A commenter said yesterday that Joe Maddon often accuses other teams of throwing at his players but that he has never even once hinted that the Rays do the same. Here he was on a radio show yesterday talking about the Red Sox doing just that — and the Red Sox doing nothing — over the weekend:
I guess Adrian Gonzalez had made a comment about hitting a home run and it just happens that night that Matt Moore hits him with a pitch that’s inside and not at him. All of a sudden there is something made out of that and then Luke Scott is intentionally hit in that game. Again they must have a little program up there that if one of their guys gets hit you are going to hit them back regardless of the situation and that’s what it appeared to be to me. Beyond that listen we do not do that. I’m telling you we don’t do that.
Did you think Bobby Valentine ordered his pitchers to throw at your hitters? It seemed that way:
“It was contrived. There’s no question it was a contrived situation. It was very obvious and again that is what I am talking about. You got to be very careful because when you do that as a manager of a team eventually it can get your own guys hurt and that’s what could happen. I would bet to a man none of the Red Sox players appreciated any of that.”
Flash forward to yesterday’s White Sox-Rays game, it seemed pretty darn obvious that Rays pitcher Alex Cobb intentionally threw at both Gordon Beckham and A.J. Pierzynski. Now, given the events of Tuesday’s game when Pierzynkski went into the bag spikes up, those idiotic unwritten rules of baseball may have demanded that he be hit. But justified or not, the Rays threw at Pierzynski. Worth noting that Maddon denied it, and then accused the White Sox’ Jose Quintana of intentionally throwing at Ben Zobrist and applauding Quintana’s ejection, so he’s pretty consistent.
Of course, after being plunked, A.J. came around to score the White Sox’ third run. While the Rays may have accepted that as baseball justice, I wonder if, to a man (and woman) Rays fans appreciated that stupid plunking nonsense led to a run by the opposition in what turned out to be a one-run game.
It’s all so silly. Throwing at guys is dumb. Accusing the other team of doing it and denying that you do it is fairly insulting. Just play the game and leave the discipline to the league. If that’s too much, at least quit accusing others of things you do yourself. Keep your uber secret code of silent valor silent.
Josh Norris of Baseball America reports that Minor League Baseball has established a political action committee to continue fighting against a lawsuit brought by a group of former minor league players seeking increased wages and back pay.
You may recall that, earlier this year, two members of Congress — Republican Brett Guthrie of Kentucky and Democrat Cheri Bustos of Illinois — introduced H.R. 5580 in the House of Representatives. Also known as the “Save America’s Pastime Act,” H.R. 5580 sought to change language in Section 13 of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. In doing so, minor leaguers wouldn’t have been covered under a law that protects workers who are paid hourly. Minor League Baseball publicly endorsed the bill. Bustos withdrew her support after receiving widespread criticism.
The whole thing started when Sergio Miranda filed a lawsuit in 2014, accusing Major League Baseball teams of colluding to eliminate competition. The lawsuit challenged the reserve clause, which binds minor leaguers into contracts with their teams for seven years. That suit was dismissed in September 2015. However, another lawsuit was filed in October last year — known as Senne vs. the Office of the Commissioner of Baseball — alleging that minor leaguers were victims of violations of state and federal minimum wage laws. Senne et. al. suffered a setback this summer when U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph Spero of the U.S. District Court in San Francisco dismissed class certification. That essentially meant that the players could not file a class-action lawsuit. As a result, the players’ legal team led by Garrett Broshuis amended their case to only include players who play in one league for an entire season. As Norris notes, that means that the included players’ experiences are uniform enough for inclusion in a class-action lawsuit.
So that’s why Minor League Baseball established a political action committee (PAC). A PAC, for the unfamiliar, is an organization created with the intent of raising money to defeat a particular candidate, legislation, or ballot initiative. In other words, they’re getting serious and want Capitol Hill’s help.
Minor League Baseball president Stan Brand said, “Because of procedurally what has happened in the Congress and the difficulties in getting legislation, we’ve got to adjust to that. We were lucky. We had the ability because of the depth of the relationships and involvement in the communities to not have to worry about that. And now we do, I think. The PAC . . . gives us another tool to re-enforce who we are and why we’re important.”
Norris mentions in his column that Phillies minor league outfielder Dylan Cozens received the Joe Baumann Award for leading the minors with 40 home runs. That came with an $8,000 prize. Cozens said that the prize was more than he made all season. The minor league regular season spanned from April 7 to September 5, about six months. Athletes aren’t paid in the other six months which includes offseason training and spring training. They are also not paid for participating in instructional leagues and the Arizona Fall League. Minor leaguers lack union representation, which is why their fight for fair pay has been such an uphill battle.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the White Sox and Nationals are making “strong progress” on a trade involving ace Chris Sale. Most reports coming out on Monday night suggest that a deal isn’t likely to be consummated until Tuesday at the earliest.
Sale, 27, has pitched in the majors over parts of seven seasons. He owns a career 74-50 record with a 3.00 ERA and a 1,244/260 K/BB ratio in 1,110 innings. The lefty will earn $12 million in 2017, then has a club option for 2018 worth $12.5 million with a $1 million buyout as well as a 2019 club option worth $13.5 million with a $1 million buyout. Relative to what he would earn if he were a free agent today, Sale’s remaining salary is a bargain.
The Nationals would likely have to part with several of their top prospects. MLB Pipeline lists pitcher Lucas Giolito, outfielder Victor Robles, and pitcher Reynoldo Lopez in the club’s top-three.
Adding Sale would arguably give the Nationals claim to the best starting rotation in baseball as he would join 2016 NL Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg.
There are other teams in the mix for Sale. The Red Sox and Astros have also talked with the White Sox about the lefty’s services.