Buster Olney of ESPN.com reports that Jorge Cantu is “seriously being considered by the Diamondbacks” as an option at first base.
Cantu was horrendous for the Rangers after they acquired him a midseason deal with the Marlins and barely played in the postseason as rookie Mitch Moreland emerged as the primary first baseman.
He’s always had 25-homer power, but poor plate discipline kept Cantu from emerging as more than a decent regular and now even that may be a stretch. He hit just .256 with a .304 on-base percentage and .392 slugging percentage in 127 games this year and would likely be best in a platoon role facing mostly left-handers even if he bounces back in 2011.
That could make him a fit in Arizona, as the Diamondbacks acquired minor-league veteran and left-handed hitter Juan Miranda from the Yankees last month. It won’t excite fans, but a Miranda-Cantu platoon could produce something resembling league-average production very cheaply.
When you promote a player from the minors, the first and foremost consideration is whether or not he can help your ball club. But, assuming that’s taken care of, teams should really, really make it a priority to call up dudes with cool sounding names because it makes life more interesting for the rest of us.
The Pirates are doing that. The other night Dovydas Neverauskas made his big league debut. In addition to being the first Lithuanian born-and-raised player in major league history, it’s a solid, solid name. Now the Pirates are making another promotion: Gift Ngoepe.
Yep, Gift Ngoepe. He’s an infielder from South Africa, making the leap to the bigs due to David Freese‘s hamstring injury. Ngoepe, 27, was batting just .241/.308/.379 through 66 plate appearances this season with Triple-A Indianapolis, his ninth in the minors, so he’s not exactly a prospect. But man, that’s a killer name.
It’s also worth mentioning that Gift and Neverauskas were arrested together in a bar fight last August in Toledo, so there is already a good basis for some bonding here.
Good luck, Gift. Gift Ngoepe. Mr. Ngoepe. G-Ngo. Man, I could do this all day.
The Rays beat the Orioles last night, but the play of the game belonged to an Oriole defender.
Evan Longoria was batting and he chopped a ball foul down the third base line. At least it started out foul. As we all know, however, it doesn’t matter where the ball starts, it matters where it is when it crosses the bag.
Manny Machado knows this and didn’t give up on the ball despite it starting several feet in foul territory. He watched it come back, stayed with it and threw out Longoria who, unlike Machado, did give up on it, assuming he’d merely get a strike and another hack. Watch:
Longoria would get Machado back, however, fielding a ball Machado smoked to third base in the ninth inning, recording the second to last out of the game.