hawk harrelson

Hawk Harrelson goes after another ump but doesn’t get in trouble for it

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In late May, White Sox announcer Hawk Harrelson was called on the carpet by Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf and by Bud Selig himself after Harrelson exploded on the air at umpire Mark Wegner, calling one of his calls “absolutely brutal,” “unbelievable” and accusing Wegner of not knowing anything about the game of baseball.

Getting called on the carpet usually implies a promise not to do whatever bad thing you did again. But Harrelson did it again on Saturday, ranting about umpire Lance Barrett in the Mariners-Sox game. Among his choice cuts, via ESPN Chicago:

• “I’ll tell you this is absolutely ridiculous. This is absolutely ridiculous.”

• “Lance Barrett has been absolutely brutal. Brutal.”

• “Lance Barrett has just stunk the joint up is all he’s done. That’s all he’s done.”

• “He’s terrible.”

• “This is one of those games where the film is going back to the American League office to show how bad he is.”

• “Everything that (Mariners pitcher) Blake Beavan has thrown up there that (catcher Miguel) Olivo has caught has been a strike. If he caught it, it was a strike. He’s got two different strike zones. He’s got a two-foot for Beavan, and he’s got a 10-inch for the White Sox. What does that tell you?”

• “This might be as bad as a two innings as I’ve ever seen from a guy behind the plate or 2 1/3 (innings.) So he’s bad, so he throws out our catcher and our manager because he’s brutal.”

If anything I think these comments were worse, at least in volume if not vitriol, than the stuff he said about Wegner. But Hawk is lucky. According to Scott Powers of ESPN Chicago, neither the White Sox nor Major League Baseball are going to do anything about it. Which is fine. I have a bit of a problem with teams or the league going after announcers for the things they say because that’s kind of chilling in my view.

But really, if you’re gonna make a point to act like you’re disciplining someone over something in one case, don’t you sorta need to keep that up in order to maintain credibility? Or did baseball maybe realize that it overstepped its bounds in the first instance?

Padres sign Trevor Cahill

Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Trevor Cahill (53) during the seventh inning of Game 3 in baseball's National League Division Series against the St. Louis Cardinals, Monday, Oct. 12, 2015, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)
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The Padres have signed Trevor Cahill to a one-year, $1.75 million contract.

As recently as the middle of the 2015 season it looked like Cahill’s career would meet a premature end, but after being released by the Braves and signing with the Cubs in August of that season he has been a remarkably effective reliever. He has posted a 2.61 ERA in 61 games in Chicago and has posted a strikeout rate far above his career norms.

He’s not someone you necessarily want taking the hill when the leverage is high, but in San Diego the leverage won’t be all that high all that often.

Justin Verlander: “I’m too old to be part of a rebuilding process”

DETROIT, MI - JULY 20: Justin Verlander #35 of the Detroit Tigers pitches in the eighth inning of the game against the Minnesota Twins on July 20, 2016 at Comerica Park in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
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The Tigers have sent some mixed signals this winter. The offseason began with widespread reports that GM Al Avila was going to break up the team. Indeed, it was reported that he was willing to field offers for any and all players, on up to Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera.

As the offseason has unfolded, however, a rebuild has not materialized.

Avila traded away outfielder Cameron Maybin. He signed old friends Omar Infante and Alex Avila. He made the usual sorts of minor league signings every team makes to fill out the roster. Detroit still needs a center fielder and there continue to be rumors that outfielder J.D. Martinez and second baseman Ian Kinsler could be had for the right price, but it’s been pretty quiet at 2100 Woodward Avenue.

If that changes, however, and the Tigers do start to rebuild, there’s one key member of the team who doesn’t really want a part of it. From the Detroit Free Press:

Justin Verlander is 33 years and 330 days old.

He’s not that old.

But the Detroit Tigers ace right-hander – a 12-year major league veteran – is old enough in baseball years to know that he doesn’t really want to be part of a rebuilding process.

“Would it have been upsetting for me if we started trading away everybody?” he told MLB Network Radio on Friday morning. “I’m too old to be part of a rebuilding process.”

Verlander will make $28 million a year for each of the next three seasons and has a vesting option for 2020 if he finishes in the top 5 of the 2019 Cy Young vote. He had an excellent return-to-form in 2016, but his contract is still pretty big for a pitcher with his mileage, making it seem unlikely that he would be moved absent the team eating a huge portion of his salary. The same could be said for Miguel Cabrera who, despite still being one of the best hitters in baseball, is making between $28-32 million between now and 2023. A wonderful player, but an extraordinarily difficult contract to move. Both superstars have full no-trade protection as 10-5 men as well.

At the moment the rebuild does not seem to be materializing and the Tigers — as I think they should, probably — will enter 2017 aiming for the AL Central crown, not aiming at restocking their farm system.

But what will Verlander think, however, if the Tigers find themselves out of contention come May? What will he think if Ian Kinsler — a valuable player on a tradable contract — is sold off? Or Justin Upton? Or J.D. Martinez?

It’s worth watching.