Gotta hand it to the Yankees: they really know how to counter a move. The Phillies get Cliff Lee? Bam! New York gets Mark Prior. The Brewers snag Zack Greinke? Bam! New Yorks signs Luis Vizcaino.
OK, that’s not fair. I know those moves aren’t in response to anything and would have happened anyway. I do think their timing is kind of amusing, though, because it makes me imagine an alternative reality in which the Yankees are barely able to stay afloat, live off of scrap-heap signings and bank everything on lighting-in-a-bottle performances. In this mini-fantasy, Brian Cashman transforms from his current self preaching patience about the team’s offseason plans into a 20-year older version of himself, more disheveled, pleading with Yankees fans to have patience because it takes a lot of time to build a winning team.
Yeah, I have lame fantasies.
Anyway, Vizcaino used to be with the Yankees and is late of Cleveland, where he hasn’t pitched in the majors since June 2009. His top end is probably garbage-time middle-reliever, the sort of which rarely if ever get their own posts here at HBT.
But hey, if it gives me an opportunity to imagine the Yankees as a struggling mid-market team in the middle of its third five-year plan in the past decade it’s totally worth it.
The Rockies announced on Wednesday night that the club acquired relief pitcher Pat Neshek from the Phillies in exchange for three minor leaguers: infielder Jose Gomez, pitcher J.D. Hammer, and pitcher Alejandro Requena.
Neshek, 36, made the National League All-Star roster and currently owns a 1.12 ERA with a 45/5 K/BB ratio over 40 1/3 innings. He’ll help bolster the 58-44 Rockies’ bullpen as they vie for one of the two Wild Card slots realistically, and hope to overcome the Dodgers’ 12-game lead in the NL West.
More on the minor leaguers shortly.
Earlier, Craig wrote about the negative reaction within the Phillies’ clubhouse after outfielder Odubel Herrera A) flipped his bat on a fly out, and B) failing to run out a dropped third strike. Manager Pete Mackanin was one of Herrera’s critics, unsurprisingly, but so was catcher Cameron Rupp.
Via the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Matt Gelb, Rupp said that the Phillies’ frustration with Herrera is “not a secret.” He said, “Pete is the manager and what he asks us to do, we’re supposed to do. It’s a team thing and one guy can’t just not follow the rules. It’s not the first time. It has happened before and that’s something we don’t want to see. We want him in the game. He’s a good player. It’s hard for us. He’s a grown man. He has to learn on his own. We can only say so much.”
Though Rupp didn’t directly say his criticism of Herrera pertained to bat flips, we can logically deduce it as such. Herrera doesn’t commonly fail to run out dropped third strikes, but he does commonly flip his bat, particularly on non-homers.
Rupp had a good game against the Astros on Wednesday night, blasting a pair of two-run home runs. The problem? Rupp flipped his bat. In a 9-0 game.
The MLB.com video doesn’t really give a chance to see the full extent of Rupp’s flip, so here’s a .gif from Chris Jones:
And just in case anyone feels I’m interpreting the situation through a biased lens, Phillies beat writer Ryan Lawrence of The Philly Voice also saw it the same way.
We should probably expect Mackanin to bench Rupp for the next two games like he did Herrera, right? What’s that, you say? Certain players were more likely to be criticized for expressing emotion and perceived lack of hustle? Really makes you think.