The National League’s worst by position

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Same rules as yesterday’s American League list.

I’m listing the player most responsible for the position’s poor OPS along with the team.

Rockies 3B – 405 (Jose Lopez)
Padres 1B – 478 (Brad Hawpe)
Dodgers 1B – 508 (James Loney)
Pirates SS – 515 (Ronny Cedeno)
Marlins SS – 541 (Hanley Ramirez)
Padres SS – 550 (Jason Bartlett)
Nationals CF – 551 (Rick Ankiel)
Dodgers LF – 568 (Tony Gwynn Jr.)
Astros 2B – 571 (Bill Hall)
Phillies 2B – 573 (Wilson Valdez)
Mets CF – 580 (Angel Pagan)
Marlins 2B – 584 (Omar Infante)
Pirates 3B – 584 (Pedro Alvarez)
Giants 1B – 585 (Aubrey Huff)
Reds 3B – 594 (Scott Rolen)
Dodgers SS – 596 (Jamey Carroll)
Nationals 1B – 597 (Adam LaRoche)
Brewers 3B – 597 (Casey McGehee)
Brewers CF – 598 (Carlos Gomez)
Mets 2B – 603 (Brad Emaus)
D-backs 2B – 613 (Kelly Johnson)
Phillies C – 614 (Carlos Ruiz)
Pirates 1B – 615 (Lyle Overbay)
Brewers RF – 617 (Mark Kotsay)
Phillies LF – 628 (Raul Ibanez)
Padres RF – 633 (Will Venable)
Nationals SS – 636 (Ian Desmond)
Cubs 1B – 636 (Carlos Pena)
Giants SS – 644 (Miguel Tejada)
Dodgers C – 646 (Rod Barajas)
Brewers SS – 646 (Yuniesky Betancourt)

– Astros pitchers currently top all of the above positions with a 650 OPS.

– No Braves or Cardinals on the list.

– The Brewers are the extreme all-or-nothing team here. They’re getting a 1054 OPS from left field, a 967 OPS from first base and a 922 OPS from second base. Their next best is a 652 OPS from catcher.

– It’s pretty incredible to see six first base situations on the list and only two catchers. So far this season, NL catchers have a 747 OPS, while first basemen are at 748. Last year, NL catchers came in at 713, compared to 813 for first basemen. In 2009, it was 710 for catchers and 859 for first basemen.

In the American League this year, catchers are at 671, while first basemen are at 802.

Yadier Molina says Adam Jones “has to apologize to the Puerto Rican people”

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After the U.S. won the World Baseball Classic on Wednesday night, Adam Jones told a reporter that he and his teammates were motivated in part by the fact that Puerto Rico already had championship t-shirts printed up and plans for a parade/celebration in Puerto Rico in place beforehand.

Which, OK, whatever you need to motivate you, Adam, but all of that seems complicated by the fact that (a) ALL teams playing for a championship have pre-printed gear, thus enabling them to be put on moments after the final out; and (b) Puerto Rico’s celebration plans were not contingent on winning or losing. In fact, they went ahead and had a parade/celebration even though they lost. The WBC was a big deal to them in ways it simply wasn’t to the U.S., so it makes sense.

Yadier Molina of Team Puerto Rico did not take kindly to Jones’ comments. He tells ESPN Deportes this:

“Adam Jones … is talking about things he doesn’t know about,” Molina told ESPN. “He really has to get informed because he shouldn’t have said those comments, let alone in public and mocking the way [preparations] were made . . . He has to apologize to the Puerto Rican people,” Molina said. “Obviously, you wanted to win; he didn’t know what this means to [our] people.”

Kind of a messy little controversy, eh?

My feeling about it is that Jones probably didn’t know the whole story about Puerto Rico’s plans and misinterpreted celebration for arrogance. I also suspect that most players motivate themselves in all manner of irrational ways like this, but we just don’t hear about it all that much. Jones can do whatever he wants to psych himself up, but it changes the equation a bit when you talk about it to the press. Perceived slights that an athlete uses internally can seem petty once exposed to the light of day.

Either way: Jones does not have a reputation for being insulting or disrespectful, so I seriously doubt that was his intent here. I also think that, while Molina has a right to be miffed, the “he must apologize to the Puerto Rican people” thing is laying it on a bit thick. Maybe Jones can just text Molina and some P.R. players and say he was sorry, followed by a “we’re all good, man” and this can end? That makes the most sense.

If not, well, the Orioles do play the Cardinals in an interleague series this summer, so maybe we’ll see some fireworks.

Angel Hernandez ejects Asdrubal Cabrera from a spring training game

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You don’t see many ejections in spring training games. The stakes are virtually non-existent, so it’s not like a player is likely to blow up at a bad call or something. That’s especially true now, as we enter spring training’s final week. Everyone wants to get through it uninjured and without fuss. And it’s getting hot in Florida in Arizona too. No one’s got time for that.

Yesterday Asdrubal Cabrera and Angel Hernandez did, though. Cabrera was batting in a road game against the Nats. He asked for time to step out of the box. Hernandez didn’t give it to him. This annoyed Cabrera who, after hitting a single, jawed at Hernandez as he ran out of the box and then pointed at him once he reached first base. Hernandez ran him.

Cabrera didn’t quickly leave the field. He took a slow, slow walk to the outfield and left via the gate in right, which is where visiting players tend to enter and leave spring parks. Watch:

 

Here’s what Cabrera told reporters after the game:

“‘C’mon, man, you’re better than that,’ ” Cabrera said, recalling what he yelled at Hernandez. “And he threw me out.”

Eh. I have no love for Angel Hernandez, but “you’re better than that” is a weak sauce insult. For one thing, maybe the person isn’t better than that? For another, it’s functionally equivalent to “you know better,” which is a thing a parent says to a kid. It’s fine when your dad says it, but Cabrera isn’t Hernandez’s dad and thus saying so carries with it an implicit belittling intent. It’s an ad hominem, which violates the usual ump-player understanding in which you can say a call was b.s. but don’t say the ump is a jerk personally.

More generally, it’s just cowardly. It’s designed not to deal with the substance of the beef. “You are a fine person all of the time, kind sir, but in this instance you are not up to par.” Well, why? Say so or shut up and quit being passive-aggressive.

Again: Hernandez is generally horrible. He’s not better than that, actually. But Cabrera deserved to get run, if for no other reason, than his insult was lame.