The Nationals acquired catcher Kurt Suzuki from the Athletics yesterday in exchange for minor league catcher David Freitas. Suzuki is expected to take over the starting catcher gig from Jesus Flores, who has really struggled carrying the load since Wilson Ramos suffered a season-ending knee injury in May.
Flores was asked about the trade after yesterday’s doubleheader against the Marlins. And that’s when things got awkward. Per Amanda Comak of the Washington Times, Flores said he was unaware of the deal.
“I didn’t know,” Flores said. “I just know because you told me. Nobody has told me anything.
“Nobody has say anything to me about it, so I’m just surprised.”
“I don’t even want to talk about it,” Flores said. “I’m just in shock. I didn’t know we had a new catcher.”
That’s rough. Taking Flores at his word, the Nationals could have handled the situation better considering the trade happened before the doubleheader even started. Of course, Flores is batting just .221 with a .567 OPS and has thrown out just 10.2 percent (5-for-49) of attempted basestealers this season, so he shouldn’t be surprised that the Nationals were in the market for other options.
Back during the 2015 playoffs the sorts of New York media types who love to find reasons to criticize players for petty reasons decided to criticize Yoenis Cespedes for playing golf the day of a playoff game. The Mets won the series with the Cubs during which the controversy, such as it was, occurred and it was soon dropped.
It was picked back up again in 2016 when Cespedes, while on the disabled list with a strained quad, was seen playing golf. Despite the fact that everyone involved said that golf did not contribute to his injury and that golf would have no impact on his injured quad, it was deemed “a bad look” by a columnist looking to get some mileage out of bashing Cespedes for having a hobby that probably half of all ballplayers share. They did it when he showed off his fancy cars too, by the way, even though just about every ballplayer has a fancy car or three. When you’re a superstar in New York — especially when you’re one with whom the media is not particularly close for various reasons — you’re going to catch hell for seemingly nothing.
Now there’s a new twist to the Cespedes golf saga. Yoenis himself says that his poor start — he’s hitting .195/.258/.354 and leads the league in strikeouts — is due to . . . not enough golf! From the New York Times:
He gave a possible reason for the poor start this weekend: not playing enough golf, a hobby beloved by many baseball players. And, yes, he is serious.
“In previous seasons, one of the things I did when I wasn’t going well was to play golf,” he said after a game on Friday in which he struck out four times but still drove in the go-ahead run in the 12th inning. “This year, I’m not playing golf.”
The story says Cespedes quit golf last summer because he worried that it was contributing to hamstring problems. He’s thinking about going back to it soon, as he thinks it’ll help his swing. Given that he’ll catch hell either way, he may as well do what he wants.