After Albert Pujols signed with the Angels, the assumption was that the Cardinals would move Lance Berkman to first base and potentially make a play for free agent outfielder Carlos Beltran. However, in a series of tweets this morning, Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch indicates that any such plan isn’t necessarily set in stone.
We’ve heard some conflicting reports this week about whether the Cubs are actually a legitimate suitor for Fielder. The Blue Jays have been mentioned, but we can probably rule them out if they land Japanese right-hander Yu Darvish. The Mariners and Orioles are also believed to be in the mix, but it’s not known whether either club would be willing to give him the massive long-term contract he desires. Fielder doesn’t turn 28 until May, so it’s not inconceivable that he could take a shorter deal and test free agency again in a couple of years, but it’s also possible that his agent Scott Boras is just trying to get more teams involved in the conversation.
When you promote a player from the minors, the first and foremost consideration is whether or not he can help your ball club. But, assuming that’s taken care of, teams should really, really make it a priority to call up dudes with cool sounding names because it makes life more interesting for the rest of us.
The Pirates are doing that. The other night Dovydas Neverauskas made his big league debut. In addition to being the first Lithuanian born-and-raised player in major league history, it’s a solid, solid name. Now the Pirates are making another promotion: Gift Ngoepe.
Yep, Gift Ngoepe. He’s an infielder from South Africa, making the leap to the bigs due to David Freese‘s hamstring injury. Ngoepe, 27, was batting just .241/.308/.379 through 66 plate appearances this season with Triple-A Indianapolis, his ninth in the minors, so he’s not exactly a prospect. But man, that’s a killer name.
It’s also worth mentioning that Gift and Neverauskas were arrested together in a bar fight last August in Toledo, so there is already a good basis for some bonding here.
Good luck, Gift. Gift Ngoepe. Mr. Ngoepe. G-Ngo. Man, I could do this all day.
The Rays beat the Orioles last night, but the play of the game belonged to an Oriole defender.
Evan Longoria was batting and he chopped a ball foul down the third base line. At least it started out foul. As we all know, however, it doesn’t matter where the ball starts, it matters where it is when it crosses the bag.
Manny Machado knows this and didn’t give up on the ball despite it starting several feet in foul territory. He watched it come back, stayed with it and threw out Longoria who, unlike Machado, did give up on it, assuming he’d merely get a strike and another hack. Watch:
Longoria would get Machado back, however, fielding a ball Machado smoked to third base in the ninth inning, recording the second to last out of the game.