Albert Pujols: Most Valuable Dad

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Look, not much is happening today, so random is fine, right?  Of course it is.

My friend Nick Collias — who is both a Spanish speaker and a writer for MLB Trade Rumors — sent along this feature story about Albert Pujols from Multimedia del Caribe in the Dominican Republic.  It’s in Spanish so it’s not going to be good reading for most of you, but Nick says it’s all about Pujols as father/husband* as opposed to Pujols as baseball-wrecking machine.  Choice quotes:

  • “I scrub, wash, iron, and do everything I can to help my wife. I have to help my wife, and not simply by being in the stadium with the Cardinals. There are people who think you’re just a ballplayer, but that’s not true. I’m a husband and father, and that is a blessing that God has given me, and to which I must dedicate myself.”
  • “It doesn’t bother me to change a diaper. Not at all. Recently I’ve been doing it the old-fashioned way, where instead of throwing the kids’ clothes in the washing machine, I’ve knuckled down and washed them with my hands. That’s how I learned to do it, and that’s how I do it every time I have the chance.”

So Albert Pujols is richer than you, better at his job than you are at yours and works harder at home than you do too.  I feel so great about myself. Don’t you?

*I’m trusting. It could easily be about Pujols being the mastermind behind some stolen auto parts ring and I’d have no real idea given that all of the Spanish I once knew slid out of my head circa 1994. Let’s assume Nick is telling the truth, however.

Bryce Harper to Little League players: “No participation trophies, first place only”

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Nationals’ star outfielder Bryce Harper had some words of advice for a local Little League team on Saturday, telling a crowd of young players and their parents that winning matters far more than any participation trophies they might receive for their efforts on the field.

“As much as they might tell you, ‘Oh, it’s okay, you guys lost…’ No, Johnny, no,” Harper explained. “No participation trophies, okay? First place only. Come on.”

The panic over participation trophy culture has swelled over the last few years as studies continue to suggest that children are happier when they’re praised for their accomplishments, rather than rewarded for simply trying their best. The general idea is that kids aren’t motivated to succeed when they know they’ll receive a ribbon or medal celebrating their efforts at the end of the day — regardless of whether they win or lose. (Granted, it stands to reason that every kid can feel the difference between winning a championship trophy and receiving a participation ribbon.) Some have taken the idea to an extreme, claiming that when a child receives too many accolades for mediocre or poor performances, it can warp the way they view the world by generating a sense of undeserved entitlement.

Harper kept his tone light during the Q&A session, however, drawing cheers and applause from the majority of parents and a few of the kids. The 2015 NL MVP has routinely taken his own advice over the years, earning Rookie of the Year honors, four All-Star nominations and a Silver Slugger award since he broke into the major leagues in 2012. Next on his list? A World Series championship.

Indians to move Danny Salazar to the bullpen

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MLB.com’s William Kosileski reports that Indians starter Danny Salazar is being moved to the bullpen and will be available as soon as Wednesday or Thursday. The Indians will go on a five-game road strip starting on June 2, and manager Terry Francona said that Salazar could get a start during that trip.

Salazar, 27, has struggled to a 5.50 ERA over his first 10 starts this season. While none of those starts were absolute disasters, he failed to finish the sixth inning in seven of those 10 starts. It’s a far cry from his performance over the last two seasons, when he finished with a 3.45 ERA and 3.87 ERA.

Salazar’s walk rate is up to a career-high 11.9 percent, per FanGraphs, and he’s allowing many more line drives at the expense of ground balls. Compared to 2016, his line drive rate is up 8.9 percent and his ground ball rate is down 10.4 percent. All of that could explain Salazar’s struggles to some extent.