Even though Josh Hamilton finished his return to Texas by going 3-for-5, the Rangers claimed the series Sunday night, beating the Angels 7-3.
Unfortunately, Hamilton failed to come through when it would have made the biggest difference. After Yu Darvish opened the top of the first with a walk, a hit by pitch and another walk, Hamilton stepped up with the bases loaded and none out. He swung at both pitches he saw and hit a routine grounder on the second, resulting in a 4-6-3 double play that nonetheless gave the Angels their first run.
The Angels finished the top of the first up 2-0, only to see Jered Weaver give up three runs on back-to-back homers from Lance Berkman and David Murphy in the bottom of the inning.
Both Darvish and Weaver later left with injuries. The blister that Darvish developed in Tuesday’s near perfect game knocked him out after five innings, while Weaver was removed with a sprained left (non-pitching) elbow, the result of an awkward fall trying to get out of the way of a comebacker. Weaver is iffy to make his next start.
With the starters gone, the Rangers won the battle of the bullpens. Ian Kinsler hit a three-run homer off former teammate Mark Lowe in the bottom of the sixth, putting the Rangers up 7-3 and finishing the scoring for the night.
Kinsler finished the game 3-for-3 with four RBI and a walk. He has three homers already this season.
Hamilton’s average bottomed out at .048 before he collected a double and two singles in the middle of the game. He got one more at-bat in the ninth and grounded out to end it, leaving him at .160 (4-for-25) through six games.
Of course, it means next to nothing right now, but with the Angels’ strength supposed to be the top five or six hitters in the lineup, it’s funny to see none of those guys hitting above .280, while Alberto Callaspo, Chris Iannetta and Peter Bourjos are all at .300 or better from the seventh-through-ninth spots.
Josh Norris of Baseball America reports that Minor League Baseball has established a political action committee to continue fighting against a lawsuit brought by a group of former minor league players seeking increased wages and back pay.
You may recall that, earlier this year, two members of Congress — Republican Brett Guthrie of Kentucky and Democrat Cheri Bustos of Illinois — introduced H.R. 5580 in the House of Representatives. Also known as the “Save America’s Pastime Act,” H.R. 5580 sought to change language in Section 13 of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. In doing so, minor leaguers wouldn’t have been covered under a law that protects workers who are paid hourly. Minor League Baseball publicly endorsed the bill. Bustos withdrew her support after receiving widespread criticism.
The whole thing started when Sergio Miranda filed a lawsuit in 2014, accusing Major League Baseball teams of colluding to eliminate competition. The lawsuit challenged the reserve clause, which binds minor leaguers into contracts with their teams for seven years. That suit was dismissed in September 2015. However, another lawsuit was filed in October last year — known as Senne vs. the Office of the Commissioner of Baseball — alleging that minor leaguers were victims of violations of state and federal minimum wage laws. Senne et. al. suffered a setback this summer when U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph Spero of the U.S. District Court in San Francisco dismissed class certification. That essentially meant that the players could not file a class-action lawsuit. As a result, the players’ legal team led by Garrett Broshuis amended their case to only include players who play in one league for an entire season. As Norris notes, that means that the included players’ experiences are uniform enough for inclusion in a class-action lawsuit.
So that’s why Minor League Baseball established a political action committee (PAC). A PAC, for the unfamiliar, is an organization created with the intent of raising money to defeat a particular candidate, legislation, or ballot initiative. In other words, they’re getting serious and want Capitol Hill’s help.
Minor League Baseball president Stan Brand said, “Because of procedurally what has happened in the Congress and the difficulties in getting legislation, we’ve got to adjust to that. We were lucky. We had the ability because of the depth of the relationships and involvement in the communities to not have to worry about that. And now we do, I think. The PAC . . . gives us another tool to re-enforce who we are and why we’re important.”
Norris mentions in his column that Phillies minor league outfielder Dylan Cozens received the Joe Baumann Award for leading the minors with 40 home runs. That came with an $8,000 prize. Cozens said that the prize was more than he made all season. The minor league regular season spanned from April 7 to September 5, about six months. Athletes aren’t paid in the other six months which includes offseason training and spring training. They are also not paid for participating in instructional leagues and the Arizona Fall League. Minor leaguers lack union representation, which is why their fight for fair pay has been such an uphill battle.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the White Sox and Nationals are making “strong progress” on a trade involving ace Chris Sale. Most reports coming out on Monday night suggest that a deal isn’t likely to be consummated until Tuesday at the earliest.
Sale, 27, has pitched in the majors over parts of seven seasons. He owns a career 74-50 record with a 3.00 ERA and a 1,244/260 K/BB ratio in 1,110 innings. The lefty will earn $12 million in 2017, then has a club option for 2018 worth $12.5 million with a $1 million buyout as well as a 2019 club option worth $13.5 million with a $1 million buyout. Relative to what he would earn if he were a free agent today, Sale’s remaining salary is a bargain.
The Nationals would likely have to part with several of their top prospects. MLB Pipeline lists pitcher Lucas Giolito, outfielder Victor Robles, and pitcher Reynoldo Lopez in the club’s top-three.
Adding Sale would arguably give the Nationals claim to the best starting rotation in baseball as he would join 2016 NL Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg.
There are other teams in the mix for Sale. The Red Sox and Astros have also talked with the White Sox about the lefty’s services.