Early in the offseason the Angels were shopping Ervin Santana (who they eventually traded) and Dan Haren (whose option they eventually declined) because they wanted to clear payroll space to re-sign Zack Greinke, making that the focus of their winter.
Unfortunately for the Angels once Greinke actually hit the open market and the offers started rolling in they found his price tag was above their means, so now they’ve dropped out of the running for Greinke and turned to Joe Blanton as a much cheaper fallback option.
“We’re prepared to move on from Zack,” general manager Jerry Dipoto said, via Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times. “Sometimes the smartest thing you can do is make practical decisions. Nobody operates without a ceiling.”
While true, that’s quite a change from last offseason when the Angels broke the bank to sign Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson for a combined $320 million. And that’s also quite different than the Dodgers’ current approach to spending, which seemingly is without a ceiling.
When you promote a player from the minors, the first and foremost consideration is whether or not he can help your ball club. But, assuming that’s taken care of, teams should really, really make it a priority to call up dudes with cool sounding names because it makes life more interesting for the rest of us.
The Pirates are doing that. The other night Dovydas Neverauskas made his big league debut. In addition to being the first Lithuanian born-and-raised player in major league history, it’s a solid, solid name. Now the Pirates are making another promotion: Gift Ngoepe.
Yep, Gift Ngoepe. He’s an infielder from South Africa, making the leap to the bigs due to David Freese‘s hamstring injury. Ngoepe, 27, was batting just .241/.308/.379 through 66 plate appearances this season with Triple-A Indianapolis, his ninth in the minors, so he’s not exactly a prospect. But man, that’s a killer name.
It’s also worth mentioning that Gift and Neverauskas were arrested together in a bar fight last August in Toledo, so there is already a good basis for some bonding here.
Good luck, Gift. Gift Ngoepe. Mr. Ngoepe. G-Ngo. Man, I could do this all day.
The Rays beat the Orioles last night, but the play of the game belonged to an Oriole defender.
Evan Longoria was batting and he chopped a ball foul down the third base line. At least it started out foul. As we all know, however, it doesn’t matter where the ball starts, it matters where it is when it crosses the bag.
Manny Machado knows this and didn’t give up on the ball despite it starting several feet in foul territory. He watched it come back, stayed with it and threw out Longoria who, unlike Machado, did give up on it, assuming he’d merely get a strike and another hack. Watch:
Longoria would get Machado back, however, fielding a ball Machado smoked to third base in the ninth inning, recording the second to last out of the game.