Taking the rivalry a bit too seriously perhaps, the low Single-A Greenville Drive and Charleston River Dogs had it out Friday night, brawling after the second pitch of the game.
Baseball America’s Ben Badler said there was some lingering bad blood from a series between the teams three weeks ago, so when Red Sox prospect Miguel Celestino hit former Yankees first-round pick Slade Heathcott in the top of the first, mayhem ensued.
Rather than go after Celestino, Heathcott turned and shoved catcher Christian Vazquez instead.
Youtube user rdogsfan11 caught the brawl on the video:
Ejections were handed to Heathcott and Vazquez, as well as one reliever for each team: Garett Rau for the Drive and Kelvin Perez for the River Dogs.
Heathcott, one of the Yankees’ top prospects, seems certain to be suspended. The 20-year-old, who was taken 29th overall in the 2009 draft, is hitting .312/.396/.504 with three homers in 125 at-bats this season.
Charleson ended up winning the contest 6-2. It was the first game in a four-game series, so perhaps more fireworks are in store.
Over the winter there was serious talk about the Pirates trading Andrew McCutchen to the Washington Nationals. His move to left field to allow Starling Marte to take over center further served to make McCutchen a less important part of the Pirates long term plans.
Then the season began, Marte got suspended for PEDs and, after a bumpy start, McCutchen caught fire. He hit .411/.505/.689 in June he has a .333/.444/.561 line in the month of July. For the year he’s now at .292/.384/.507 with 17 homers and 57 RBI. Even with Marte back on the roster, McCutchen is the Pirates’ center fielder. What’s more, the Pirates, after beginning the season slowly have righted the ship somewhat and are now only three games back in the NL Central.
All of which makes this, from Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, unsurprising:
That option is a quite reasonable $14.5 million, so it seems sorta crazy that they wouldn’t pick it up. Of course if they remain coy enough about it for now perhaps someone will bowl them over with an offer. Letting McCutchen walk seems insane. Unloading him for a hefty haul would, well, still be kinda crazy given how popular McCutchen is with the fan base, but not truly insane.
The Brewers were rumored last week to have been “aggressive” in talks for Tigers reliever Justin Wilson. ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports, however, that the talks are a bit more wide-ranging than that.
Crasnick says that the two clubs are also discussing Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler, potentially in a package deal with Wilson. Crasnick says that the Brewers “would love to have Kinsler,” but their main focus at the moment is pitching help. Of course, the Brewers current second baseman — Jonathan Villar — is hitting a meager .223/.285/.348 in 334 plate appearances.
Kinsler is having a down season for him — .237/.331/.400 — but he’s better than that and, of course, would represent an improvement. He’s under contract through the end of this year but he has a very affordable, $10 million club option for 2018. Wilson will be arbitration-eligible this offseason, so he’s still under team control as well. As such a Kinsler/Wilson package would likely cost the Brewers a high price, so you have to think they’d try to exhaust cheaper options before making such a deal.
The Brewers had been in first place in the NL Central since June 7, but the Cubs caught them yesterday. They’re in a virtual tie, with Chicago percentage points ahead. This should prove to be a very interesting week for the Brewers’ front office.