Andy LaRoche continues to wander the Earth

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Not sure why I have a fascination with Andy LaRoche. Partially because I always find the lesser-half of baseball brother combinations interesting. Partially because there was about ten minutes there, back several years ago, when Andy LaRoche looked like a good prospect and I and many like-minded people mocked organizations for not appreciating his greatness. Dude hit .285/.372/.429 in the minors, and at one point back in the day that line was even higher.

Welp.

The Blue Jays DFA’d LaRoche last night. After he was called up on Friday, got his first major league action in two years on Sunday and went 0 for 4. Now he’s likely to be released again and I wouldn’t bet the banana I’m eating that he sees the bigs again. He’s had over 1,300 big league plate appearances in which to figure it out. He still hasn’t figured it out and likely never will.

It’s not important for our purposes because he’s, after all, merely Andy LaRoche. But he is a reminder that baseball is a weird game and that even things that seem so certain in one moment are never so certain the next.

Martin Maldonado and Willson Contreras say they’re willing to pay fines rather than follow new mound visit rule

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On Monday, Major League Baseball announced some changes aimed at improving the game’s pace of play, something that has been a pet cause for commissioner Rob Manfred. Among the changes was a limit on mound visits whether from managers and coaches, the catcher, or other defenders. Each team will have six non-pitching change mound visits per game and one additional visit each inning in extra innings. Craig wrote more in depth on the changes here if you happened to miss it.

Angels catcher Martin Maldonado says he is going to do what’s necessary to stay on the same page with his pitchers. Via Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register, Maldonado said, “If the game is on the line, I’m going to go out there. If we’re at six [visits], and it’s going to be the seventh, I’m going to go out there, even if I have to pay a fine. I’m there for the pitchers.”

Cubs catcher Willson Contreras said as much on Tuesday. Per Josh Frydman of WGN News, Contreras said, “What about if you have a tight game and you have to go out there? They can’t say anything about that, that’s my team and we just care about wins. If they’re going to fine me about number seven mound visit, I’ll pay the price.”

Exhibition games haven’t even started yet, but two notable backstops — the lesser-known Maldonado won a Gold Glove last year — are clearly not happy with the rule change. As Craig alluded to in his article yesterday, arguments between catchers and umpires (and, subsequently, managers and umpires) are probably going to become more frequent, which would likely end up nullifying any pace of play improvements.