Unlike a lot of folks, I’m actually pretty OK with the Zack Greinke trade from the Royals’ perspective. No, you don’t always “win” a trade when you give up the best player in the deal — indeed, you rarely do — but “Zack Greinke: Kansas City Royal” was just not a viable possibility going forward and the Zack Greinke we see in Milwaukee next year is probably not the same pitcher we would have seen if he stayed. He was not happy with the Royals. The Royals did get some useful pieces. It’s not an awful deal.
Which makes me wonder about this description of the trade from a Royals’ spokesman (which came in the same marketing article I linked a while ago):
“It’s not just us trying to spin this the best way we can. There are lots of baseball experts (executives and scouts) telling us this was not only the right thing to do, but probably the best-case scenario under the circumstances of trading Zack.”
Cook said the team hopes this trade works out similarly to when the Minnesota Twins traded two-time Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana to the New York Mets for four of their best prospects.
I’m going to be charitable here and assume that Mr. Cook — the team spokeman — meant that it would be similar to the Santana deal in the “our team will be able to go on and win a bunch of ballgames and a couple of AL Central titles despite trading away our ace” sense. Not similar in the “wow, we may have just made the worst trade on a talent-for-talent basis in modern memory” sense. Because that is a pretty fair way to describe the Santana trade.
Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg lasted only two innings in Sunday’s start against the Diamondbacks. The right-hander reportedly had trouble getting loose and it showed: he yielded a hit and three walks to the 10 batters he faced. According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Strasburg had “some nerve impingement that has been alleviated.”
Manager Dusty Baker expects Strasburg to make his next scheduled start on Saturday at home against the Rockies, Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post reports. Strasburg was examined by doctors, who deemed him to be in good shape — enough to not warrant undergoing an MRI.
Through 20 starts, Strasburg owns a 3.25 ERA with a 141/37 K/BB ratio across 121 2/3 innings. Though the injury scare isn’t what the Nationals hoped for, he’s done well in the first year of his seven-year, $175 million contract extension.
Cubs starter John Lackey didn’t have his best stuff on Tuesday afternoon at Wrigley Field against the White Sox. The right-hander hit four White Sox batters over the course of five innings. He yielded just two runs, though, on five hits and two walks with five strikeouts. He left with a 4-2 lead.
Lackey hit Jose Abreu with one out in the first inning, then hit Abreu again in the fifth. He then hit Matt Davidson and Yoan Moncada shortly thereafter. Chris Beck relieved Carlos Rodon for the White Sox in the bottom of the fifth and promptly hit Ian Happ with a fastball to lead off the frame. Home plate umpire Lance Barksdale issued warnings to both benches and the beanings stopped.
So, how often do pitchers hit four batters in a game? Not that often! The last to do it was the Reds’ Josh Smith on July 4, 2015 against the Brewers. Before that, it was the Nationals’ Livan Hernandez on July 20, 2005 against the Rockies. Lackey is only the ninth pitcher to hit four batters in a game since 2000 and the 26th since 1913. The only other Cubs pitcher to do it besides Lackey was Moe Drabowsky in 1957.