The Phillies optioned right-handed reliever Michael Schwimer to Triple-A Lehigh Valley today in order to make room for Jeremy Horst’s return from the paternity leave list. That’s hardly headline news. But the story behind the roster move is a bit more interesting.
Here’s the scoop from Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com:
According to multiple sources, the demotion did not sit well with Schwimer. Two sources said the pitcher had recently complained of a sore arm and believed he should have been placed on the disabled list instead of being sent to the minors. Schwimer apparently made his feelings known to club personnel.
It is against Major League Baseball rules to send an injured player to the minors during the season. Of course, the definition of “injured player” can be subjective.
The usually gregarious Schwimer declined to speak with reporters as he strutted out of the clubhouse before batting practice Thursday. One person who had spoken to Schwimer said the pitcher was “making noise about his arm hurting and getting a second opinion.”
Players who are on the disabled list continue to receive major-league pay and service time, so there are motivations at play here that we usually don’t think about in the day-to-day routine of a baseball season. Phillies assistant general manager Scott Proefrock declined to comment on the situation, but if Schwimer continues to insist that he’s injured, it could open the door to a grievance being filed.
Schwimer, 26, has a 4.46 ERA and 36/16 K/BB ratio over 34 1/3 innings with the Phillies this season.
The Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on starting pitcher Sonny Gray, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The Astros have added Charlie Morton this offseason, but the club has been trying to add a big-name starting pitcher to put at the top of the rotation behind Dallas Keuchel.
Gray, 27, was limited to 22 starts in the 2016 season due to a forearm issue. His stats left a lot to be desired, as he finished with a 5-11 record, a 5.69 ERA, and a 94/42 K/BB ratio over 117 innings. Considering how Gray pitched in the previous three years, he’s a good bet to bounce back.
Gray is under team control through 2019, which is a big draw for the Astros. Needless to say, the Athletics would want a haul in terms of prospects. Gray will earn $3.575 million in 2017, having avoided arbitration in his first year of eligibility.
As we noted last week, The Chicago Cubs took the unusual step of not waiting until the summer after winning the World Series to make their customary White House visit to meet the president. They did it today, seeing President Obama a few short days before he leaves office.
Despite the fact that Obama is a White Sox fan, he met the Cubs with diplomacy and grace. It’s almost as if he’s been in that business for the past eight years. In return, he was given some gifts by the Cubs: Theo Epstein presented Obama with a No. 44 Cubs jersey, a tile from the center field scoreboard at Wrigley Field, and a lifetime pass to Wrigley as well.
Obama is staying in D.C. after he leaves office this week, hanging around so his daughter can finish high school in the same place she started. Even so, he’s likely going to be back to Chicago a good bit over the rest of his life, so he’ll likely be able to put the free pass to work. Assuming it comes with, like, six companion passes for his Secret Service detail.