Before hiring an 80-year-old as their new manager the Marlins made a different surprising move last week by demoting former Rookie of the Year and Opening Day center fielder Chris Coghlan to Triple-A, but the transaction has been voided because Coghlan informed the team of a knee injury and has instead been placed on the disabled list.
That may not seem like a big distinction, particularly since Coghlan will surely head out on a minor-league rehab assignment once healthy, but in the meantime he’ll collect an MLB salary and accrue MLB service time. In other words, it’s a big difference for his wallet and for the timing of his arbitration eligibility and (eventually) free agency.
Coghlan hit just .230 with five homers and a .668 OPS in 65 games, but based on their respective track records replacements Emilio Bonifacio and DeWayne Wise don’t figure to be any better offensively. Wise has drawn all three starts since Coghlan lost the job, but he’s a 33-year-old journeyman with a .222 batting average and .640 OPS in 379 games.
Sam Miller of ESPN has an amazingly fantastic story today. It’s about a high school tournament baseball game in Rhode Island in 2006. It’s not your typical game story or oral history or look-to-the-past-to-see-the-future kind of thing. The only nod to such conventionality is mention of the fact that former Red Sox prospect Ryan Westmoreland played in the game. That’s mostly a footnote.
No, the article is about a trick play — “skunk in the outfield” — concocted by one of the coaches. About how it played out and what went into it before, during and after it happened. Along the way Miller talks about the nature of trick plays and offers a good three dozen amazing insights into the psychology of young baseball players and the strategy of baseball as it unfolds in real time.
Each of these observations could anchor its own story but here they form a grand mosaic. And that’s only mild hyperbole, if in fact it’s hyperbole at all. Indeed, most treatments of such a play would be some video clip with a “wow, look what happened here!” sort of couching. Miller gives a more than ten-year-old trick play an epic treatment that is every bit as enlightening as it is entertaining.
Set some time aside to read this today.
This is unfortunate: Diamondbacks reliever Rubby De La Rosa will undergo Tommy John surgery. This will be the second Tommy John procedure of his career, the first coming back in 2011.
De La Rosa has had elbow issues for his entire career. Last year his UCL was barking again and he underwent stem cell therapy to try to avoid a second surgery, but it obviously hasn’t worked out. He’s pitched in only nine games this year, allowing four earned runs in seven and two-thirds innings, striking out 12.
I first saw De La Rosa in spring training in 2011. I thought his stuff was pretty phenomenal and figured he’d be a good one. Great stuff is often a function of heavy strain on an elbow, however, and pitchers breaking is, unfortunately, the rule in baseball far more than the exception.
He’ll miss a year at least. We likely won’t see him until spring of 2019, most likely on a minor league deal.