San Francisco Giants v Texas Rangers, Game 4

UPDATE: Call off the Michael Young trade talk

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UPDATE: It seems that’s over. Multiple sources, including Evan Grant and others who were reporting a possible Michael Young trade, are now saying that it’s not happening. The Rangers have approached young and told him as much.

To the extent the trade was going to be to the Rockies so that Texas could then sign Adrian Beltre, I’d like to think I was partially responsible. When that rumor first started last night I went on Sirius/XM radio with Mike Ferrin and Flash Gordon, who asked me about it. My immediate response: “Why don’t the Rockies just sign Adrian Beltre? Not tons more expensive and, you know, he’s a lot better.”  Perchance Colorado heard that and agreed?

Well, no, I suppose not. But if a knucklehead like me can understand that, you figure that a team full of guys paid to think about such matters could.

Tuesday, 11:42 PM: Oh, baby. Multiple sources are telling Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News that the Rangers are talking to the Rockies about a trade for Michael Young.

This will be no easy task, since Young is owed $48 million over the next three seasons, but Grant writes that if the Rangers are able to deal him, they will pursue free-agent third baseman Adrian Beltre. Now that would be something.

Tuesday, 8:02 PM: Here’s more clarification from Rangers president Nolan Ryan, via Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com:

“I wouldn’t say that were shopping him,” Ryan said. “A lot of players come up in discussions and you listen to what’s out there. I think people ask us about all kinds of players and so you see what level of interest some teams have on various things, but it’s all just part of the process. We’re not shopping him.”

Tuesday, 7:58 PM: According to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Rangers officials have “debunked” the rumor that they are shopping Michael Young. Again, probably doesn’t matter if they are, because they aren’t going to get that much interest with a contract like his.

Tuesday, 6:19 PM: Ken Rosenthal says that the Rangers are listening to offers for Michael Young.

I suppose if I had Michael Young and his contract that I’d listen to offers too. I just wouldn’t expect any.  Besides, Young is really popular in Texas, you’d have to figure that it wouldn’t be the easiest trick in the world to trade him in a salary dump.  They’d have to get players, and who wants to give players for a guy who is owed $16 million a year for his age 34, 35 and 36 seasons.

This could be a shot in the dark by the Rangers, hoping that they could maybe unload his contract before his 10-and-5 rights kick in next May.

In other news, there’s a host for an Atlanta sports talk station inexplicably broadcasting from inside the media room here at the Winter Meetings, where people are trying to write. He’s loud, and that would be bad enough. Making it worse: he just referred to Greg Maddux as “The Crime Dog.”  That’s a major, major code violation.  If you don’t know his nickname at least have the common courtesy to call him “Daddy.”

I’m going to get some dinner. Then some courage. Then I’m going to come back and give that guy a wedgie.  If things go sideways, my last tweet of the evening will be a request for someone for to throw my bail.

Video: Minor League Manager goes on epic rant

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Frisco RoughRiders manager Joe Mikulik got his money’s worth last night. He was ejected after arguing an automatic double play on an enforcement of the slide rule, and he didn’t go gently into that goodnight.

Rather, he threw things, kicked things, threw things and then subsequently kicked those same things, gave overly-demonstrative slides and safe signs and basically went all Earl Weaver/Lou Piniella on everyone.

Double-A baseball is the best minor league because you tend to see more prospects there than you do at Triple-A. But it’s also the best because, when you’re a manager who is not quite a heartbeat away from getting your shot at the big leagues, you’re a little less uptight about things. Or at least Mikulik was. Or maybe he was more uptight. I don’t know. He just went with it, and going with it has its charms.

 

(h/t Big League Stew)

A must-read oral history of the 1998 home run chase

7 Jul 1998:   American Leaguer player Mark McGwire #25 of the St Louis Cardinals and Sammy Sosa #21 of  the Chicago Cubs answer questions during  the Major League Baseball All-Star Game at Coors Field in Denver,  Colorado.The American  League defeated the
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It’s hard to believe that it’s been 18 years since Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa captivated the nation with their epic chase of Roger Maris’ home run record. But it has been, and after years of reaction, counter-reaction and, of course, baseball’s reckoning with the performance-enhancing drugs which helped fuel the chase, it’s probably finally time to do our best to contextualize it historically.

Today one of my favorite news outlets does that with an oral history. All of the key figures weigh-in on it, from McGwire and Sosa to Bud Selig to Tony La Russa. Randy Johnson makes an appearance as well, reminding us that it wasn’t just the sluggers who had an amazing year in 1998. Indeed, his story, including his being traded to Houston and going on an amazing second-half run, has almost been lost to history.

This is bookmark material, my friends. For savoring later if you can’t read it now. And for revisiting at another time given the depths to the drama which justifies multiple readings. I’ll just warn you that there is some adult language in the story, but that’s to be expected given the passion the 1998 baseball season inspired.

Go check it out.

UPDATE: Asdrubal Cabrera leaves Mets-Nats game with back spasms

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MAY 12:  Shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera #13 of the New York Mets throws to first from his knee after diving to catch a ground ball to get Joc Pederson #31 of the Los Angeles Dodgers for the second out of the sixth inning at Dodger Stadium on May 12, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  The Dodgers won 5-0.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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UPDATE: Cabrera was removed from the game due to back spasms.

1:21PM: This is not good: Asdrubal Cabrera was removed from today’s game against the Nationals with an apparent injury.

It’s unclear what the injury was, as Cabrera had yet to even play in the game. Matt Reynolds came on to play shortstop in the bottom of the first inning, but Cabrera didn’t bat in the top of the first. It could be an illness. Or some freak occurrence.

We’ll update when we hear more.

There are apparently unwritten rules about manager replay challenges now

CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 05: Manager Joe Maddon #70 of the Chicago Cubs shakes hands with manager Mike Matheny #26 of the St. Louis Cardinals before the Opening Night game at Wrigley Field on April 5, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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Last night’s Cardinals-Cubs game was a blowout, with the Cubs beating the Cards 12-3. Apparently, however, in the ninth inning of the game, Reynoldsburg, Ohio’s own Mike Matheny played the Cardinals infield in, which is a move you never see in a blowout. Why did he do that?

He hasn’t said yet, but Cubs manager Joe Maddon just spoke to the media before today’s game and he’s speculating that Matheny did it as a form of protest:

God, I hope that’s true. I hope that manager replay challenges, which are already dumb enough inasmuch as they turn what should be an officiating correction device into a strategic tool, are now turning into another front in the Great Unwritten Rules Wars. I hope that we now have a bunch of people talking about how there’s a right way and a wrong way to use the replay system and that one can disrespect the other side if they do it the wrong way. The way the replay system has been implemented often resembles tragedy. Why not make it farce?

Oh well, I guess it beats throwing at someone for doing that wrong. And I guess it’s just a reminder that no matter what we do, baseball is always gonna give us an opportunity for petty bits of silliness.