Plaschke

Great Moments in Puig Derangement Syndrome

25 Comments

Unless and until Yasiel Puig is ever talked and written about as a normal human being instead of some scary monster which portends dread and personifies all of our darkest fears, we’re gonna start handing out awards. With apologies to Charles Krauthammer, who coined the term Bush Derangement Syndrome, our awards will commemorate Great Moments in Yasiel Puig Derangement Syndrome.

The definition of Puig Derangement Syndrome:  “the acute onset of paranoia in otherwise normal people in reaction to the play, the acts —nay—the very existence of Yasiel Puig.” Statements of criticism of Yasiel Puig which appear to be of an emotional origin rather than based in fact or logic.

While some may say this should be called the Plaschke Award for Los Angeles Times’ columnist Bill Plaschke’s perfection of the form, in reality, CBS’ Scott Miller is the gold standard here. That was All-Star work, while Plaschke’s Puig Derangement is more of the lunch bucket variety. He puts in the time and will even be sure to lash out at Puig even when he doesn’t have his best stuff. You gotta respect that kind of dedication.

Today is a great example, as his Puig Derangement operates on two different fronts in one single column. First, he uses his game story to note Puig’s shortcomings in last night’s game, despite the fact that Puig did nothing of consequence, good or bad, that even came remotely close to affecting the outcome of the game:

One of the few familiar sights at Petco was the play of Yasiel Puig, who encapsulated his 2013 struggles in the first inning alone, striking out wildly on three pitches and then overthrowing the cutoff man from right field.

Carl Crawford struck out three times and Andre Ethier twice, but I guess those weren’t as bad as Puig’s one strikeout. And that throw that missed the cutoff man arguably could have gotten the runner heading to third had Hanley Ramirez not intercepted it, but we’ll let that go. We have a narrative to pound. Perhaps as many as a thousand times!

That alone would not have gotten Plaschke notice for his Puig Derangement Syndrome, however. For that we have to keep reading:

In more Puig news — can there ever be enough? — there has been clarification on a report last week that Mattingly called a team meeting about Puig. Actually, it was Puig who summoned several players hanging around the clubhouse and asked them if anybody had a problem with the way he played.

One veteran spoke up. Then another. Both had the same problem, that Puig was playing too fast and loose with their championship hopes.

There is no sign yet that he has listened, but at least on this night, the losing story revolved around the older guys.

This is Plaschke backing off his column of last week in which he talked about how “Don Mattingly held a meeting” in which Puig was lectured by his manager and team veterans about his recklessness. As we noted yesterday, however, the real story was that Puig himself called that meeting in order to ask his teammates how he could get better. Now that the meeting tends to put Puig in a better light, however, it’s no longer a meeting to Plaschke. It’s an informal thing in which Puig basically shouted at veterans “asking them if they had a problem” with him, which is clearly designed to make Puig look belligerent and confrontational. Guys like Puig don’t have meetings, you see. They summon people and put them uncomfortably on the spot. And, of course, it is assumed that he didn’t listen to them.

Excellent work, Bill. Keep this up and we may just name Great Moments in Puig Derangement Syndrome the “Bill Plaschke Awards” after all!

Report: Rays having “advanced talks” with free agent reliever Tommy Hunter

Leave a comment

ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reported this morning that free agent reliever Tommy Hunter required core muscle repair surgery earlier this offseason. Coming off a disappointing 2015, it’s understandable why he’s still on the market, but it sounds like he has at least one significant lead.

Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times hears that the Rays are having “advanced talks” with Hunter as they attempt to add an experienced arm to their bullpen. Nothing is considered close and Hunter is also talking to other clubs. Meanwhile, the Rays have been in touch with veteran reliever Ryan Webb while monitoring the trade market.

Hunter posted a 2.88 ERA as a late-inning arm from 2013-2014, but he compiled a mediocre 4.18 ERA over 58 appearances last season between the Orioles and Cubs. On the bright side, his velocity has held steady and his control is still very good. Despite the down year and core muscle surgery, Topkin writes that Hunter may be holding out for a multi-year deal.

Pirates sign left-hander Cory Luebke

Cory Luebke Getty
Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Eric O'Flaherty wasn’t the only reclamation project added by the Pirates today, as the club also announced that they have signed left-hander Cory Luebke to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Luebke once looked like a solid rotation piece for the Padres, but he hasn’t thrown a pitch in the majors since April 27, 2012. He’s undergone a pair of Tommy John surgeries since. Now 30 years old, he logged seven innings in the minors last season before requiring a procedure to remove loose bodies around a nerve in his forearm. The Padres cut ties with him in November after declining a $7.5 million club option for 2016.

It’s hard to count on much from Luebke at this point, but he told Adam Berry of MLB.com that he feels healthy and hopes to compete for a bullpen job in the spring.

White Sox reportedly considering Ian Desmond

Ian Desmond
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin
4 Comments

Many have speculated on a potential match between the White Sox and Ian Desmond this winter, but we haven’t heard much in the way of legitimate interest. That could be changing with spring training right around the corner, as MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reports that Chicago is among the teams considering the free agent shortstop.

After turning the page on Alexei Ramirez this offseason, the White Sox currently have Tyler Saladino in line to serve as their starting shortstop in 2016. The 26-year-old is considered a strong defender, but he batted .225/.267/.335 with four homers over 254 plate appearances as a rookie in 2015. Desmond is coming off a nightmare of a walk year and has seen his strikeout rate climb by 8.5 percent since 2012, but he possesses more offensive upside and it’s not hard to imagine a bounceback campaign while calling U.S. Cellular Field home.

Similar to fellow free agents Yovani Gallardo and Dexter Fowler, Desmond is attached to draft pick compensation after turning down a one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer from the Nationals. It’s a big reason why a potential deal with the Rays is reported to be a “long shot.” Chicago’s No. 10 overall pick in this year’s draft is protected, so they would give up their No. 28 overall pick if they sign a qualifying offer free agent like Desmond.

Pirates sign reliever Eric O’Flaherty

Eric O'Flaherty
Leave a comment

Left-hander Eric O'Flaherty has agreed to a minor-league deal with the Pirates that includes an invitation to spring training.

O’Flaherty was one of the best relievers in the league for the Braves from 2009-2013, posting a combined 1.99 ERA in 249 innings, but Tommy John elbow surgery derailed his career and he struggled for the A’s and Mets in 2015 while dealing with shoulder problems.

It’s tough to know if O’Flaherty is healthy at this point, but the 31-year-old southpaw certainly has a chance to be a nice reclamation project for the Pirates on a no-risk contract.