This morning, in the the Bob Geren-Brian Fuentes Affair post, resident Athletics expert APBA Guy gave us a thumbnail sketch of what we can expect in Oakland for the next few months, from the front office, to the fans to the San Francisco Chronicle and everyone in between.
It’s scary because it sounds so very plausible. It’s also scary because I could totally see the Braves falling for that Coco-Crisp-is-an-idea-leadoff-man pitch. They don’t seem to care about OBP, after all. And hey: if Atlanta gets Crisp, they’ll be tied for the league lead in DUI defendants at two. Which is something.
Anyway, avert your eyes, A’s fans, because this could be your future:
The sense is that Geren has indeed lost the clubhouse, and that rumors of an impending Crisp trade (“He can too bat lead-off. Ignore that he has a .301 OBP, down 30 points from his career .331. You need CoCo Crisp.”) mean that once again, the Wolfe/Fisher/Beane cabal are throwing in the towel in May.
This endless loop horror show has been too much for even the hard core fans. Right now the Chron is just reporting the unrest, but once they turn it will be all over. And as the fans begin to digest that Fuentes is the highest paid pitcher on the payroll, and if Joey Devine can keep his early form up, Fuentes may disappear too, but that money won’t be reinvested this year, you’re going to see more unrest.
Then ultimately will come the announcement: “Regrettably, we have been unable to make the franchise viable in the Oakland market. Therefore, we have no choice but to relocate to _____ where we hope to succeed under our new manager.”
And very few will care.
Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Pirates GM Neal Huntington is looking for outside outfield help in the wake of Starling Marte‘s 80-game suspension for using performance-enhancing drugs. With Marte out of the picture, the club moved Andrew McCutchen back to center field and have played Adam Frazier, John Jaso, and Jose Osuna in right field. But, as Brink points out, Osuna and Jaso — neither an outfielder by trade — misplayed balls over the weekend against the Yankees.
Among available free agents, the pickings are slim. There’s Coco Crisp, Jeff Francoeur, Cole Gillespie, Kelly Johnson, and Nolan Reimold (who is currently in independent baseball). The Pirates may have to find themselves a trade partner. They could also try to talk Angel Pagan back into action, as the veteran outfielder recently said he’s taking the year off. The Pirates could also look at Leonys Martin, who was recently designated for assignment by the Mariners.
On Friday, tension between the Orioles and Red Sox rose when Manny Machado spiked Dustin Pedroia sliding into second base. Although the umpires found no fault with Machado’s slide, third base coach Brian Butterfield was later ejected, still feeling like Machado wronged the Red Sox. Pedroia exited the game and was not in the lineup on Saturday or Sunday. He’ll undergo an MRI for his left knee and ankle in Boston on Monday.
For what it’s worth, Pedroia didn’t seem to feel any bitterness towards Machado for his slide. As MLB.com’s Jeff Seidel reported, Pedroia said, “I don’t even know what the rule is. I’ve turned the best double play in the Major Leagues for 11 years. I don’t need a … rule. The rule’s irrelevant. The rule’s for people with bad footwork.”
Tempers flared between the Red Sox and Orioles again on Sunday. In the bottom of the eighth inning with a runner on first base and one out with the Red Sox leading 6-0, reliever Matt Barnes threw a first-pitch fastball up-and-in to Machado. The ball actually hit Machado’s bat, so it counted as a foul ball. Home plate umpire Andy Fletcher ejected Barnes and the Red Sox brought in Joe Kelly. Machado doubled on the first pitch Kelly threw to put the Orioles on the board, but the Orioles ultimately lost 6-2.
MASN’s broadcast later showed Pedroia talking to Machado, seemingly clarifying that Barnes acted of his own volition without encouragement from Pedroia. “You know that,” Pedroia appeared to say. “It wasn’t me. It’s them.”
Update: Pedroia even apologized to Machado and the Orioles, per Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal.
Commissioner Rob Manfred will likely look into Sunday’s incident. He could fine and/or suspend Barnes.
The Orioles and Red Sox meet again in Boston for a four-game series May 1-4. It will be interesting to see if the tension still remains then.