FOX’s Jon Paul Morosi passes along an anecdote about Dusty Baker’s final dark days as the Cubs’ manager that, I am quite certain, is unique in the history of Major League Baseball:
“At the very end, somebody took a dump right where I stood in the dugout every day,” Baker said Monday morning. “That was the low point. The grounds crew guy cleaned it up. He said, ‘Oh, I think it’s dog crap.’ I said, ‘No it ain’t. That’s human crap.’”
Dusty doesn’t know who did it. I find it hard to believe that a fan is gonna schlep a bag of crap to the ballpark. And even if the plan was, um, put together in a bathroom in Wrigley Field, there would be too many other fans who would see the drop. No: this was an inside job. A player or a coach did it in the wee small hours of the morning before Duty Baker made his way to the dugout.
But who did it? Looking at the roster of the 2006 Cubs suggests all manner of suspects. Michael Barrett wasn’t well-liked on that team. Todd Walker had his share of attitude issues during his career. Greg Maddux has a history of scatalogical pranksterism. Really, it could have been anyone! Well, maybe not Neifi Perez. That dude practically owed his career to Baker. He’d probably take a bullet for the guy.
The real question is whether anyone saved the evidence. Because while it’s likely not possible now, I’m sure someday technology will help us make a positive ID.
Tigers’ right-handed reliever Francisco Rodriguez was released on Friday, per a team announcement. The club recalled fellow right-hander Bruce Rondon from Triple-A Toledo in a corresponding move.
The former closer got the boot after losing his closing role in early May, giving left-hander Justin Wilson a chance to impress at the back end of the bullpen. It’s been a rough year for Rodriguez, who manufactured six blown saves and a 7.82 ERA, 3.9 BB/9 and 8.2 SO/9 over 25 1/3 innings for the Tigers. The final straw, it seemed, came with Robinson Cano‘s grand slam in the seventh inning of the Tigers’ 6-9 loss to the Mariners on Thursday.
While the demotion to a clean-up role and an apparent lack of communication caused Rodriguez considerable frustration, he’s two years removed from his last dominant performance as a major league closer and has shown few signs of returning to form. His recent slump doesn’t diminish the impressive totals he’s racked up over his 16-year career — 437 saves and six All-Star nominations among them — but if he can’t break out of it soon, he may not receive the kind of high leverage role he’s seeking with another big league team, either.
The Red Sox have signed third baseman Jhonny Peralta to a minor-league deal. He’ll report to Pawtucket.
Peralta, 35, hit a paltry .204/.259/.204 in 58 plate appearances for the Cardinals this year. But with Pablo Sandoval on the disabled list — and ineffective when he hasn’t been — the Sox could use some infield depth.
This is the second former Tiger that former Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski has picked up today, after signing Doug Fister. No word if he’s kicking the tires on Andy Dirks or Brennan Boesch.