And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

37 Comments

Nationals 7, Mets 6: The legend of Bryce Harper grows. A game-winning hit in the 12th inning. What say you, Harper?

“I’m happy to get the W, of course. I’m happy to get that walk-off hit, but I don’t like going 2 for 7,” Harper said. “I don’t like striking out twice in one game, either.”

Bryce … we talked about the me-first stuff …

“To get that moment at the end, that wipes everything away,” Harper said.

OK, good. Just checking, because everyone’s watching, kid.

Braves 11, Marlins 0: Tim Hudson with a five-hit shutout and Dan Uggla hit two homers and drove in five against his old team. Rookie Andrelton Simmons had three hits including a triple and drove in three. That’s coming up big. Of course everything about him’s big. Kid, do us all a favor and buy yourself a jock, OK? You’re gonna hurt someone out there.

Dodgers 2, Phillies 1: Cliff Lee: 12 strikeouts and two runs in 7 2/3 innings but he still took the loss. That’s nine starts and no wins despite a 2.92 ERA. Chad Billingsley tied up the Philly bats, allowing six singles, a double and only one run in seven innings.

Angels 6, Mariners 1: Mark Trumbo smacked two homers, doubled, singled and drove in four. His line on the year is .337/.384/.634.

Cubs 10, Brewers 0: Ryan Dempster gets out of the Cliff Lee club, finally gets some run support and a win. He was perfect through five innings, but the aw shucks Dempster wasn’t about to say anything about it:

“Yeah, I was thinking about a perfect game for sure,” Dempster said. “I’m not an idiot. I know that I hadn’t had anybody on base. But it’s the second-best thing: a win right here.”

Dude, talk to Bryce Harper’s media relations team, OK?

Diamondbacks 10, Rockies 0: Ian Kennedy struck out 12 in six innings. Afterwards he said a mechanical tweak was responsible. What tweak?  “It’s a secret,” Kennedy said. Fine, be that way. Jason Kubel drove in five.

Indians 4, Tigers 2: Ubaldo Jimenez has been a hot mess this year, walking the whole league, but the Tigers made him look like it was 2010 all over again. Asdrubal Cabrera, Lou Marson and Michael Brantley each hit RBI triples. I love triples. They’re so much damn fun.

Yankees 7, Rays 0: Andy Pettitte struck out ten while shutting out the Rays for seven. Russell Martin went 3 for 4 and hit a grand slam. New York has won 9 of 12.

Pirates 8, Reds 4: Clint Barmes had three hits and drove in three runs. The Pirates have hit seven homes in their last two games. Is what has been the worst offense in the NL starting to wake up?

Orioles 8, Red Sox 6:  Jim Johnson blew a two-run lead in the bottom of the ninth inning but held on to vulture a win. Wasn’t a pure vulture-job in that he came back and shut the Sox down in the tenth. And given how good he’s been — he had saved 25 straight coming in — he’s entitled to one of those every now and again. Baltimore is 4-0 in Fenway this year.

Blue Jays 9, White Sox 5: Colby Rasmus went 5 for 5 with a double, homer and 3 RBI. Brett Lawrie lead off and went 3 for 5 and scored three times. Interesting. Phil Humber continues his quest to cement himself as the most fluky perfect game pitcher ever, as he allows five runs in five innings and runs his ERA up to 5.68.  Seriously: how many guys have thrown perfectos and lost their rotation job in the same season?

Astros 9, Cardinals 8: Houston led 6-1 after two innings, saw the lead shrink, built it back up again and managed to hold on as St. Louis put up four in the ninth. Jose Altuve responded to your collective snubbing of him in the All-Star voting by going 4 for 5 and scoring 3 runs. Jaime Garcia looks totally off, and is clearly not better after missing a start due to a sore elbow.

Royals 1, Twins 0: Bruce Chen shut ’em out for seven and the pen took over.

Rangers 6, Athletics 3: Texas survives Oakland’s offensive outburst. Well, an outburst for them. Derek Holland struck out two, walked two and allowed three runs on seven hits, so it’s likely that he avoided a spanking.

Padres 6, Giants 5:  Logan Forsythe’s first ever home run was a walkoff job:

“I was just trying to get on base for the guys. Luckily, it got out,” he said.

Kids these days with their selfish attitude.

Unprecedented sanctions: MLB bans former Braves GM for life, makes 12 signees free agents

Associated Press
3 Comments

Major League Baseball has slammed the hammer down on the Atlanta Braves as the result of their violations of rules on the international free agent market.

Former Braves General Manager John Coppolella has been placed on the permanently ineligible list — the same list Pete Rose is on — banning him from a job in baseball forever. His assistant, Gordon Blakeley, will be suspended for a period of one year. Each had already been dismissed by the Braves. Other Braves’ international baseball operations employees who participated in the misconduct could still be suspended as the league finishes its investigation.

As reported earlier, 12 of the clubs’ international signees are now free agents. The Braves will lose the following players, signed during the 2015-17 international free agent signing periods:

  • Juan Contreras;
  • Yefri del Rosario;
  • Abrahan Gutierrez;
  • Kevin Maitan;
  • Juan Carlos Negret;
  • Yenci Peña;
  • Yunior Severino;
  • Livan Soto;
  • Guillermo Zuniga;
  • Brandol Mezquita;
  • Angel Rojas; and
  • Antonio Sucre

As reported earlier, Maitan was the number one overall international prospect in 2016. The Braves have, for a few years now, had among the top international signee classes. Obviously that came by virtue of cheating the system, and obviously that will lead to a reevaluation of where the clubs’ minor league system stands, talent-wise.

The penalties are not limited to the loss of those players. Commissioner Manfred is imposing what amounts to punitive damages going forward. From Commissioner Manfred’s statement:

“While the remedies discussed above will deprive the Braves of the benefits of their circumvention, I believe that additional sanctions are warranted to penalize the Club for the violations committed by its employees. Accordingly, the Braves will be prohibited from signing any international player for more than $10,000 during the 2019-20 signing period, which is the first signing period in which the Braves are not subject to any signing restrictions under our rules; and the Braves’ international signing bonus pool for the 2020-21 signing period will be reduced by 50 percent.”

There was also what appears to be an unrelated draft violation, imposing penalties along those lines as well:

“The investigation also determined that the Braves offered impermissible benefits, which were never provided, to a player they selected in the First-Year Player Draft in an attempt to convince him to sign for a lower bonus. As a penalty for the Club’s attempted circumvention involving a draft selection, the Braves will forfeit their third-round selection in the 2018 First-Year Player Draft.

The gist of the violations against the Braves involves the bundling of signing bonuses, in which the Braves got players — through their representatives in Latin America — to take lower than the amount typically allotted in one year in order to use the money to sign other, highly rated players in subsequent years, with money they wouldn’t have otherwise had. MLB’s statement describes the scheme thusly:

“The investigation established that the Braves circumvented international signing rules from 2015 through 2017. During the 2015-16 international signing period, the Braves signed five players subject to the Club’s signing bonus pool to contracts containing signing bonuses lower than the bonuses the Club had agreed to provide the players. The Club provided the additional bonus money to those players by inflating the signing bonus to another player who was exempt from their signing pool because he qualified as a ‘foreign professional’ under MLB rules.

“Consistent with the rules, the Braves could have signed all of the 2015-16 players for the full, actual signing bonus amounts. Had the Club signed the five players to contracts containing their actual bonuses, however, the Braves would have exceeded their signing bonus pool by more than five percent and would have been, under MLB rules, restricted from signing any players during the next two signing periods for contracts with bonuses greater than $300,000.

“As a result of the 2015-16 circumvention, the Braves were able to sign nine high-value players during the 2016-17 signing period who would have been unavailable to them had the Club accurately accounted for its signings during the 2015-16 signing period.”

The scheme continued like this:

“The investigation also determined that the Braves: (i) agreed to sign six players to inflated signing bonuses pursuant to an agreement with prospect Robert Puason’s agent in exchange for a commitment that Puason would sign with the Club in the 2019-20 signing period; and (ii) offered prospect Ji-Hwan Bae extra-contractual compensation. In order to remedy these violations, I am prohibiting the Club from signing Robert Puason when he becomes eligible to sign, and disapproving the contract between Bae and the Braves, which has not yet become effective.”

This is, by far, the most serious set of scouting, drafting and signing penalties ever imposed by Major League Baseball. It speaks to the sheer audacity of the Braves’ scheme to circumvent signing rules. It also sends a loud and clear signal to other teams — many who have been rumored to have engaged in similar conduct on a smaller scale — that MLB will not tolerate it.

The Braves lower minor league system has been decimated. It stands, essentially, as the head on the pike outside of the castle.