And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

54 Comments

Diamondbacks 6, Giants 1: Rookie Paul Goldschmidt hit his first major league home run and he did it off Tim frickin’ Lincecum. Justin Upton hit his own two-run shot, the Dbacks have won four in a row and they are now tied for first place with the Giants.  Now how about we divert some of that love we gave the Pirates for being frisky to Arizona? Because 20 years of history aside, they weren’t expected to be any better in 2011 than Pittsburgh was.

Cardinals 8, Brewers 7:  When Yadier Molinas attack. He’s got a suspension coming. Mostly for the bumping. Though note the theatrics of the home plate umpire Rob Drake, wiping his face, making it clear to everyone in the ballpark that a little spittle got on him when Molina started jawing. Like Molina’s rant needed to be up-sold.

Cubs 11, Pirates 6: Homers flyin’ everywhere. Six for the Cubs. Two for Garrett Jones. Seventeen runs and 31 hits between them.

Nationals 9, Braves 3: Rick Ankiel is on fire, hitting his third homer in two days, this one a grand slam. Of course, the Nats beating the Braves is nothing notable. They’ve been doing it pretty darn consistently for a couple of years now. Maddening.

Blue Jays 3, Rays 1: Other than a homer to Desmond Jennings in the sixth, Ricky Romero cruised. And that homer was the first and only hit he gave up in his eight innings. A homer for Jose Bautista as the Jays beat David Price for the first time in nine tires. Toronto is three games over .500 now.

Marlins 4, Mets 3: Two homers for All-Star Omar Infante, but that wasn’t enough to get the job done. The Mets led 3-2 heading into the ninth, but then Jason Isringhausen loaded the bases via a walk, a single and a HBP. Then a Justin Turner throwing error allowed two runs to score and that, as they say, was that. On the bright side: any one player can load the bases and any one player can make a key error, but it really takes teamwork for both of those things to happen for guys to blow a game in that fashion.

Reds 5, Astros 1: Homer Bailey had an impressive outing (8 IP, 5 H, 1 ER), but then again, he’s always been impressive against minor leaguers. Grand slam for Edgar Renteria.

Dodgers 1, Padres 0: Hiroki Kuroda shut out the Friars on four hits over seven. Matt Kemp’s RBI single in the fourth is all that was required.

Mariners 4, Athletics 2: Based on this play alone, the Athletics’ entire infield should be suspended for a week. For those who can’t watch the video, Brendan Ryan reached third on an infield single because no A’s player really felt like covering second or third, even as a token gesture. That’s kid’s T-ball-bad.

Phillies 5, Rockies 0: Two homers for Ryan Howard, eight shutout innings for Kyle Kendrick. Remember back before the season started when I said that this team would be sort of boringly dominant in that, you wouldn’t necessarily pay attention every night, but then you’d look up in August and they’d have a double-digit lead?  Yeah, this is exactly what I was talking about.

Angels 5, Twins 1: No post-no-hitter hangover for Ervin Santana. He pitches a complete game, scattering eight hits and allowing only one run.

Orioles 8, Royals 2: Five RBI for Mark Reynolds, who homered, doubled and singled. Game time temperature: 107 degrees. Mercy.

Yankees 6, White Sox 0: Mark Teixeira sets the record for games in which a guy homers from both sides of the plate. His 12th, passing Eddie Murray and Chili Davis. Phil Hughes pitches six-innings of three-hit shutout ball in a rain-shortened game. Hmm. Does this still mean he’s heading to the bullpen?

Red Sox 3, Indians 2: Jacoby Ellsbury with the walkoff RBI single. With Jarrod Saltalamacchia running as a pinch-runner. Of course.

Tigers 6, Rangers 5: Welcome to the American League, Mike Adams. Where it rains. And where guys hit go-ahead homers against you in the eighth inning from time to time.

Unprecedented sanctions: MLB bans former Braves GM for life, makes 12 signees free agents

Associated Press
20 Comments

Major League Baseball has slammed the hammer down on the Atlanta Braves as the result of their violations of rules on the international free agent market.

Former Braves General Manager John Coppolella has been placed on the permanently ineligible list — the same list Pete Rose is on — banning him from a job in baseball forever. His assistant, Gordon Blakeley, will be suspended for a period of one year. Each had already been dismissed by the Braves. Other Braves’ international baseball operations employees who participated in the misconduct could still be suspended as the league finishes its investigation.

As reported earlier, 12 of the clubs’ international signees are now free agents. The Braves will lose the following players, signed during the 2015-17 international free agent signing periods:

  • Juan Contreras;
  • Yefri del Rosario;
  • Abrahan Gutierrez;
  • Kevin Maitan;
  • Juan Carlos Negret;
  • Yenci Peña;
  • Yunior Severino;
  • Livan Soto;
  • Guillermo Zuniga;
  • Brandol Mezquita;
  • Angel Rojas; and
  • Antonio Sucre

As reported earlier, Maitan was the number one overall international prospect in 2016. The Braves have, for a few years now, had among the top international signee classes. Obviously that came by virtue of cheating the system, and obviously that will lead to a reevaluation of where the clubs’ minor league system stands, talent-wise.

The penalties are not limited to the loss of those players. Commissioner Manfred is imposing what amounts to punitive damages going forward. From Commissioner Manfred’s statement:

“While the remedies discussed above will deprive the Braves of the benefits of their circumvention, I believe that additional sanctions are warranted to penalize the Club for the violations committed by its employees. Accordingly, the Braves will be prohibited from signing any international player for more than $10,000 during the 2019-20 signing period, which is the first signing period in which the Braves are not subject to any signing restrictions under our rules; and the Braves’ international signing bonus pool for the 2020-21 signing period will be reduced by 50 percent.”

There was also what appears to be an unrelated draft violation, imposing penalties along those lines as well:

“The investigation also determined that the Braves offered impermissible benefits, which were never provided, to a player they selected in the First-Year Player Draft in an attempt to convince him to sign for a lower bonus. As a penalty for the Club’s attempted circumvention involving a draft selection, the Braves will forfeit their third-round selection in the 2018 First-Year Player Draft.

The gist of the violations against the Braves involves the bundling of signing bonuses, in which the Braves got players — through their representatives in Latin America — to take lower than the amount typically allotted in one year in order to use the money to sign other, highly rated players in subsequent years, with money they wouldn’t have otherwise had. MLB’s statement describes the scheme thusly:

“The investigation established that the Braves circumvented international signing rules from 2015 through 2017. During the 2015-16 international signing period, the Braves signed five players subject to the Club’s signing bonus pool to contracts containing signing bonuses lower than the bonuses the Club had agreed to provide the players. The Club provided the additional bonus money to those players by inflating the signing bonus to another player who was exempt from their signing pool because he qualified as a ‘foreign professional’ under MLB rules.

“Consistent with the rules, the Braves could have signed all of the 2015-16 players for the full, actual signing bonus amounts. Had the Club signed the five players to contracts containing their actual bonuses, however, the Braves would have exceeded their signing bonus pool by more than five percent and would have been, under MLB rules, restricted from signing any players during the next two signing periods for contracts with bonuses greater than $300,000.

“As a result of the 2015-16 circumvention, the Braves were able to sign nine high-value players during the 2016-17 signing period who would have been unavailable to them had the Club accurately accounted for its signings during the 2015-16 signing period.”

The scheme continued like this:

“The investigation also determined that the Braves: (i) agreed to sign six players to inflated signing bonuses pursuant to an agreement with prospect Robert Puason’s agent in exchange for a commitment that Puason would sign with the Club in the 2019-20 signing period; and (ii) offered prospect Ji-Hwan Bae extra-contractual compensation. In order to remedy these violations, I am prohibiting the Club from signing Robert Puason when he becomes eligible to sign, and disapproving the contract between Bae and the Braves, which has not yet become effective.”

This is, by far, the most serious set of scouting, drafting and signing penalties ever imposed by Major League Baseball. It speaks to the sheer audacity of the Braves’ scheme to circumvent signing rules. It also sends a loud and clear signal to other teams — many which have been rumored to have engaged in similar conduct on a smaller scale — that MLB will not tolerate it.

The Braves lower minor league system has been decimated. It stands, essentially, as the head on the pike outside of Major League Baseball’s castle.