James Shields is puzzled by Evan Longoria’s comments

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The other day Evan Longoria offered some strange words for former teammates James Shields and B.J. Upton, strongly implying that, now that they were gone, all the bad juju from the Devil Rays era was gone, as those two has some things in their head “that were tough for them to get beyond.” Never mind that Joe Maddon was around in the Devil Rays days too. Whatever he was getting at, the comments seemed either shallow or critical, depending on how much benefit of the doubt you’re inclined to give Longoria.

For his part, James Shields doesn’t understand them. From the KC Star:

“It’s disappointing,” Shields said. “I’m a little bit surprised. Evan is a great player, but I really don’t know what he’s talking about. I really don’t, and I’m being honest with you …  “I don’t know where he was coming from with that,” Shields said, “but, frankly, I really don’t care. I’m more worried about the Kansas City Royals, and what we’re doing here. I felt my time in Tampa Bay was a good time. I felt my leadership over there was sufficient. But I’m moving on. This is my team over here.”

Anyone wanna give Longoria another bite at that apple?

If the Tigers are sub-.500 at the end of June it’ll be fire sale time

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Jon Morosi reports that that the Detroit Tigers will make all veterans available via trade if they’re still under .500 by the end of June.

This was the position they entered the offseason with — everyone is available! — but they ended up gearing up for one more push with the core of veterans they currently employ. It was not a bad move, I don’t think. With the exception of the Indians, the AL Central is mostly down, or at least appeared to be over the winter, with the Royals in decline and the Twins and White Sox seemingly a few years away from contention. The Twins, however, have been fantastic and the Tigers have mostly underachieved.

So we’re back to this. Which veterans the Tigers can reasonably unload, however, is an open question. J.D. Martinez is in his walk year, so while tradable, he may not bring back a big return. Guys like Justin Upton, Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera either have very large contracts or no-trade protection.

The end of June is still a while from now, of course, and while the Tigers are under .500, they’re only 4.5 games behind the Twins. But they had better turn it around or else it sounds like the front office is going to turn the page.

Must-Click Link: Remembering Eddie Grant the first major leaguer to die in combat

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As you get ready for Memorial Day weekend and whatever it entails for you and yours, take some time to read an excellent article from Mike Bates over at The Hardball Times.

The article is about Eddie Grant. You probably never heard of him. He was a journeyman infielder — often a backup — from 1905 through 1915. If you have heard of him, it was likely not for his baseball exploits, however: it was because he was the first active baseball player to die in combat, killed in the Battle of the Argonne Forest in October 1915.

Michael tells us about more than Grant’s death, however. He provides a great overview of his life and career. And notes that Grant didn’t even have to go to war if he didn’t want to. He was 34, had the chance to coach or manage and had a law degree and the potential to make a lot of money following his baseball career. He volunteered, however, for both patriotic and personal reasons. And it cost him his life.

Must-read stuff indeed. Especially this weekend.