T.J. Simers’ annual cheap shot column

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It was a year ago tomorrow that L.A. Times’ columnist T.J. Simers filed what was one of the worst, low-rent columns I’ve seen in a while. Ripping Marcus Thames for being exactly what he is: a platoon/bench outfielder who is not an All-Star.

It wasn’t some meta thing. He wasn’t making a larger point. He simply confronted Thames in the clubhouse and asked him where he got off not being Ryan Braun. Oh, and when Thames refused to take his bait and snap back at him, Simers ripped him for “being unable to talk about his shortcomings.”  It was quite impressive, I tell you.

Well, apparently this is an annual thing for Simers, as today he has another installment of  his “I show up, rip everyone in sight in the laziest way possible, put people on the spot with my hostile questions and offer no baseball insight whatsoever” column.

He’d like to tell you that the Dodgers are terrible. He provides no context for this. No discussion of where the Dodgers stand on the success cycle, what their actual strengths and weaknesses are or anything like that. He just says they suck and that Tommy Lasorda could do better. Oh, I take it back, he did offer one bit of “analysis”: Jamey Carroll was the team’s MVP in 2010, so why isn’t he back?

He then goes on to rip his own L.A. Times colleagues — by name — for, you know, reporting on the Dodgers. Because that’s not worth anyone’s time, see, so aren’t they a bunch of idiots. I’ll agree with the broader point: the Times is wasting their time and money on one of their writers. But here’s a hint: It’s not Dylan Hernandez, Kevin Baxter or Bill Shaikin.

Anyway, just one to bookmark the next time someone goes after the bloggers for wasting any access given them, needlessly ripping people, having no understanding of the game and lowering the level of the discourse.

The St. Louis Cardinals announce their first Pride Night

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The St. Louis Cardinals announced today that they will hold their first Pride Night on August 25th.

A lot of teams have Pride Nights, but it’s worth noting that the Cardinals are holding one given some bad press — some fair, some unfair — they have received in recent years when it comes to matters of diversity and inclusion.

Earlier this month the club received criticism from the LGBT community due to Lance Berkman’s presence for the team’s annual Christian Day, given his past comments about transgender people and his participation in a Houston political campaign over access to public restrooms. Recently, a former Cardinals minor league player claimed he left baseball after enduring anti-gay comments from his coaches and teammates.

As club president Bill DeWitt III noted in the official announcement however, the Cardinals have hosted LGBT groups in the past. He says that the club is eager to “remind fans that everyone is welcome at Busch Stadium.” He notes that the event will raise money for the PrideSTL Scholarship Fund which, in DeWitt’s words, “help courageous students in our community.”

Nice move, Cardinals.

Johnny Cueto expected to opt-out of his deal after the season

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Johnny Cueto signed a six-year $130 million deal with the Giants prior to the 2016 season. In his first season he went 18-5 with a 2.79 ERA and 198 strikeouts in 219.2 innings, helping lead the Giants to the playoffs. This season has been rocky for Cueto — he’s got a a 4.42 ERA in 15 starts and has battled blisters — but they’ve been far rockier for the Giants overall, as they sit in last place in the NL West and have the second worst record in baseball.

Many suspect that the Giants will either rebuild or, at the very least, restructure some in response to this nightmare year. If so, they’re likely going to be doing it with Cueto, who Jon Heyman reports is going to opt-out of his deal:

San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Johnny Cueto is planning to opt out of his contract at the end of the year, but he would listen to any extension offer . . . Cueto has $84 million to go over four years. It would probably take an injury or major slump for Cueto not to opt out. But it makes sense that he will.

Heyman says the Giants are not inclined to give him an extension, so expect to see Cueto on the free agent market three days after the World Series ends, which is the deadline for him to exercise his opt-out rights.