Terry Collins makes the unwritten rules even more complicated than they already were

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Here’s an interesting philosophical question: if you get into one of those unwritten rules, Old School situations in which the other guy’s big star gets drilled and, you can expect, your big guy is going to get hit in retaliation, are you obligated to make your big guy bat and take that lump?

Terry Collins was faced with that situation last night.  After Rickie Weeks hit a home run, Mets pitcher D.J. Carrasco drilled Ryan Braun with the next pitch. It certainly seemed intentional, and given that the ump immediately ejected Carrasco, he thought so too, Carrasco’s “it got away from me” post-game schitck notwithstanding.

But, as the Old School rules dictate, the score is not settled until someone gets hit in retaliation (never mind that either the homer or the ejection could be thought of as balancing out the scales; this is Sparta after all). It seems more likely that if the Brewers’ superstar got drilled, the Mets’ star would be hit in return. And David Wright was due up soon.

Except Collins didn’t let it happen. He pulled Wright for a pinch hitter, and explained his reasoning to the press after the game:

“You want to know why I took him out of the game?” Collins said later, his voice sharp and loud. “He wasn’t getting hurt … I’ve got news for you: In this game there are unwritten rules and one of the unwritten rules is, ‘You hit my guy — I’m hitting your guy.’ They were not hitting my guy tonight.”

Wright was visibly angry in the dugout when Collins yanked him. Collins later said that Wright said “if someone’s going to get hit, it’s going to be me.” Which I suppose is standup leadership of some twisted kind. Indeed, I’m reminded of Major Heyward allowing himself to be burned by the Huron Indians so Hawkeye and his pals can go free in “Last of the Mohicans.” Oh, Major Heyward, your bravery and sacrifice was ever so noble!

Anyway, the question I have is whether, in not allowing the unwritten rules play themselves out, Terry Collins, in fact, broke the unwritten rules. You double-cross once – where’s it all end? An interesting ethical question. Oh, and doesn’t this mean that Wright is now certain to get hit the next time the Mets and Brewers play? Was anything accomplished?

Gosh baseball is complicated.

Seattle Mariners to make a “full-court press” for Shohei Ohtani

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Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto said in a team-sponsored podcast the other day that the M’s will make a “full-court press” for Shohei Ohtani. To that end, Dipoto said that the M’s would be willing to let the two-way star to pitch and to hit, which is something Ohtani is interested in doing in the United States. Not all clubs are likely to let him do this, with most likely seeing him as a starting pitcher only.

Ohtani, who is expected to be posted by his Japanese team, the Nippon Ham Fighters, possibly as early as today, can sign with anyone he wants. He is, however, subject to the international bonus pool caps, so the bids on him will be somewhat limited. The Texas Rangers and New York Yankees have the most money available: $3.535 million for the Rangers and $3.5 million for the Yankees. The Twins ($3.245 million), Pirates ($2.266 million), Marlins ($1.74 million) and Mariners ($1.57 million) are the only other teams with more than $1 million left. Twelve teams — including the Dodgers, Cubs, Cardinals and Astros — are limited to a maximum of $300,000, having met or exceeded their caps for this signing period already.

Ohtani, however, is said to be less motivated by money than he is by finding the right situation. While a lot of guys say that, the fact that Ohtani is coming over to the U.S. now, when his financial prospects are limited, as opposed to waiting for two years when he is not subject to the bonus caps and could sign for nine figures, suggests that he is telling the truth. As such, a team like the Mariners that is willing to allow him to hit and pitch could make up for the couple of million less they have in bonus money to spend.

As for how that might work logistically, Dipoto said that the team would be willing to play DH Nelson Cruz a few days in the outfield to accommodate Ohtani, allowing him to DH on the days he’s not pitching. That might be . . . interesting to see, but given how badly the Mariners could use a good starting pitcher, they have an incentive to be creative.

Ohtani, 23, suffered some injuries in 2017, limiting him to just five starts and 65 games as a hitter. In 2016, however, he hit .289/.356/.547 with 22 homers in 342 at-bats and went 11-3 with a 3.24 ERA, and a K/BB ratio of 146/51 in 133.1 innings as a starter.

Five clubs have more money to spend on Ohtani than the Mariners do. None of those teams are on the west coast, which some Asian players have said in the past they preferred due to faster travel back home. The Mariners, owned for a long time by a Japanese company which still retains a minority interest in the club, and long the home for high-profile Japanese players such as Ichiro and Hisashi Iwakuma, likely have a better media and marketing reach in Japan than most other teams as well, which might be a factor in his decision making process. Is all that enough to sway Ohtani?

We’ll find out over the next couple of weeks.