Buster Olney of ESPN.com has a juicy rumor, reporting that the Diamondbacks and Cubs are talking about a potential Jeff Samardzija trade after previously engaging in some talks around the trade deadline.
Samardzija is 29 years old and under team control for 2014 and 2015, but he’s about to get expensive via arbitration and failed to build on a nice 2012 by taking a step backward this year. Of course, even that step backward included racking up 214 strikeouts in 214 innings, but Samardzija posted a 4.33 ERA and now has a 4.32 ERA in 66 career starts.
Adding to the intrigue of a potential move to Arizona is that Samardzija and then-Diamondbacks third base coach Matt Williams got into a weird little shouting match during a June game and afterward Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson told reporters that Samardzija should “shut the [bleep] up and pitch.” Williams is now the Nationals’ manager and Gibson would surely be willing to forget and forgive to add a mid-90s throwing starter to the rotation.
Sam Miller of ESPN has an amazingly fantastic story today. It’s about a high school tournament baseball game in Rhode Island in 2006. It’s not your typical game story or oral history or look-to-the-past-to-see-the-future kind of thing. The only nod to such conventionality is mention of the fact that former Red Sox prospect Ryan Westmoreland played in the game. That’s mostly a footnote.
No, the article is about a trick play — “skunk in the outfield” — concocted by one of the coaches. About how it played out and what went into it before, during and after it happened. Along the way Miller talks about the nature of trick plays and offers a good three dozen amazing insights into the psychology of young baseball players and the strategy of baseball as it unfolds in real time.
Each of these observations could anchor its own story but here they form a grand mosaic. And that’s only mild hyperbole, if in fact it’s hyperbole at all. Indeed, most treatments of such a play would be some video clip with a “wow, look what happened here!” sort of couching. Miller gives a more than ten-year-old trick play an epic treatment that is every bit as enlightening as it is entertaining.
Set some time aside to read this today.
This is unfortunate: Diamondbacks reliever Rubby De La Rosa will undergo Tommy John surgery. This will be the second Tommy John procedure of his career, the first coming back in 2011.
De La Rosa has had elbow issues for his entire career. Last year his UCL was barking again and he underwent stem cell therapy to try to avoid a second surgery, but it obviously hasn’t worked out. He’s pitched in only nine games this year, allowing four earned runs in seven and two-thirds innings, striking out 12.
I first saw De La Rosa in spring training in 2011. I thought his stuff was pretty phenomenal and figured he’d be a good one. Great stuff is often a function of heavy strain on an elbow, however, and pitchers breaking is, unfortunately, the rule in baseball far more than the exception.
He’ll miss a year at least. We likely won’t see him until spring of 2019, most likely on a minor league deal.