The A’s have been making all kinds of upgrades this offseason. They’ve improved the offense and have made their bullpen into one of the best in the game. They may not be done either. From the Contra Costa Times:
A source with knowledge of the situation said the A’s are trying to trade for Seattle infielder Chone Figgins, and that current A’s third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff and perhaps a pitcher could be shipped to the Mariners in return.
Figgins was lost in 2010, having been moved to second base and having struggled at the plate. He still figures to be an above average defensive third baseman, however, and even if he doesn’t draw 100 walks like he did in 2009, he is an offensive upgrade over Kouzmanoff, who has some pop but struggles to get on base.
For the Mariners, this would be a salary-shedding move, as Figgins is owed $26 million over the next three years. Normally you don’t see the A’s taking on that kind of obligation, but given that they offered Adrian Beltre serious cash, they are clearly comfortable spending some money to upgrade at third.
Padres starter Jered Weaver lasted just two-thirds of an inning in Wednesday afternoon’s Cactus League appearance against the Royals. He yielded four runs on three hits, throwing 31 pitches before getting pulled. His spring ERA now sits at an ugly 10.13.
Weaver said he’s been dealing with a “dead arm” since his last bullpen session, but added he’s dealt with the issue in previous springs, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
The Padres signed Weaver to a one-year, $3 million contract last month. The right-hander is coming off of the worst season of his 11-year career. His fastball averaged a career-low 83 MPH and he put up a 5.06 ERA with a 103/51 K/BB ratio in 178 innings.
Earlier, Craig wrote about Dan Duquette’s dogwhistle language in his criticism of Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista. We have some more dogwhistling, this time coming from Tigers (and Team U.S.) second baseman Ian Kinsler. Via Billy Witz of The New York Times:
I hope kids watching the W.B.C. can watch the way we play the game and appreciate the way we play the game as opposed to the way Puerto Rico plays or the Dominican plays. That’s not taking anything away from them. That just wasn’t the way we were raised. They were raised differently and to show emotion and passion when you play. We do show emotion; we do show passion. But we just do it in a different way.
The goal of the World Baseball Classic, created by Major League Baseball, is to promote baseball across the globe. It’s players like Puerto Rico’s Javier Baez who are doing the best job in that regard, not boring white guys from the U.S. Potential baseball fans are not swayed into liking the sport when a player hits a home run and solemnly puts his head down to stroll the bases. They get excited and energized when players show emotion, flip their bats, celebrate. Baez did more to make baseball appeal to new and lapsed audiences with his premature celebration tag than the entire U.S. team has done this tournament.
Furthermore, it is hypocritical to want to diversify the sport’s audience while squelching incoming cultures.
Jim Leyland also got in on the action:
Go Puerto Rico.