I know a lot of you are at-work-only readers and actually try to have lives and/or watch football on the weekend. Whatever, I can’t stop you from doing silly things.
If you are one of those people with bad priorities, however, we would like you to know that there was all kinds of fun playoff activity over the weekend, we were writing about it, and here is a little rundown of what you missed:
- The Rangers and Braves are gone thanks to the wild card game, the A’s and Giants are down 0-2 to the Tigers and Reds, respectively, the Yankees hold a 1-0 lead on the Orioles and the Nats have the same on the Cards.
- There was an awful infield fly rule call in Atlanta on Friday which, for some reason, Braves fans are starting to believe was the reason they lost that game as opposed to Braves players throwing the ball all over the infield and leaving runners in scoring position. Whatever. That call was bad, but it didn’t cost the Braves the game. The Braves cost the Braves the game.
- That awful call caused Braves fans, for the first time in living memory, to display passion. So I guess something good came out of it all! Actually, no: that was just pathetic, Braves fans. Just uncalled for bull, and I was rather embarrassed to count myself in your number on Friday night. There is never an excuse to throw stuff on the field. I doubt baseball would do it in a playoff game, but that’s the kind of thing that could have caused a forfeit. Go back to watching Georgia football, you jerks, and let us few dozen real Braves fans continue to root for our team in a quiet, but far more dignified manner.
- Despite last night’s ninth inning implosion against the Yankees, the O’s have had something to celebrate in the playoffs for the first time in 15 years.
- In contrast, the Rangers skipper and star player caught some heat. And the star suggests that he’s played his last game for the Boys from Arlington.
- And in contrast to that, Dusty Baker hinted that he will be back with his team next year.
- The Atheltics are wearing a logo in memory of Pat Neshek’s son. Pat Neshek showed heart supreme by taking the ball and pitching. The A’s bats were silenced by Justin Verlander.
- The Reds’ ace? Not as good. Johnny Cueto threw eight pitches and left with back spasms in Game 1 of the NLDS. No worries, though, the Reds had it all along.
- In Game 2, the A’s pen shows that all the work its been getting of late may be taking its toll. Don Kelly, meanwhile, plays hero.
- Oh, and the A’s are not a big fan of Al Albuquerque, who planted a wet one on a baseball before making a putout. Hey man, let no one judge someone else’s love.
- The Nats — despite Gio Gonzalez acting like he was the singer in a Rick Ankiel cover band — beat the Cardinals.
- Bronson Arroyo stymied the Giants in Game 2. People still say “stymied,” right?
- CC Sabathia shows us all the value of an ace. The Orioles’ bullpen shows us that the post season is a whole new ballgame.
- The San Francisco Giants’ offense is on the side of milk cartons, asking “have you seen me?”
And we keep on going today: the Nats and Cardinals play in St. Louis at 4:37 PM Eastern time. The Orioles and Yankees play in Baltimore at 8:07 PM.
Many have speculated on a potential match between the White Sox and Ian Desmond this winter, but we haven’t heard much in the way of legitimate interest. That could be changing with spring training right around the corner, as MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reports that Chicago is among the teams considering the free agent shortstop.
After turning the page on Alexei Ramirez this offseason, the White Sox currently have Tyler Saladino in line to serve as their starting shortstop in 2016. The 26-year-old is considered a strong defender, but he batted .225/.267/.335 with four homers over 254 plate appearances as a rookie in 2015. Desmond is coming off a nightmare of a walk year and has seen his strikeout rate climb by 8.5 percent since 2012, but he possesses more offensive upside and it’s not hard to imagine a bounceback campaign while calling U.S. Cellular Field home.
Similar to fellow free agents Yovani Gallardo and Dexter Fowler, Desmond is attached to draft pick compensation after turning down a one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer from the Nationals. It’s a big reason why a potential deal with the Rays is reported to be a “long shot.” Chicago’s No. 10 overall pick in this year’s draft is protected, so they would give up their No. 28 overall pick if they sign a qualifying offer free agent like Desmond.
Left-hander Eric O'Flaherty has agreed to a minor-league deal with the Pirates that includes an invitation to spring training.
O’Flaherty was one of the best relievers in the league for the Braves from 2009-2013, posting a combined 1.99 ERA in 249 innings, but Tommy John elbow surgery derailed his career and he struggled for the A’s and Mets in 2015 while dealing with shoulder problems.
It’s tough to know if O’Flaherty is healthy at this point, but the 31-year-old southpaw certainly has a chance to be a nice reclamation project for the Pirates on a no-risk contract.
The greatest closer in history is going to get the ultimate honor the New York Yankees bestow on August 14. That’s when Mariano Rivera will get his plaque in Monument Park at Yankee Stadium before a game against the Rays.
There was some chatter in the last year or two about whether the Yankees were somehow lowering their standards out there, what with guys like Tino Martinez getting honored. But if that’s something you care about it won’t matter in this instance. Rivera would’ve been worthy even if the old snobby ways had held and only inner-circle types got a plaque, what with him being a key member of five World Series-winning teams and his status as the all-time saves leader in the regular season and the postseason.
The Yankees retired Rivera’s No. 42 in 2013. He’ll get his plaque in August. Then, on the first ballot for which he is eligible, he’ll be voted into the Hall of Fame, likely with a percentage in the mid-to-high 90s.
Alex Guerrero is a potentially good right-handed bat without a position to play in Los Angeles, so Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reporting that the Dodgers are “trying to trade” him makes sense.
Guerrero, who signed with the Dodgers out of Cuba for $28 million in October of 2013, spent last season in the majors hitting .233 with 11 homers and a .695 OPS in a part-time role that generated 230 plate appearances. He logged a total of just 355 innings defensively, mostly as a left fielder and third baseman.
Guerrero could be intriguing–particularly to an American League team for whom his defense isn’t much of an issue–because he hit .329 with 15 homers and a 1.113 OPS in 65 games at Triple-A in 2014 and was consistently a .300 hitter with an OPS around 1.000 in Cuba. He’s also 29 years old, so Guerrero is no doubt looking to play regularly.