Nick Swisher was a fan favorite during his four seasons with the A’s and left the team not by choice but because he was traded to the White Sox following the 2007 season.
He’s been back to Oakland as an opposing player plenty of times since then, but after being booed by A’s fans last night Swisher voiced his frustration to Nate Stulhberg of CSNBayArea.com:
I’ve never been booed this much in my life. That’s all I really got to say about that. You boo Chavvy. You boo me. For what?
“Chavvy” is Eric Chavez, who spent the first 13 seasons of his career with the A’s before joining Swisher on the Yankees last season.
My guess is that simply playing for the Yankees explains a large part of the booing, but considering Swisher was traded away (in a good deal that got the A’s both Gio Gonzalez and Ryan Sweeney) and Chavez mutually parted ways with the A’s after playing for them from age 20 to age 32 it does seem a little odd that the crowd in Oakland would choose them as booing targets.
I’d normally say that perhaps A’s fans are simply frustrated in general and wanting to lash out at someone following five straight .500-or-worse seasons, but with the team playing very well of late and looking like legitimate playoff contenders that explanation wouldn’t make much sense either.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.
There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.
Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.
According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Cardinals are keeping an eye on outfield prospect Luis Robert. The 19-year-old left his native Cuba last November and is expected to command interest from multiple MLB teams as he approaches free agency. Goold adds that the Cardinals sent scouts to evaluate Robert’s workouts in the Dominican Republic as recently as last week.
There’s still a good chance that the club won’t get a shot at signing him; as Craig mentioned last month, it seems likely that Major League Baseball won’t declare Robert a free agent until after June 15. By July 2, the new Collective Bargaining Agreement’s policies on international bonuses will go into effect, handcuffing teams with the maximum penalty for bonuses to a $300,000 signing figure for any available international prospect. It’s designed to effectively take away those teams’ abilities to sign additional international talent, and the Cardinals have already spent a reported $9.35 million in bonuses on Venezuelan outfielder Victor Garcia, Cuban outfielders Jonatan Machado and Randy Arozarena and Cuban right-hander Johan Oviedo.
Until the cutoff in mid-June, the Cardinals are likely to continue actively scouting other international talent, including Robert. MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez quotes an anonymous National League scouting director who describes Robert as the No. 2 talent behind Japanese wunderkind Shohei Otani. The 19-year-old hit .286/.319/.397 with a .716 OPS during a 16-game run in the Canadian-American League in 2016, following up an impressive three-year tenure with the Ciego de Avila in the Cuban National Series from 2013-2015.