If you Google any sports figure for almost anything you’re bound to get a bunch of hits from Bleacher Report, as they have mastered the dark art of search engine optimization. This can sometimes be annoying, but it can sometimes be enlightening too. For example, I learned this morning that Miguel Cabrera needs to win a World Series ring in order to “send him to baseball immortality,” cement his legacy and write his name in “historical lore.”
One would think, wouldn’t one, that a story about the World Series and Miguel Cabrera’s legacy would at least mention the fact that he already has a World Series ring thanks to his tenure on the 2003 Florida Marlins.
Perhaps Cabrera wasn’t a major part of that World Series title (although he did hit a two-run homer off Roger Clemens in Game 4). But even if one were to make the argument that it didn’t mean much since he wasn’t the leader of that team or something, one would have to at least acknowledge that it occurred and explain why winning one with the Tigers would be different and more significant. This writer doesn’t seem to even be aware of it.
I don’t offer this in order to mess with Bleacher Report specifically. I offer it more as a comment on the people who engage in the even darker arts of judging players’ legacies. We’ve seen an awful lot of that this postseason already with the A-Rod business, but it happens every year. People leave out that which doesn’t fit their preconceived ideas and preferred narratives. They emphasize things which do. If it means pretending that some history doesn’t exist, so be it. And it’s not just Bleacher Report writers who do it.
I understand that desire to make stories with beginnings, middles and ends — and with richly-drawn characters, morals and the rest — out of sporting events. But, just, cut it out. Sports don’t work that way.
The news has gone from bad to worse for Dodgers’ left-hander Julio Urias, who is scheduled for anterior capsule surgery on his left shoulder next Tuesday and expected to be sidelined through the middle of the 2018 season. His MRI came back negative on Wednesday, giving the Dodgers some hope that the 20-year-old’s bout of shoulder inflammation wasn’t masking any structural damage, but the pain lingered several days later and prompted further concern from the club. The procedure will be performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache.
Urias was optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City in late May and placed on the disabled list with left shoulder discomfort several weeks into his assignment. At the major league level, he owned a 5.40 ERA, 5.4 BB/9 and 4.2 SO/9 through 23 1/3 innings, going 0-2 in five starts with Los Angeles. He made a brief rebound in Triple-A, posting three wins and striking out 17 of 67 batters in 17 1/3 innings before landing on the DL.
It’s a tough blow for the southpaw, who had yet to hit his stride in the majors before getting sidelined with shoulder issues. The Dodgers were especially mindful of this outcome for Urias, and had taken preventative measures to protect his arm by establishing a strict innings limit last season. According to club president Andrew Friedman, there’s a small silver lining here: while Urias’ injury will keep him out of work for at least 12 months, he doesn’t appear to have sustained any damage to his labrum or rotator cuff, and could be facing a much more streamlined recovery process as a result. Whether he’ll be able to rebound once he takes the mound again remains to be seen.
Tigers’ right-handed reliever Francisco Rodriguez was released on Friday, per a team announcement. The club recalled fellow right-hander Bruce Rondon from Triple-A Toledo in a corresponding move.
The former closer got the boot after losing his closing role in early May, giving left-hander Justin Wilson a chance to impress at the back end of the bullpen. It’s been a rough year for Rodriguez, who manufactured six blown saves and a 7.82 ERA, 3.9 BB/9 and 8.2 SO/9 over 25 1/3 innings for the Tigers. The final straw, it seemed, came with Robinson Cano‘s grand slam in the seventh inning of the Tigers’ 6-9 loss to the Mariners on Thursday.
While the demotion to a clean-up role and an apparent lack of communication caused Rodriguez considerable frustration, he’s two years removed from his last dominant performance as a major league closer and has shown few signs of returning to form. His recent slump doesn’t diminish the impressive totals he’s racked up over his 16-year career — 437 saves and six All-Star nominations among them — but if he can’t break out of it soon, he may not receive the kind of high leverage role he’s seeking with another big league team, either.