You know that friend you have who makes everything about them? How, no matter how attenuated their connection to something going on in the world, they filter it through their own experiences? Yeah, that’s this Joel Sherman column about the Red Sox-Dodgers trade:
But in the winner-loser here and now, it is hard to ignore that the biggest loser was not even directly involved in the trade finalized yesterday. The biggest loser is the New York Mets. Because the Mets could not get even enough health and production from Jason Bay and/or Johan Santana to make the kind of financial reset trade the Red Sox just did by unloading Beckett and Crawford, in particular.
Sherman goes on to slam the Mets, calling them “losers.” Losers because they couldn’t unload Bay and Santana. Losers because the Dodgers and Mets were both financial wrecks a few short months ago but now look at the Dodgers go. Losers because they are not “energizing the fan base” the way L.A. is and aren’t freeing up payroll like Boston is.
Which is insane. A salary-dump trade of this magnitude has never, ever happened in the history of baseball. The Mets were never for sale and the line of people willing to pay $2 billion and then absorb nearly $300 million in salaries is non-existent even if they were. And that’s before you note that the Mets had nothing like Adrian Gonzalez to throw into such a trade to make it worth the Dodgers’ while.
To rip the Mets for not doing what the Dodgers did here is cheap and silly. It’s like ripping your kid for not becoming the Dalai Lama. Sure, that kind of thing happens in the world, but it’s unfair in the extreme to suggest that there’s something wrong with him for not doing it.
But I guess there’s no hate like Mets hate, so this was probably inevitable.
MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki reports that starter Clay Buchholz is at Citizens Bank Park for Wednesday night’s game against the Marlins. The right-hander recently underwent surgery to repair a partial tear of his flexor pronator mass. The timetable for his recovery is three to five months, but most are expecting him to miss the rest of the season since the Phillies aren’t legitimate contenders.
According to Zolecki, Buchholz apologized to GM Matt Klentak “and others” — presumably other front office staff and/or his teammates — for getting injured. Buchholz hopes to return to pitch in September.
It’s saddening to me, and indicative of the general anti-labor culture in sports, that a player feels obligated to apologize for getting injured on the job. Injuries are nothing new for Buchholz, which might have factored into his decision to apologize. Red Sox fans got on his case quite a bit over the years for his propensity to land on the disabled list. But it wasn’t like Buchholz was taking unnecessary risks; he simply did his job, which entails doing a lot of unhealthy movement with his arm. Buchholz owes no one an apology.
Buchholz isn’t the only player to have apologized for getting injured. Outfielder Hideki Matsui apologized to the Yankees in 2006. Starter Masahiro Tanaka apologized in 2014. Twins reliever Glen Perkins apologized last year. Even Madison Bumgarner sort of apologized for suffering injuries riding a dirt bike on an off-day, saying “It’s definitely not the most responsible decision I’ve made.” Because god forbid an athlete has interests and hobbies outside of his vocation.
Players are brought up in a sports culture that allows exorbitantly wealthy owners to bilk the players — laborers — at every possible turn. They’re mostly underpaid and poorly taken care of in the minors. If and when they reach the major leagues, their salaries are intentionally depressed for six years and their service time is toyed with (just ask Kris Bryant). Buchholz endured that and then endured the criticism that comes with having been a hyped prospect who mostly failed to live up to expectations. He’s gone above and beyond what he needed to do to have a successful career as a professional baseball player, even if it wasn’t as much as fans or front office personnel would have liked.
Update (5:22 PM ET): Thames is dealing with left hamstring tightness. Manager Craig Counsell says it’s “not a big deal,” Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.
Brewers first baseman Eric Thames left Wednesday afternoon’s game against the Reds in the top of the eighth inning with an apparent injury. Thames took his position to start the inning, but was replaced by Jesus Aguilar. Thames had flied out weakly to center field to end the previous inning, so perhaps something happened while he ran that out.
The Brewers should provide an update shortly on the exact nature of Thames’ early exit. Needless to say, losing Thames to the disabled list would be a huge blow to the 11-11 Brewers, as he entered Wednesday leading all of baseball in runs (25), home runs (11), slugging percentage (.929), and OPS (1.411). Thames was 1-for-3 with a single, a pair of walks, and two runs scored before leaving.