Jim Tracy didn’t mince words about the Ubaldo Jimenez-Troy Tulowitzki thing from yesterday:
“It’s the most gutless act I have seen in 35 years of professional baseball. I have lost all respect for him. To do something like that and walk down off the mound, and if there’s any suggestion whatsoever that the ball got away, I don’t want to hear any of that (expletive). He intentionally threw at him. He should be suspended. I am going to be very disappointed if he doesn’t get suspended. He deserves to be”
I don’t know about “gutless” — a lot of behavior people call cowardly actually takes a lot of dumbass and misguided bravado of a sort — but this is low rent. But it’s not unprecedented or anything. Guys settle scores like this — including ones based on pissy little media wars — all the time. I think the gold standard for this may be Jose Mesa drilling Omar Vizquel every single time he faced him for years following Vizquel slamming Mesa for blowing the 1997 World Series in his autobiography.
Anyway, even if I disapprove of Jimenez’s stunt — throwing at guys intentionally is the worst — I think the most gutless part of it was the standard “the ball got away from me” stuff after the game. They all say that because it helps form the basis of their appeal after they get disciplined, but gosh, at least give a no comment here. Everyone knows what was going on.
Remember Manny Banuelos? He was once a top pitching prospect for the Yankees and then, apparently disappeared from the face of the earth. Or at least it felt like it. Now he’s in the news, however, as the Dodgers have signed him to a minor league contract.
OK, Banuelos didn’t disappear. He was traded to the Braves in 2015, had a cup of coffee with them, pitching pretty ineffectively in seven big league games, was released by Atlanta in the middle of 2016 and then latched on with the Angels. This past season he posted a 4.93 ERA over 95 innings while being used mostly as a reliever at Triple-A Salt Lake.
Banuelos pitched in the Future’s Game in 2009 and was a star in the Arizona Fall League in 2010. He was a top-50 prospect heading into 2011 before falling to Tommy John surgery in 2012. With Atlanta he suffered some bone spur problems and then some elbow issues that never resulted in surgery but which never subsided enough for him to fulfill his potential either. He suffered injuries. A lot of pitchers do.
It’s unrealistic to think that Banuelos will fulfill the promise he had six years ago, but he’s worth a minor league deal to see if the 26-year-old can at least be a serviceable reliever.