In an age where everything is hyped to the nth degree, it’s hard to find something that can’t be overstated. But I’ll give you one candidate: Yadier Molina’s defense. Dude has been around for almost a decade now, and I feel like, while most people would agree that he’s the best defensive catcher in baseball, not everyone appreciates just how astoundingly good he is.
He put some of that astoundingly good on display last night.
In the bottom of the seventh, Don Mattingly put in Dee Gordon to pinch run for Luis Cruz after Cruz reached on an error. Mattingly has probably had his team run too damn much lately — Matt Kemp was gunned down by Molina in the fourth inning, and the Dodgers had been unsuccessful on their three previous stolen base attempts before that — but in a close game where runs were hard to come by, it wasn’t totally crazy to have one of baseball’s fastest men try to swipe second.
Gordon actually got a pretty good jump too. But Yadier Molina made what is one of the most fantastic throws you will ever see and nailed him cold. Here’s the GIF, via FanGraphs:
Just sick, really. Absolutely sick. Look how quick he releases that ball. Look how tight that thing is to the ground in flight compared to what you see from most other catchers. And look how hard he throws it, too. It has the same kind of movement you see on a fastball from some assassin closer or something. I’d love to see a radar gun reading of that throw.
Yadier friggin’ Molina, kids. Yadier friggin’ Molina.
The Cardinals announced on Tuesday that outfielder Dexter Fowler has been placed on the 10-day disabled list with a strained left forearm. Outfielder Harrison Bader was recalled from Triple-A Memphis to take Fowler’s spot on the roster.
It’s not clear when Fowler suffered the injury, but he went 0-for-12 since a three-hit performance last Friday. He’s hitting .241/.333/.452 with 14 home runs and 37 RBI in 333 plate appearances this season.
Bader, 23, is the Cardinals’ No. 6 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline. This season, with Memphis, Bader hit .297/.354/.517 with 19 home runs and 48 RBI in 381 PA.
Jon Morosi of MLB Network said yesterday that the Detroit Tigers and Chicago Cubs have been engaged in trade talks involving starting pitcher Justin Verlander and catcher Alex Avila. Morosi also noted that the Los Angeles Dodgers have shown interest in Verlander as well. Whether this is idyl chitchatting of serious dispute is unclear, of course. Everything is unclear in the leadup to the deadline.
The veteran right-hander is carrying a 4.50 with a 120/57 K/BB ratio over 124 innings. Verlander impressed last year, finishing second in AL Cy Young Award balloting, but he has fallen back to Earth in 2017. His velocity remains high, however, and it’s not hard to imagine him going on a solid run in a way that could help a contender. He is owed $56 million over the next two seasons, however, and has a $22 million option that could vest for 2020, so negotiations for him could be tough. If the Tigers want talent back, they’ll have to eat salary.
Verlander got an ovation from a Detroit crowd last night which seemed to sense that, yes, it’s possible he pitched his last game for the Tigers. Given that he has 10/5 rights, allowing him to veto any trade, that decision is ultimately up to him. It’s not hard to imagine him accepting a trade to a contender, however.
We wait see.