Mike Trout did something for the first time on Saturday

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Mike Trout has achieved a lot for someone who has had only two full seasons in the Major Leagues. He’s led the league in runs twice, and led once each in stolen bases and walks while lapping his competition in terms of WAR. But on Saturday afternoon against the Tigers, Trout achieved something he had never done in 352 career games.

He struck out four times, earning the golden sombrero. Tigers starter Max Scherzer struck out Trout three times and closer Joe Nathan notched the fourth in the top of the ninth. Entering the afternoon, Trout had struck out thrice in a single game 15 times, accounting for a paltry 4.3 percent of his games played.

Tigers manager Brad Ausmus isn’t going to get excited about it:

With the 0-for-4 performance, Trout lost his AL lead in OPS, sliding behind Alexei Ramirez, 1.044 to 1.019. Trout, however, still leads the league in slugging percentage, .639 to Ramirez’s .621.

The Marlins made an empty threat. Giancarlo Stanton made an empty promise.

Associated Press
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I covered the main press conference about Giancarlo Stanton earlier, but afterward he and his agents fanned out to various TV shows, radio shows and reporter scrums from which some new, fun things have spun out. Part of what they’ve talked about is silly and meaningless, part of it just meaningless.

Here’s the silly and meaningless, from a Marlins official, apparently, trying to bully Stanton into accepting either the Giants or the Cardinals trades despite the fact that he told them beforehand that he was not willing to go to either of those teams:

This is silly because it comes off like a threat. Like the worst possible thing that can happen to a guy is to stay with the very team that is making the threat. It’s like telling your wife that if she does not leave you, she’s stuck with you forever.

It’s meaningless too, in that Stanton has an opt-out clause after 2020. If the Marlins could not make a trade Stanton would approve, he’d simply collect close to $90 million and then leave at age 30. Oooh, don’t throw me into that briar patch, Mr. Jeter!

Not that Stanton’s people are offering statements of serious gravitas. His agent was asked about Stanton’s opt-out rights, which he retains even though he’s now with the Yankees:

That may very well be true! He just got here and everything is going great so far. It’s totally empty, of course, because anything can happen between now and the fall of 2020. If the big time free agents of the next two years sign for the sort of money that makes Stanton look underpaid, he’ll certainly opt-out, even if he wants to stay with the Yankees. Ask Alex Rodriguez and CC Sabathia how that works. The opt-out clause is pure, unadulterated leverage for a player and unless he totally craters over the next three seasons he’ll most certainly use it, regardless of present desires.

Which, hey, that’s how things work when a big trade or free agent signing happens. Everyone who has lost looks bad and everyone who won sounds happy. Then, later, the baseball happens.