Terry Francona, Joe West, Angel Hernandez

Terry Francona fined, avoids a suspension, for his dustup with Joe West


Terry Francona was tossed from last Friday’s game after arguing an Angel Hernandez balk call (Really? Angel Hernandez called a controversial balk? Shocking.)  In the course of that fracas, Francona and Joe West went at it a bit and bumped into each other several times, mostly at Joe West’s instigation, it seemed.

The disciplinary verdict is in: Francona was fined an undisclosed amount, but he will not be suspended. And based on Francona’s comments as reported in the Boston Herald today, it sounds like Joe West may have been hit harder than Francona got hit:

Francona declined to reveal the amount but praised MLB personnel for having “a pretty good sense of humor about it.” Francona said he told Matt McKendry, specialist of on-field operations, “ ‘I’ll pay it when I get to New York,’ and he said he doesn’t want any Canadian money, even though I think it’s worth more than ours.” Francona said he thought that “(West) should have fouled out, I thought I took the charge.”

I’ve complained in the past that umpires should get disciplined for their bad behavior too. I’ve been told by those inside the game, however, that they do get disciplined, even if we don’t hear much about it. Why we don’t hear much about it is another topic — my guess; the league worries that a long disciplinary record against an ump may erode the respect players have for them — but it’s good to know that they get smacked too.

And if the guys in the league office are joking around with Francona about all of this and not suspending him despite contact with an umpire, you can probably assume that West’s wallet is a lot lighter right now.

Blue Jays sign J.A. Happ to a three-year, $36 million contract

J.A. Happ
AP Photo/David Zalubowski
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MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm reports that the Blue Jays have signed lefty J.A. Happ to a three-year deal worth $36 million.

Happ, 33, had a rebirth as a member of the Pirates last season after starting the season with 20 subpar starts with the Mariners. He made 11 starts for the Buccos, boasting a 1.85 ERA with a 69/13 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings.

Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported this past August that Happ’s newfound success had to do with a delivery tweak suggested by Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage. The Blue Jays are certainly hoping that adjustment is the full explanation for his success.

Orioles “searching everywhere” for outfield help

L.J. Hoes
AP Photo

CSN Mid-Atlantic’s Rich Dubroff reports that the Orioles are “searching everywhere” for outfield help. The club recently acquired L.J. Hoes from the Astros in exchange for cash considerations, throwing him into a stable of six outfielders that could potentially crack the Opening Day Roster.

Adam Jones, of course, will open the season in center field. But in the corner outfield and on the bench, Dubroff lists Hoes along with Dariel Alvarez, Junior Lake, David Lough, Nolan Reimold and Henry Urrutia. Both Lough and Reimold are eligible for arbitration — Lough for the first time, and Reimold for his third and final year — so it remains to be seen if the Orioles will retain both of them.

The Orioles could target outfield help in the Rule-5 draft, and they could also target outfielders in free agency. Gerardo Parra, acquired by the O’s in a trade with the Brewers at the trade deadline, remains a possibility but the team is reluctant to offer him more than two years.

Indians sign Anthony Recker to a minor league deal

Anthony Recker
AP Photo/J Pat Carter
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MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports that the Indians have signed catcher Anthony Recker to a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training.

Recker, 32, has spent the past three seasons with the Mets, compiling an aggregate .190/.256/.350 batting line with 15 home runs and 51 RBI in 432 plate appearances. He’ll serve as catching depth for the Indians.

Recker was selected by the Athletics in the 18th round of the 2005 draft. They then sent him to the Cubs in exchange for Blake Lalli in an August 2012 trade, and the Mets selected him off waivers from the Cubs in October 2012.

Report: Yasiel Puig started a fight at a Miami nightclub

Yasiel Puig

When last we posted about Yasiel Puig it was to pass along a rumor that the best player on his team wants him off of it. If that was true — and if this report is true — then expect that sentiment to remain unchanged:

Obviously this report is vague and there has not been, say, a police report or other details to fill it in. Perhaps we’ll learn more, perhaps Puig was misbehaving perhaps he wasn’t.

As we wait for details, however, it’s probably worth reminding ourselves that Puig is coming off of a lost season in which he couldn’t stay healthy, so trading him for any sort of decent return at the moment isn’t super likely. Which leads us to some often overlooked but undeniable baseball wisdom: you can be a distraction if you’re effective and you can be ineffective if you’re a good guy. You really can’t be an ineffective distraction, however, and expect to hang around very long.