The Phillies sign Chad Durbin

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The lastest move from Ruben Amaro:

Sources told MLB.com today the Phillies and right-hander Chad Durbin have agreed to terms on a one-year deal, pending a physical. The deal includes a club option for 2014. Durbin, 35, pitched for the Phillies from 2008-10, when he helped solidify the middle innings.

Jerry Crasnick says the deal is for $1.1 million with some incentives.

Durbin is useful, and his ERA was a bit misleading last year after he began the season with a few disaster appearances before settling down into a reliable groove. Anecdotally (he pitched for the Braves last year) he seemed to give up more hits and walks and allowed more inherited runners to score than he actually did. I have no idea what to make of that. Vexing really. Especially the inherited runner part. In reality he allowed only 11 of 44 to score, which isn’t bad.  So I’m wondering why I have this irrationally dour view of his performance last year. Probably has a lot to do with Fredi Gonzalez using him in some high leverage situations rather than go to his better relievers, thereby causing me to subconsciously transfer my anger at the manager to the pitcher. Whatever the case, it probably says an awful lot about the irrationality and subjectivity of being a fan, especially when it comes to bullpens.

Oh well.  He is another new face in the Philly pen, which desperately needed a makeover. If things break right, he and Mike Adams could turn what was a profound weakness last year into a strength. It’s little moves like these which tend go unnoticed until a team exceeds expectations and then someone writes the “how are the Phillies doing it?” article.

Must-read: A profile on former Rays prospect Brandon Martin, currently in jail for alleged murders of three men

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Nathan Fenno of the Los Angeles Times has an outstanding profile of former Rays prospect Brandon Martin, who is currently in jail for allegedly murdering three men nearly two years ago.

Fenno describes Martin’s erratic personality as he became a highly-touted baseball prospect who then descends into drug use. Friends described Martin has having completely changed into an unrecognizable person. Martin had repeated conflicts with friends and family such that police reports became common and he was placed in a psychiatric facility. Sadly, the facility only held him for less than 48 hours. He would allegedly murder three people upon returning home: his father, his brother-in-law, and a home security system contractor. Martin fled from police, who eventually caught up to him and subdued him with the help of a police dog.

Fenno’s profile is really worth a read, so click here to check it out.

Martin, 23, was selected by the Rays in the first round (38th overall) of the 2011 draft. He spent three years in the Rays’ system, reaching as high as Single-A Bowling Green.

Pedro Martinez: “If I was pitching, I was going to drill Machado, as much as I love him.”

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On Sunday, Red Sox reliever Matt Barnes was ejected for throwing at Orioles third baseman Manny Machado‘s head. It was revenge for a slide of Machado’s which ended up injuring Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia. Barnes was suspended four games.

Hall of Famer and former Red Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez said that if he were in Barnes’ shoes, he would have also thrown at Machado, although not necessarily at his head. Via ESPN’s Scott Lauber:

If I was pitching, I was going to drill Machado, as much as I love him. The only thing I would’ve done differently is probably bring the ball a little bit lower.

Martinez added that Machado “did not intend to hurt Pedroia. And I know that because I know Machado.” And he doesn’t think Barnes meant to throw at Machado’s head.

Martinez, of course, was certainly a pitcher who wasn’t afraid to pitch inside to batters and even hit a few of them when he felt he or his teammates had been wronged. This is an unfortunate part of baseball’s culture and the fact that it continues means that it will eventually result in someone being seriously hurt. It’s disappointing that Martinez isn’t willing to be a better role model now that his playing days are over. Martinez could have set an example for today’s pitchers by saying what Barnes did crossed a line. Getting a Hall of Famer’s seal of approval will only embolden players now when they feel they must defend their teammates’ honor.

The “tradition” of beaning batters to defend one’s teammates is anachronistic in today’s game, especially when Major League Baseball has made strides in so many other ways recently to protect players’ safety.