The Hamels stuff has been fun today. The upshot, based on the comments: I’m a big wimp who never played baseball and I hate the Phillies and I should stop whining and Zimmerman did it too. Which is what I expected. I’m a big boy and can handle it. Of course I still haven’t seen any of the many Phillies fans in that thread say that they would take it with serene equanimity if someone intentionally threw at Ryan Howard, but why ask for miracles?
There have been some thought-provoking comments, however, including this one from commenter danandcasey, which gets at the idea that what Hamels was doing in throwing at Harper was upholding an ancient baseball ritual or Old School Code or something:
One thing – neither Drysdale nor Gibson would have mentioned it to the press after the game. If Cole wants to be Old School, he needs to keep his mouth shut.
It’s an interesting point. Not one I have a ton of buy-in to because I don’t think that referencing guys like Drysdale and Gibson throwing at batters is a satisfying defense (yes, they were wrong to do it too). But I obviously don’t hold the majority view there. To the extent there is a deep defense of Hamels here, it’s that he was acting in a grand baseball tradition.
But it is an open question as to whether he was even adhering to that tradition when he yapped about it afterwards. Again, I don’t care one way or the other because it’s the act of throwing at the hitter, not talking about it, that I think is wrong here. But isn’t it the case that, if you’re gonna play Old School you REALLY gotta play old school and play the “musta got away from me” card?
In not doing so, it’s almoslt like Hamels wanted to make damn sure that everyone knew he was acting Old School. Which, when you think about it, really isn’t an Old School kind of thing to do, is it?
MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm reports that the Blue Jays have signed lefty J.A. Happ to a three-year deal worth $36 million.
Happ, 33, had a rebirth as a member of the Pirates last season after starting the season with 20 subpar starts with the Mariners. He made 11 starts for the Buccos, boasting a 1.85 ERA with a 69/13 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings.
Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported this past August that Happ’s newfound success had to do with a delivery tweak suggested by Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage. The Blue Jays are certainly hoping that adjustment is the full explanation for his success.
The Jays’ signing of Happ most likely signifies they won’t be pursuing free agent lefty David Price.
This will be Happ’s second stint with the Blue Jays. The Astros dealt him to Toronto in a July 2012 trade. He posted a 4.39 ERA with a 256/113 K/BB ratio in 291 innings with the Jays, then went to the Mariners in a trade this past December that brought outfielder Michael Saunders to the Jays.
CSN Mid-Atlantic’s Rich Dubroff reports that the Orioles are “searching everywhere” for outfield help. The club recently acquired L.J. Hoes from the Astros in exchange for cash considerations, throwing him into a stable of six outfielders that could potentially crack the Opening Day Roster.
Adam Jones, of course, will open the season in center field. But in the corner outfield and on the bench, Dubroff lists Hoes along with Dariel Alvarez, Junior Lake, David Lough, Nolan Reimold and Henry Urrutia. Both Lough and Reimold are eligible for arbitration — Lough for the first time, and Reimold for his third and final year — so it remains to be seen if the Orioles will retain both of them.
The Orioles could target outfield help in the Rule-5 draft, and they could also target outfielders in free agency. Gerardo Parra, acquired by the O’s in a trade with the Brewers at the trade deadline, remains a possibility but the team is reluctant to offer him more than two years.
MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports that the Indians have signed catcher Anthony Recker to a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training.
Recker, 32, has spent the past three seasons with the Mets, compiling an aggregate .190/.256/.350 batting line with 15 home runs and 51 RBI in 432 plate appearances. He’ll serve as catching depth for the Indians.
Recker was selected by the Athletics in the 18th round of the 2005 draft. They then sent him to the Cubs in exchange for Blake Lalli in an August 2012 trade, and the Mets selected him off waivers from the Cubs in October 2012.
When last we posted about Yasiel Puig it was to pass along a rumor that the best player on his team wants him off of it. If that was true — and if this report is true — then expect that sentiment to remain unchanged:
Obviously this report is vague and there has not been, say, a police report or other details to fill it in. Perhaps we’ll learn more, perhaps Puig was misbehaving perhaps he wasn’t.
As we wait for details, however, it’s probably worth reminding ourselves that Puig is coming off of a lost season in which he couldn’t stay healthy, so trading him for any sort of decent return at the moment isn’t super likely. Which leads us to some often overlooked but undeniable baseball wisdom: you can be a distraction if you’re effective and you can be ineffective if you’re a good guy. You really can’t be an ineffective distraction, however, and expect to hang around very long.