– I was stunned that the Yankees didn’t make so much as a minor deal, but they definitely stand out as obvious candidates to be busy in August. Just how busy could hinge on Rafael Soriano’s performance. Still, whether it’s Wandy Rodriguez — who could clear waivers and again become a possibility to be dealt as soon as Wednesday — or bench help, the Yankees’ ability to take on contracts should make deals relatively easy.
– Incredibly, not one reliever set to become a free agent at season’s end was moved this weekend. Two of the game’s best setup men were dealt in Mike Adams and Koji Uehara, and the returns were strong largely because they were under control for 2012. However, no closers were shipped off and there weren’t many trades involving lesser setup men. I thought it was a lock that the Padres would move Chad Qualls, and it figured that the A’s would subtract at least one or two from the group of Michael Wuertz, Brian Fuentes, Craig Breslow and Grant Balfour. Colorado’s Rafael Betancourt, Washington’s Todd Coffey and the Mets’ Tim Byrdak also looked like candidates to go.
– I’m not ready to make a call on the winners and losers, other than to say that some of the teams that decided to stand pat look like the real losers here. The Marlins should have moved Leo Nunez and Omar Infante, and the Cubs were crazy to tell teams they were closing up shop. I can’t believe that the A’s, with all of their free-agent-to-be hitters and expensive relievers, only ended up moving Brad Ziegler.
– I don’t see Erik Bedard as any sort of consolation prize for the Red Sox. Maybe they wouldn’t have traded for him if the Rich Harden deal hadn’t fallen though, but one never knows with the Red Sox; it is possible Theo Epstein wanted both as insurance policies. Regardless, Epstein did give up more for Bedard than he was going to for Harden and the fact that it was a three-team, seven-player deal suggests that this wasn’t something that simply came together at the last minute.
– The Nationals will carry their hunt for a long-term center fielder into the winter after declining to give up more than closer Drew Storen in return for Denard Span. Neither Nationals nor Twins fans seemed enthused by that trade anyway. B.J. Upton still might be the answer for Washington. The Nationals couldn’t come up with the pieces to get him now, but he should be cheaper in the offseason, particularly since he’ll have just one arbitration-eligible season left before free agency. Besides, Desmond Jennings is well on his way to making it obvious that he can be the Rays’ long-term center fielder.
The Dodgers have been mulling this for a long time, but they just announced that they plan on calling up top prospect Julio Urias. He’ll be making his major league debut against the Mets tomorrow evening in New York.
Urias is just 19 years-old, but he’s shown that he’s ready for the bigs. In eight Triple-A games this year — seven starts — he’s 4-1 with a 1.10 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 44/8 in 41 innings. He has tossed 27-straight scoreless innings to boot. While the Dodgers and Urias’ agent are understandably wary of giving the young man too much work too soon, he has nothing left to prove at Oklahoma City.
Urias turns 20 in August. Tomorrow night he will become the first teenager to debut in the majors since 2012 when Dylan Bundy, Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, and Jurickson Profar each made their debuts.
Richard Dietsch of Sports Illustrated reports that Fox officials asked Vin Scully if he wanted to work the All-Star Game, be it calling the full game, doing an inning, making a guest appearance or whatever. Scully, though appreciative, said no thanks.
We’ve been over this, but for however much it might make people happy for Scully to make this kind of national appearance, there’s nothing in his history or in his apparent nature that would make such a thing appeal to Scully. For as much as an institution he has become, he still thinks of himself as an employee who calls Dodgers games, goes home and that is that. He has shown considerable discomfort, however politely he has communicated it, at being treated as something different or more special than that. And that’s before you remember that (a) it would be a totally different setup for him which would require a lot of extra work; and (b) the All-Star Break is a time when most baseball people take a couple of days off.
As I said the last time we discussed this, if baseball at large wants to give Scully some sort of national sendoff, the best bet would be for the powers that be to figure out how to get the final Dodgers games of the season nationally televised without blackout restrictions. That way we can all watch him doing his thing, in his element, for a final time without it being gimmicky.
We wrote recently that the hoodie Brad Ausmus was wearing during his May 16th ejection from a Tigers game was up for auction. Ausmus removed the hoodie during his little rant and draped it over home plate, fomenting both an ejection and a suspension. For what it’s worth, the Tigers are 6-2 since the incident, so go Ausmus Rage.
Anyway, the auction for the hoodie has closed and a winning bid declared. The bid: $5,010. The proceeds will go to the Tiny Tigers t-ball program funded by the Detroit Tigers Foundation and the Detroit Police Athletic League.
Who says rage is a negative emotion?
The day after Matt Harvey left the clubhouse without talking to the media following yet another bad start, Mets captain David Wright spoke to the press about the whole affair.
Despite column, after column, after column after column in which Harvey was portrayed as a prima donna, was called names and otherwise had his character impugned for not talking to the press, Wright, amazingly, found a different tone to strike. Specifically, he managed to note that (a) it would have been better form and would have shown some accountability for Harvey to talk to the media; while (b) simultaneously acknowledging that Harvey is going through a bad time like most players go through and that it’s understandable that he’d make a mistake in this regard. Which Wright calls a “lapse” which he doesn’t think will happen again and about which Wright will likely talk to Harvey.
Most amazingly, Wright does all of this without calling Harvey names, saying he’s a phony or bringing up minor incidents from years ago in an effort to disingenuously cast Harvey not talking to the media as just the latest in a series of serious and escalating transgressions and/or failures of moral and ethical worth. How he did that I have no idea. Unlike the learned members of the sporting press, Wright didn’t even go to college. Maybe he’s mistaken to think this situation is somewhat complicated and emotional rather than one of stark right and wrong? Clearly, Wright must be mistaken. Life really is that simple, after all.
Or maybe Wright was simply able to appreciate that another person’s struggles are not about him. And that the healthy first impulse when someone who is struggling makes a mistake is to have at least a modicum of empathy and understanding rather than enter into a competition with one’s colleagues to see who can roast that struggling person the hardest.
But again, maybe that’s just crazy talk from a person who didn’t go to journalism school.