Detroit Tigers v Baltimore Orioles

Wait, the Tigers complained about an opponent hustling?

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The play that ended the Tigers-Rays game last night was weird.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen a would-be putout at second with two down fail, thus allowing the guy from from third to score. Neat.

But more interesting to me were Joe Maddon’s comments after the game in which he praised Sean Rodriguez — the guy that beat the force at second — for his hustle on the play:

As odd as the ending to Wednesday’s game was, manager Joe Maddon said it couldn’t have been more fitting that Sean Rodriguez’s extreme hustle was the key to the Rays’ win. That’s because Tuesday, Rodriguez was getting yelled at by Detroit starter Brad Penny and possibly some other Tigers for hustling too much running hard on an infield pop out.

“For anybody to bark at another player for … hustling is absolutely insane, ludicrous,’’ Maddon said. “And if Sean had just charged the mound, I’d have been fine with that at that particular moment. I think that’s ridiculous, and then he shows them (Wednesday) what that means to play hard. So any time a guy gets on another guy because he’s going to show him up by playing too hard, I have a hard time with that myself, personally.”

I hadn’t heard anything about Penny barking at Rodriguez over actually running out a pop fly on Tuesday and can’t find any reference to it.  Did that actually happen?  Is Brad Penny so much of a yutz that he’s going to yell at players from the other team for hustling?

Please tell me that this is Joe Maddon being dramatic.  If not, whoa, we’ve taken the unwritten rules to a whole new stupid level.

UPDATE: Yeah, we are at  whole new stupid level. Rays Index has a post on it, complete with video of Penny yelling at Rodriguez for, apparently, running.  Fantastic work there Penny. Idiot of the Year was a pretty wide open race until now, but you have made yourself the front runner in epic fashion.

UPDATE II: Penny says he was yelling at Rodriguez for cussing. I guess, if true, that would take him out of singularly idiotic territory and merely put him down on Chris Carpenter level (“thou shalt not be mad at thineself for failing when facing me”).

Are the Cardinals about to go on a free agent binge?

John Mozeliak AP
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The Cardinals have always emphasized building from within. In the 2016-17 offseason, however, they may end up being one of the bigger free agent buyers. At least according to some informed speculation.

St. Louis is already in agreement with Dexter Fowler. But Derrick Goold and Ben Frederickson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch write today that the Cardinals “could become more aggressive than previously believed,” with Mark Trumbo and Edwin Encarnacion as “possible pursuits.” Worth noting that separate reports alleged some interest on the part of the Cards front office in free agent third baseman Justin Turner.

The Cardinals are already losing their first round pick due to the Fowler signing, so any other top free agent won’t cost them more than the money he’s owed. And as far as money goes, the Cardinals have a great deal of it, despite being a small market team. They have a billion dollar TV deal coming online and Matt Holliday and Jaime Garcia are off the payroll now. Spending big on a free agent or three would not cripple them or anything.

Encarnacion or Trumbo would be first baseman, which wold fly in the face of the Cards’ move of Matt Carpenter to first base (and, at least as far as Encarnacion goes, would fly in the face of good defense). Getting either of them would push Carpenter back to second, displacing Kolten Wong, or over to third, displacing Jhonny Peralta. If you’re going to do that, I’d say that Turner would make more sense, but what do I know?

Either way, the Cardinals may be entering a pretty interesting phase of their offseason now. And an unfamiliar one as, quite possibly, the top free agent buyer on the market.

 

Bobby Valentine on short list to be U.S. Ambassador to Japan

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 12:  Former MLB player Bobby Valentine attends Annual Charity Day hosted by Cantor Fitzgerald, BGC and GFI at BGC Partners, INC on September 12, 2016 in New York City.  (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Cantor Fitzgerald)
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There is literally nothing you could tell me that the incoming administration is considering which would shock me anymore. As such, I saw this story when I woke up this morning, blinked once, took a sip of coffee, closed the browser window and just went on with my morning, as desensitized as a wisdom tooth about to be yanked.

Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports that Former Red Sox, Mets and Rangers manager Bobby Valentine is on a short-list of candidates for the job of United States Ambassador to Japan:

The 66-year-old, who currently serves as Sacred Heart University’s athletics director, has engaged in preliminary discussions with President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team regarding the position.

When contacted Thursday night, Valentine refused comment.

Huh. Given his history, I’d have assumed Valentine would be a better choice for the CIA, but what do I know?

Valentine managed the Chiba Lotte Marines of Japan’s Pacific League for six seasons, leading the team to a championship in 2005. He also knows the current prime minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, as both went to USC. Assuming championship teams meet the country’s leader in Japan like they do in the United States, Valentine has at least twice the amount of experience with top political leaders than does, say, Ned Yost, so that’s something.

The former manager, more importantly, is friends with Donald Trump’s brother, with the two of them going way back. Which, given how this transition is going, seems like a far more important set of qualifications than anything else on this list.