Royals want a player, not a prospect, for Jonathan Broxton

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That according to FOXSports.com’s Jon Morosi:

Broxton, who was signed to set up Joakim Soria this season, has a 1.99 ERA and 21 saves in 24 opportunities as Kansas City’s closer. Still, the Royals would likely be OK without him, as they’d still have some combination of Greg Holland, Aaron Crow and Tim Collins to pitch the final two or three innings.

It’s a given that if the Royals want a major leaguer for Broxton then they’re looking to upgrade their rotation. But the list of contenders that would spare a starter in return for a closer isn’t long, if it exists at all. With Roy Halladay on the way back, the Phillies might be open to trading Joe Blanton to bring in Broxton as an eighth-inning guy, but that’s not the kind of guy the Royals are looking for.

The best possibility I can see is with the Mets. They could send Dillon Gee to Kansas City for Broxton and then call up Matt Harvey to take his rotation spot. Still, I don’t think I’d make that trade if I were the Mets. A half-season of Broxton isn’t worth 4 1/2 of Gee. Maybe if the Royals included Jose Mijares as well, giving the Mets two bullpen upgrades.

Still, my guess is that when Broxton goes — and it probably is a matter of when — it’s simply for a prospect or two. The Royals aren’t completely out of the mix in the weak AL Central, but they’re also not really a fourth starter away from becoming a contender.

Javier Baez: “This is a game. It’s not as serious as a lot of people take it.”

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Infielder Javier Baez is back in camp with the Cubs after helping Puerto Rico to a second-place finish in the 2017 World Baseball Classic. He was the focal point of what was, to many, the most memorable play of the entire tournament: Baez pointed at catcher Yadier Molina, who was attempting to throw out a would-be base-stealer, before applying the tag for the final out of the eighth inning.

While Baez didn’t receive much criticism for his theatrics, aside from an insignificant handful of spoilsports, he is one of the players who most exemplifies the emotional, celebratory culture that foreign players bring to Major League Baseball. U.S. (and Tigers) second baseman Ian Kinsler is on the other side of that spectrum, as he said prior to the WBC final that he hopes kids mimic the solemn way U.S. players play the game rather than the emotional, passionate way players from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic play the game.

Baez isn’t about to apologize for the way he and his teammates play the game. Via CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney, Baez said, “We do a great job playing and having fun out there. That’s what it’s all about. This is a game. It’s not as serious as a lot of people take it. but, you know, everybody’s got their style and their talent. I have a lot of fun.”

He continued, “It’s their choice to look at how we play, how excited we get. To us, it’s really huge what we did, even though we didn’t win. All of Puerto Rico got really together. We were going through a hard time over there and everything got fixed up for at least three weeks. Hopefully, they keep it like that.”

Mike Trout proposes change to spring training umpiring

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Angels outfielder Mike Trout came up with an idea that would allow less experienced umpires an opportunity to call some major league spring training action. As ESPN’s Buster Olney reports, Trout thinks the veteran umpires should only call five or six innings as they get back into regular season shape. The rest of the innings could be called by minor league umpires.

According to Olney, baseball officials loved Trout’s idea when they heard about it last week. One official said, “It makes a lot of sense for a lot of different reasons.” Another said, “That’s Trout — he’s always paying attention to stuff beyond what he’s doing.”

Of course, I have to agree that the suggestion is a great one. As Olney notes, the turnover rate for umpires every year is relatively low, so younger, less-experienced umpires have few opportunities to get a feel for what it’s like calling major league action. Even beyond the actual interpretation of the rules, interacting with big league personalities would also be helpful for minor league umpires.