On August 18, a Sunday night game nationally broadcast on ESPN, Red Sox starter Ryan Dempster attempted to hit Yankees third baseman and embattled drama magnet Alex Rodriguez with a series of fastballs. On the first pitch, the right-hander threw it behind the slugger’s legs, the next two pitches weren’t inside enough, and the fourth landed on A-Rod’s bicep just above his elbow.
In the aftermath, Dempster received a five-game suspension from Major League Baseball. The controversy revived the debate on the need for players to take justice into their own hands and which offenses were legitimate.
Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz does not think his teammate handled the situation appropriately. Via CSN New England:
“I didn’t like it,” Ortiz told USA Today. “I don’t think it was the right thing to do.
“But we don’t all think alike, and the guy who did it, Dempster, is a great guy.
“It’s not that I didn’t think it was right because Alex and I are friends, because once you cross the white lines, everyone’s on their own. But we’ve got Tampa right on our heels, and that pitch woke up a monster in the Yankees’ team at that moment. You saw how the game ended up. CC [Sabathia] was throwing 91 [mph] and started throwing 96. Alex later hit one way out there. You’re talking about a good team that you can’t wake up. But we learn from our mistakes.”
The Yankees entered tonight’s game against the Rays on a five-game winning streak, which started on that fateful night on August 18. Though the Yankees are in fourth place, they are only six games behind the first place Red Sox in the AL East and 3.5 games out of the second Wild Card in the American League.
After letting rumors of the deal percolate for the last week, the Athletics officially announced their two-year, $11 million contract with right-hander Santiago Casilla on Friday (and threw a little bit of shade at the Giants, too). As previously reported, the contract includes an extra $3 million in performance bonuses.
Casilla, 36, got his major league start with Oakland back in 2004, racking up a 5.11 ERA and four saves over six seasons in the A’s bullpen. After picking up a minor league deal with the Giants in 2010, the righty flitted in and out of the closing role with varying degrees of success. Notwithstanding a slight downturn in his production rate during the 2016 season, he earned 123 saves and a 2.42 ERA during the past seven years in San Francisco. Securing another closing role might be a little tougher across the Bay, however, with a bullpen that includes fellow closers Ryan Madson, Ryan Dull and Sean Doolittle.
Why is this man smiling? Man, I wouldn’t be smiling if I read what I just read.
This is the week when ESPN’s Keith Law releases his prospect and farm system rankings. He kicks off his content this week with a top-to-bottom ranking of all 30 farm systems. As a rule he limits his analysis to players who are currently in the minors and who have not yet exhausted their rookie of the year eligibility.
For the second straight year, Law ranks the Braves as the best system in baseball. Number two — making a big leap from last year’s number 13 ranking – is the New York Yankees. Dead last: the Arizona Diamondbacks, which Law says “Dave Stewart ritually disemboweled” over the past two years. That’s gotta hurt.
If you want to know the reasons and the rankings of everyone in between you’ll have to get an ESPN Insider subscription. Sorry, I know everyone hates to pay for content on the Internet, but Keith and others who do this kind of work put a lot of damn work into it and this is what pays their bills. I typically don’t like to pay for content myself, but I do pay for an ESPN Insider subscription. It’s worth it for Law’s work alone.