Baseball, the Giants and Bochy all declined comment on this question in the story.
Maybe to some folks this doesn’t matter — Jose is in trouble either way, and I have no basis for questioning the allegations mentioned in the NYT story — but I think it’s an important distinction. Why? because a lot of people have been saying that the HGH thing may have saved Bruce Bochy from himself, and that he would have played Guillen over Ross in the playoffs had it not come down. This isn’t fair to Bochy. He made the right baseball call here, just as he’s made the right calls in just about everything he’s done since the playoffs began. Let’s give the dude some credit for it, no?
Update (7:01 PM EDT): David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports the deal has been completed.
ESPN’s Keith Law reported on Saturday evening that a bad contract swap involving the Braves’ Hector Olivera and the Padres’ Matt Kemp was “getting close.” Olivera has been pulled off the field, per Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that only a last-second medical would kill the deal at this point, and that the Padres will be sending money to the Braves.
Kemp, 31, will have $64.5 million remaining on his contract through 2019 after this season, but the Dodgers will pay $3.5 million annually over those remaining three years, so the $64.5 million is really $54 million. The veteran has compiled a .262/.285/.489 triple-slash line with 23 home runs and 69 RBI in 431 plate appearances for the Padres this season.
Olivera, 31, will have $28.5 million remaining on his contract through 2020 after this season. The outfielder was handed an 82-game suspension, beginning on May 26, for his involvement in a domestic dispute on April 13. The suspension is up on August 2. He has a .501 OPS in 21 major league at-bats this season and a .278 OPS in 37 PA at Triple-A.
Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the Padres will consider designating Olivera for assignment. The trade is all about the salary dump for the Padres, as they’d rather give outfield playing time to prospects Hunter Renfroe and Manuel Margot.
The Athletics and Royals swapped outfielders on Saturday. The Athletics sent Billy Burns to Kansas City and the Royals sent Brett Eibner to Oakland.
Burns, 26, doesn’t provide much in the way of offense, but he runs the bases well and plays solid defense. He was hitting .234/.270/.303 with 11 doubles, four triples, and 14 stolen bases in 274 plate appearances.
Eibner, 27, was batting .231/.286/.423 with three home runs and 10 RBI in 85 plate appearances. He has spent most of the season with Triple-A Omaha, where he’s put up a .902 OPS in 219 PA. Eibner played the outfield corners in the majors, but racked up a ton of time playing center in the minors, so his versatility will be valuable to the A’s.
Burns will become eligible for arbitration for the first time after the 2017 season while Eibner has hardly accrued any service time, which might explain part of the motivation behind the trade for the small-market Athletics.