I wish I had taken a screen cap of it last night, but believe me, the first version of the AP game story from the Red Sox-Royals game called Billy Butler “the Royals’ portly designated hitter.” Sometime overnight it was amended:
The lumbering designated hitter’s three-run shot in the eighth inning Tuesday night boosted the Kansas City Royals a 6-4 victory over the Red Sox …
Not sure how I feel about that. “Portly” isn’t the kindest thing to call a guy, but there is a weird dignity to it. Winston Churchill was portly, after all. He owned that look. The young Orson Welles had a bit of portly heft to him but looked like a million bucks. A portly man, properly attired, can be quite a nice package of goods assuming he is likewise charming, confident, funny and kind of spirit.
But “lumbering?” Ah. Denotes more than a physical shortcoming, suggesting a laziness in one’s character. A lumbering man all but requires a tuba soundtrack as he attempts to run. A portly man can still be sneaky-fast.
I think I’d rather be called portly, if I had to choose, not lumbering. I’m not sure I’m in the majority here. I think more people would pick “lumbering” due to the suggestion of movement. But I gotta go with my, well, gut here.
ESPN’s Keith Law reported on Saturday evening that a bad contract swap involving the Braves’ Hector Olivera and the Padres’ Matt Kemp was “getting close.” Olivera has been pulled off the field, per Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that only a last-second medical would kill the deal at this point, and that the Padres will be sending money to the Braves.
Kemp, 31, will have $64.5 million remaining on his contract through 2019 after this season, but the Dodgers will pay $3.5 million annually over those remaining three years, so the $64.5 million is really $54 million. The veteran has compiled a .262/.285/.489 triple-slash line with 23 home runs and 69 RBI in 431 plate appearances for the Padres this season.
Olivera, 31, will have $28.5 million remaining on his contract through 2010 after this season. The outfielder was handed an 82-game suspension, beginning on May 26, for his involvement in a domestic dispute on April 13. He has a .501 OPS in 21 major league at-bats this season and a .278 OPS in 37 PA at Triple-A.
Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the Padres will consider designating Olivera for assignment. The trade is all about the salary dump for the Padres, as they’d rather give outfield playing time to prospects Hunter Renfroe and Manuel Margot.
The Athletics and Royals swapped outfielders on Saturday. The Athletics sent Billy Burns to Kansas City and the Royals sent Brett Eibner to Oakland.
Burns, 26, doesn’t provide much in the way of offense, but he runs the bases well and plays solid defense. He was hitting .234/.270/.303 with 11 doubles, four triples, and 14 stolen bases in 274 plate appearances.
Eibner, 27, was batting .231/.286/.423 with three home runs and 10 RBI in 85 plate appearances. He has spent most of the season with Triple-A Omaha, where he’s put up a .902 OPS in 219 PA. Eibner played the outfield corners in the majors, but racked up a ton of time playing center in the minors, so his versatility will be valuable to the A’s.
Burns will become eligible for arbitration for the first time after the 2017 season while Eibner has hardly accrued any service time, which might explain part of the motivation behind the trade for the small-market Athletics.