Royals choose Luis Mendoza over Bruce Chen for final rotation spot

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Kansas City has decided on Luis Mendoza as the fifth starter, which means Bruce Chen is headed to the bullpen after leading the Royals in starts, wins, and innings last season. Of course, Chen wasn’t actually much good with a 5.07 ERA.

Luke Hochevar was previously shifted to the bullpen by the Royals, so by moving Chen there as well Kansas City is now paying $9 million to a pair of non-setup/closer relievers who both had an ERA above 5.00 last year.

As for Mendoza, he has a 4.97 ERA in 41 career starts, including a 4.19 ERA in 25 starts for the Royals last season. He’ll follow James Shields, Ervin Santana, Jeremy Guthrie, and Wade Davis in the rotation.

Javier Baez, D.J. LeMahieu have disagreement about sign-stealing

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Fellow second basemen Javier Baez of the Cubs and D.J. LeMahieu of the Rockies got into a disagreement in the top of the third inning of Sunday’s game at Coors Field over sign-stealing.

LeMahieu reached on a fielder’s choice ground out, then advanced to second base on Charlie Blackmon‘s single. While Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story were batting, Baez was concerned that LeMahieu was relaying the Cubs’ signs to his teammates. Baez decided to stand in front of LeMahieu to block any information he might have been giving to Arenado and Story. LeMahieu got irritated and the two jawed at each other for a bit. Umpires Vic Carapazza and Greg Gibson had to intervene to tell Baez to knock it off.

There has always been a back-and-forth with alleged sign-stealing. As long as teams aren’t using technology to steal signs, it’s fair game for players to relay information to their teammates about the opposing team’s signs. Last year, MLB determined the Red Sox went against the rules and used technology — an Apple watch in this case — to steal signs from the Yankees. Other teams in the past have been accused of using binoculars from the bullpen to steal signs. In this particular case with Baez and LeMahieu, there was no foul play going on, just Baez trying to make the Rockies cede what he perceived to be their slight competitive advantage.

The Cubs went on to beat the Rockies 9-7 on Sunday.