Brewers Gallardo Arrested

Yovani Gallardo is going to pitch today. No one seems to care.

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Yovani Gallardo is three days removed from blowing a .22 BAC in the wee wee hours. Today’s pitching matchup in the Giants-Brewers game: Matt Cain vs. Yovani Gallardo. As far as baseball is concerned, Gallardo getting behind the wheel at three times the legal limit is a non-event. There has been and will be zero discipline for it.

Major League Baseball’s presumed rationale for this — because they’ve never, to my knowledge, explained themselves otherwise — is that there can and should be no discipline meted out to Gallardo or others who behave like he did because a DUI is not a baseball transgression.  And I suppose that holds up nicely enough. Unless, of course, you remember that:

All of that was just in the past year or so.  There are countless other examples if you go back through even recent history. Baseball and its teams can and often do suspend players and coaches for stuff that has nothing to do with baseball at all. And which involve behavior far less odious and dangerous than getting behind the wheel of a multi-ton automobile while intoxicated.

It doesn’t have to be this way. If Major League Baseball and the MLBPA felt that players driving drunk was as serious as, say, smoking a J in your apartment, they could agree that players would be subject to suspension or some other form of discipline. It wouldn’t even take that long to do. There may be a bit of haggling over when you suspend someone — right after the incident or right after they’re convicted? — but that could be easily handled and negotiated. It’s not the 1980s anymore. The league and the union are frighteningly cooperative and efficient when they want to be these days.

They have no desire to, however. Perhaps because baseball has always tolerated alcohol abuse more than it tolerates anything. Perhaps because there are still, to this day, fans who feel like Gallardo pitching poorly of late is way more offensive than Gallardo driving drunk.  But the fact that the first and seemingly only question that is asked is whether Drunk Driving Player X is able to play in the next possible game, it shows that they simply don’t care.

Maybe the league and the union will start caring after a player, as he inevitably will, kills someone while driving drunk. Hope they don’t wait that long. But it looks like they will.

Athletics trade Billy Burns to the Royals for Brett Eibner

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - MAY 13: Billy Burns #1 of the Oakland Athletics waits on deck to bat during the fourth inning of a game against the Tampa Bay Rays on May 13, 2016 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
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The Athletics and Royals swapped outfielders on Saturday. The Athletics sent Billy Burns to Kansas City and the Royals sent Brett Eibner to Oakland.

Burns, 26, doesn’t provide much in the way of offense, but he runs the bases well and plays solid defense. He was hitting .234/.270/.303 with 11 doubles, four triples, and 14 stolen bases in 274 plate appearances.

Eibner, 27, was batting .231/.286/.423 with three home runs and 10 RBI in 85 plate appearances. He has spent most of the season with Triple-A Omaha, where he’s put up a .902 OPS in 219 PA. Eibner played the outfield corners in the majors, but racked up a ton of time playing center in the minors, so his versatility will be valuable to the A’s.

Burns will become eligible for arbitration for the first time after the 2017 season while Eibner has hardly accrued any service time, which might explain part of the motivation behind the trade for the small-market Athletics.

Nationals acquire closer Mark Melancon from the Pirates

PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 20:  Mark Melancon #35 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches during the ninth inning against the Colorado Rockies on May 20, 2016 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
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The Nationals announced on Saturday afternoon that the club acquired closer Mark Melancon from the Pirates in exchange for reliever Felipe Rivero and minor league pitcher Taylor Hearn.

Melancon, 31, put together another solid season for the Pirates, leaving the club with 30 saves, a 1.51 ERA, and a 38/9 K/BB ratio in 41 2/3 innings. He led the majors last season with 51 saves and has a 1.80 ERA since joining the Pirates in 2013. Melancon is earning $9.65 million this season and can become eligible for free agency after the season.

With Melancon out of the picture, the Pirates intend to have Tony Watson take over the closer’s role.

Rivero, 25, has handled the seventh and eighth innings for the Nationals this season, compiling a 4.53 ERA and a 53/15 K/BB ratio in 49 2/3 innings. He’s just shy of one year of service time, so the Pirates will have control of him for a long time.

Hearn, 21, was rated the Nationals’ 27th-best prospect by MLB Pipeline. He was originally drafted by the Pirates in the 22nd round of the 2012 draft but he didn’t sign and ended up going back to college. The Nationals took him in the fifth round of last year’s draft. This season, between rookie ball and Single-A Hagerstown, Hearn put up a 2.79 ERA and a 39/13 K/BB ratio in 29 innings. He’s a long way away from the majors, so he’s essentially a lottery ticket for the Pirates.

The Nationals needed an upgrade at closer as Jonathan Papelbon has struggled this season. The right-hander has allowed runs in each of his last three appearances, ballooning his ERA up to 4.41 with a 30/13 K/BB ratio in 32 2/3 innings. It will be interesting to see how Papelbon, who has never made a habit of letting his feelings go unspoken, handles a demotion to the eighth inning.