As far as I can tell this is Matt Garza’s Twitter account. He keeps it locked which, all things considered, is not a bad move for an athlete who is actually going to use social media for social purposes as opposed to P.R. purposes. He must allow a lot of people to follow him, reporters included, because Paul Sullivan of the Tribune reports that Garza told off some Cubs fans last week:
Most observant fans already have deemed the 2013 season a hopeless cause, despite their improved play against the lowly Marlins.
But rehabbing Cubs starter Matt Garza had enough of such talk last week, and went on a Twitter rant against what he termed “fake” fans “who do nothing but talk smack.” In one tweet, Garza wrote he was “just tired of the so-called diehards being negative! Negativity breeds negativity! So break the cycle.”
OK, that’s not exactly a Lee Elia moment, but it’s inspired by the same thing: negativity from Cubs fans.
Sullivan takes off from that to ask aloud what fans are supposed to feel about a clearly bad, but clearly rebuilding team. Is negativity cool? Should it all be leavened by an understanding of where the team is in the success cycle? It’s an interesting conversation, even if the answer always does — and probably should — come back to “well, fans can feel whatever the hell they want. The team’s job is to get better.”
Update (7:01 PM EDT): David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports the deal has been completed.
ESPN’s Keith Law reported on Saturday evening that a bad contract swap involving the Braves’ Hector Olivera and the Padres’ Matt Kemp was “getting close.” Olivera has been pulled off the field, per Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that only a last-second medical would kill the deal at this point, and that the Padres will be sending money to the Braves.
Kemp, 31, will have $64.5 million remaining on his contract through 2019 after this season, but the Dodgers will pay $3.5 million annually over those remaining three years, so the $64.5 million is really $54 million. The veteran has compiled a .262/.285/.489 triple-slash line with 23 home runs and 69 RBI in 431 plate appearances for the Padres this season.
Olivera, 31, will have $28.5 million remaining on his contract through 2020 after this season. The outfielder was handed an 82-game suspension, beginning on May 26, for his involvement in a domestic dispute on April 13. The suspension is up on August 2. He has a .501 OPS in 21 major league at-bats this season and a .278 OPS in 37 PA at Triple-A.
Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the Padres will consider designating Olivera for assignment. The trade is all about the salary dump for the Padres, as they’d rather give outfield playing time to prospects Hunter Renfroe and Manuel Margot.
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.