Shelby Miller

Cardinals prospect Shelby Miller suspended for violating team policy


One of the game’s top pitching prospects is in some hot water.

According to Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Cardinals have suspended prospect right-hander Shelby Miller for a “violation of team policy.”

Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak wouldn’t go into any specifics other than to say that the incident occurred in the past week. However, Hummel hears from multiple sources that there was some sort of an altercation at a Springfield apartment complex involving alcohol. Sources also tell him that this is the second such incident involving the 20-year-old Miller.

Mozeliak said that he doesn’t expect the suspension to be a long one and Miller will likely make another start before the minor league season comes to a close. Hopefully Miller will not make the same mistake again, but Tony La Russa is probably already dreaming up ways to eventually trade him for three left-handed specialists and a utility infielder.

Miller, a 2009 first-round pick, has a 2.93 ERA and 152/47 K/BB ratio in 122 2/3 innings over 22 starts between High-A Palm Beach and Double-A Springfield this season. Baseball America recently ranked him as the game’s No. 7 prospect on their midseason list.

Nationals fire reigning Manager of the Year Matt Williams

Washington Nationals' manager Matt Williams looks on from the dugout during a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Friday, May 2, 2014, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Laurence Kesterson)
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Matt Williams was voted the National League Manager of the Year on November 11, 2014, receiving 18 of 30 first-place votes from Baseball Writers Association of America members.

Today the Nationals fired him following a season full of disappointment, reports of clubhouse discontent, and Jonathan Papelbon choking Bryce Harper in the dugout.

Williams went 179-145 (.552) in two seasons in Washington, which is an excellent winning percentage, but when you take over a stacked team the expectations are extremely high and there was seemingly nothing anyone could point to about his actual managing that suggested he was doing a good job.

His in-game tactics and particularly his rigid bullpen usage patterns infuriated fans. His dealings with the local media became increasingly antagonistic. And even setting aside two players literally fighting in the dugout there’s ample evidence that Williams lost the clubhouse a long time ago.

Williams was far from the only thing wrong with the Nationals this season and he’s hardly the primary person to blame for their disappointing record, but it’s also hard to make a strong case for his sticking around–meaningless, beat writer-voted award or not–and general manager Mike Rizzo predictably acted quickly to move on.

Now we’ll see who gets to take the next crack at managing the Nationals to play up to expectations.

Dan Haren plans to retire after the playoffs are over

Dan Haren
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Dan Haren, who said two months ago that he was leaning toward retiring after the season, reiterated those plans following the Cubs’ regular season finale Sunday.

At age 34 he started 32 games for the Marlins and Cubs with a 3.60 ERA and 132/38 K/BB ratio in 187 innings, so Haren would have no problem finding work and a solid paycheck for 2016.

However, he’s not expected to part of the Cubs’ playoff roster and told Jesse Rogers of ESPN Chicago:

That was it for me. If I have to pitch in the postseason, I’ll be ready for sure. Happy the way the last few starts have gone. Being able to contribute to this amazing team. I’m just thankful to be a part of it. If I don’t pitch in the postseason, that’s it. It’s been fun. Hopefully there’s a lot more games to go. … If my name is called, I’ll be ready.

Injuries has lessened Haren’s overall effectiveness in recent years, but he’s remained a solid mid-rotation starter and has pitched 13 seasons in the big leagues with a 3.75 ERA in 2,419 innings. He made three All-Star teams and earned more than $80 million.