UPDATE: It’s not often that Ken Rosenthal misfires — he is, in my view, the best at this rumor business — but he misfired here. Almost immediately after his report that the Padres had traded Heath Bell to the Rangers, multiple reports came in that it was not Bell, but rather, Mike Adams who is going to Texas. And the word is now that it is official.
In return the Padres will get prospects Joe Wieland and Robert Erlin. Not a small price, as both of them are great looking prospects. Wieland threw a no-hitter the other day for Double-A Frisco and is 10-3 with a 1.80 ERA and a 132/15 K/BB ratio in 129.2 innings across Single-A and Double-A ball this year. Erlin has a slightly higher ERA but a similar BB/K ratio as Wieland across the same two divisions.
A tall price to pay for a setup guy, but clearly the Rangers are thinking “win now.”
We don’t have details yet, but Ken Rosenthal just tweeted that the Texas Rangers have traded for Padres’ closer Heath Bell. Moments before that tweet, it was reported that Bell was called into Bud Black’s office in San Diego.
The Rangers have been talking to the Padres about Bell for some time, but many figured that the interest had died out once they acquired Koji Uehara yesterday. Now they have three relievers in Bell, Uehara and, oh yeah, Neftali Feliz who could close ballgames if need be and, in any event, can shut down hitters in the late innings.
The Rangers have slowly started to pull away in the AL West these past few weeks. Now it looks like they’re making moves to to mount a formidable run in the playoffs.
Frisco RoughRiders manager Joe Mikulik got his money’s worth last night. He was ejected after arguing an automatic double play on an enforcement of the slide rule, and he didn’t go gently into that goodnight.
Rather, he threw things, kicked things, threw things and then subsequently kicked those same things, gave overly-demonstrative slides and safe signs and basically went all Earl Weaver/Lou Piniella on everyone.
Double-A baseball is the best minor league because you tend to see more prospects there than you do at Triple-A. But it’s also the best because, when you’re a manager who is not quite a heartbeat away from getting your shot at the big leagues, you’re a little less uptight about things. Or at least Mikulik was. Or maybe he was more uptight. I don’t know. He just went with it, and going with it has its charms.
It’s hard to believe that it’s been 18 years since Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa captivated the nation with their epic chase of Roger Maris’ home run record. But it has been, and after years of reaction, counter-reaction and, of course, baseball’s reckoning with the performance-enhancing drugs which helped fuel the chase, it’s probably finally time to do our best to contextualize it historically.
Today one of my favorite news outlets does that with an oral history. All of the key figures weigh-in on it, from McGwire and Sosa to Bud Selig to Tony La Russa. Randy Johnson makes an appearance as well, reminding us that it wasn’t just the sluggers who had an amazing year in 1998. Indeed, his story, including his being traded to Houston and going on an amazing second-half run, has almost been lost to history.
This is bookmark material, my friends. For savoring later if you can’t read it now. And for revisiting at another time given the depths to the drama which justifies multiple readings. I’ll just warn you that there is some adult language in the story, but that’s to be expected given the passion the 1998 baseball season inspired.
UPDATE: Cabrera was removed from the game due to back spasms.
1:21PM: This is not good: Asdrubal Cabrera was removed from today’s game against the Nationals with an apparent injury.
It’s unclear what the injury was, as Cabrera had yet to even play in the game. Matt Reynolds came on to play shortstop in the bottom of the first inning, but Cabrera didn’t bat in the top of the first. It could be an illness. Or some freak occurrence.
We’ll update when we hear more.
There are apparently unwritten rules about manager replay challenges now
Last night’s Cardinals-Cubs game was a blowout, with the Cubs beating the Cards 12-3. Apparently, however, in the ninth inning of the game, Reynoldsburg, Ohio’s own Mike Matheny played the Cardinals infield in, which is a move you never see in a blowout. Why did he do that?
He hasn’t said yet, but Cubs manager Joe Maddon just spoke to the media before today’s game and he’s speculating that Matheny did it as a form of protest:
Maddon assumed the Cards played the infield in, in the 9th last night basically in response to him challenging play at first in blow out
God, I hope that’s true. I hope that manager replay challenges, which are already dumb enough inasmuch as they turn what should be an officiating correction device into a strategic tool, are now turning into another front in the Great Unwritten Rules Wars. I hope that we now have a bunch of people talking about how there’s a right way and a wrong way to use the replay system and that one can disrespect the other side if they do it the wrong way. The way the replay system has been implemented often resembles tragedy. Why not make it farce?
Oh well, I guess it beats throwing at someone for doing that wrong. And I guess it’s just a reminder that no matter what we do, baseball is always gonna give us an opportunity for petty bits of silliness.