In last night’s Reds-Indians game, Cleveland starter Derek Lowe was brushed back with a mid-90s fastball from Mat Latos. Not something you see happen to a pitcher very often, especially when there were no plunkings of other shenanigans previously. Which, in this game or series, there was not. So what gives?
After the game MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian asked Derek Lowe about it and he gave a long, expletive-filled but ultimately not-very-forthcoming explanation, alluding to some years-old bad blood between Reds manager Dusty Baker and himself:
After the game, Lowe insinuated that Baker has been instructing his pitchers to throw at him for the past five seasons due to a grudge that dates to Lowe’s final year with the Dodgers in 2008.
“Dusty will deny it,” Lowe said. “I have zero respect for the guy — not that it matters. I imagine he’d say the same about me” … The 39-year-old Cleveland starter hinted at an incident that was never made public during his time in Los Angeles, but he was not willing to offer up specific details.
Baker was gone after all of the media at the game became aware of what Lowe said, so he had no response. Hopefully we’ll learn more today, but Lowe repeated several times that Baker will, as he always has before, pretend that he doesn’t know what Lowe is talking about. Lowe does, though, but he’s not saying.
This is delicious. In fact, it’s more delicious that we don’t know the reason for the bad blood. Was it a woman? I bet it was a woman. It’s a crazy love triangle, with Lowe in the Gatsby role and Dusty as Tom Buchanan. Marty Brennaman as Nick Carroway. I haven’t figured out the women yet. Hopefully Bastian or Reds MLB.com guy Mark Sheldon will ask Dusty about it today.
Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Cardinals’ catcher Yadier Molina is still open to extension talks during the last week of spring training. Once Opening Day rolls around, however, Molina has preemptively nixed any contract negotiations until the end of the 2017 season, when he’s scheduled to hit free agency.
Molina wants to stay with the Cardinals, or so he’s telling reporters, but he’s also “not afraid” to test the free agent market this fall should a deal fail to materialize. Via Goold:
I would love to stay, but at the same time I’m not afraid to go to free agency. I’ve still got many years in the tank. Believe me. I feel great. I feel like a 20-year-old kid. I’m not afraid to go to free agency.
The 34-year-old backstop is entering his final year under contract, though Goold points out that he has a $15 million option for 2018 that he can choose to decline in the event that it’s exercised by the team. He’s reportedly searching for a figure closer to those made by other top catchers like Buster Posey and Russell Martin.
The 2017 season will mark Molina’s 14th year in the Cardinals’ organization, building on a career that has spanned seven All-Star campaigns, nine postseason runs and two World Series championships in St. Louis. He batted .307/.360/.427 with eight home runs and a .787 OPS for the club in 2016.
Colby Rasmus isn’t ready to take outfield reps just yet. According to Rays’ manager Kevin Cash, that’s a red flag, one that could potentially postpone Rasmus’ debut as the club’s designated hitter and outfielder in 2017. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that Rasmus will need to prove he can play a defensive position before getting cleared for the active roster, something which the veteran outfielder has yet to do this spring.
Rasmus, 30, signed a one-year, $5 million deal with the Rays following his two-year run with the Astros. He batted a meager .206/.286/.355 with 15 home runs and a .641 OPS in 2016 and was shut down in late September with an unspecified hip/groin issue. Entering the 2017 season, he’s expected to work his way back to a full-time role after undergoing surgery to repair his core muscle and left hip labrum last October.
The Rays also finalized their one-year, $1.2 million deal with catcher Derek Norris on Saturday and will need to clear room for him on the 40-man roster. Topkin speculates that the move could send Rasmus to the 60-day disabled list, though the outfielder is not projected to miss more than a couple weeks of the regular season.