Pirates pick Kevin Correia as Opening Day starter despite 5.40 ERA last season

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It’s probably not quite as depressing to fans as Kansas City picking a guy with a 5.60 career ERA as the Opening Day starter, but it might be close.

Pittsburgh announced that Kevin Correia will get the Opening Day assignment after going 10-10 with a 5.40 ERA for the Padres last year, which is some remarkably awful pitching for a guy who made 15 of 28 appearances in the majors’ most pitcher-friendly ballpark.

Correia has been better in past years, but not by much. He’s a 30-year-old with a 4.57 ERA in 741 career innings. Paul Maholm, Ross Ohlendorf, Charlie Morton, and James McDonald will follow Correia in the rotation and, if healthy, I’d bet on McDonald finishing the season as the Pirates’ best starter.

Javier Baez, D.J. LeMahieu have disagreement about sign-stealing

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Fellow second basemen Javier Baez of the Cubs and D.J. LeMahieu of the Rockies got into a disagreement in the top of the third inning of Sunday’s game at Coors Field over sign-stealing.

LeMahieu reached on a fielder’s choice ground out, then advanced to second base on Charlie Blackmon‘s single. While Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story were batting, Baez was concerned that LeMahieu was relaying the Cubs’ signs to his teammates. Baez decided to stand in front of LeMahieu to block any information he might have been giving to Arenado and Story. LeMahieu got irritated and the two jawed at each other for a bit. Umpires Vic Carapazza and Greg Gibson had to intervene to tell Baez to knock it off.

There has always been a back-and-forth with alleged sign-stealing. As long as teams aren’t using technology to steal signs, it’s fair game for players to relay information to their teammates about the opposing team’s signs. Last year, MLB determined the Red Sox went against the rules and used technology — an Apple watch in this case — to steal signs from the Yankees. Other teams in the past have been accused of using binoculars from the bullpen to steal signs. In this particular case with Baez and LeMahieu, there was no foul play going on, just Baez trying to make the Rockies cede what he perceived to be their slight competitive advantage.

The Cubs went on to beat the Rockies 9-7 on Sunday.