St. Louis has played on Sunday night in two straight weeks as part of ESPN’s “Sunday Night Baseball” game, with another appearance slated for May 25, and Cardinals manager Mike Matheny is sick of having a different schedule than other teams.
Here’s what he told Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch:
That reply, “Consider yourself lucky”–that doesn’t mean anything to us. Our job is to win games, and I feel that this is something that affects us one way or another. Nobody is going to give us any sympathy on this but if you’re seeking an honest reply and what they keep telling us–consider it fortunate–it just doesn’t fit to us. …
It is a compliment that they want to see us on the national scene. (But) I don’t think it’s taken into consideration at all that it makes it harder for us. You get back at 4 a.m. and have to play the next day? You’re telling me that’s not going to affect you? We’re not looking for excuses, but it’s happened to us. You start watching guys get run down.
It’s certainly a fair point and one I’ve heard raised by prominent NFL teams that frequently play on Thursday, Sunday, and Monday nights instead of the usual Sunday afternoons, but like Matheny says it’s tough to feel sorry for a team when the reason their schedule is different is that they’re consistently so good and everyone wants to watch them in primetime.
Goold notes that the Cardinals’ upcoming May 25 appearance on “Sunday Night Baseball” is followed the next day by an afternoon game against the Yankees, so that’s exactly the type of quick turnaround Matheny is frustrated by.
According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Nationals infielder Danny Espinosa declined to attend the team’s annual Winterfest because of his dissatisfaction with management following their trade for outfielder Adam Eaton.
A source told Castillo that Espinosa’s unhappiness stemmed from a belief that the acquisition would jeopardize his starting role in 2017. With Eaton in center field, Trea Turner will likely return to his post at shortstop, leaving Espinosa out in the cold — or, as the case may be, on the bench. The move shouldn’t come as a big surprise to Espinosa, however, as Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo spoke to the possibility of trading the infielder or reassigning him to a utility role back in early November.
Offensively, the 29-year-old had a down year in 2016, slashing just .209/.306/.378 with 24 home runs in 601 PA. Defensively, he still profiles among the top shortstops in the National League, with eight DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) and 8.3 Def (Defensive Runs Above Average) in his seventh year with the club.
Espinosa will reach free agency after the 2017 season.
The Red Sox might be trying to move the wrong pitcher, according to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo. Cafardo revealed that while the Sox have been trying to market right-hander Clay Buchholz, more teams would be interested in trades involving southpaw Drew Pomeranz.
The club appears reluctant to deal Pomeranz, especially because his price tag comes in at a cool $4.7 million to Buchholz’s $13.5 million in 2017. Those who have already expressed interest in the veteran hurlers, including the Twins, Mariners and Royals, also seem put off by Buchholz’s salary requirements as he enters his 32nd year.
Health could be another factor preventing teams from jumping to make trade offers, as Cafardo quotes an AL executive who believes the “medicals on both Pomeranz and Buchholz probably aren’t that great.” Neither pitcher suffered any major injuries during the 2016 season, though Pomeranz missed just over a week of play due to forearm soreness.
Pomeranz outperformed his fellow starter in 2016, pitching to a 3.32 ERA and career-best 9.8 K/9 through 170 2/3 innings with the Padres and Red Sox. He got off to an exceptionally strong start in San Diego, where his ERA dropped to 2.47 through the first half of the year before the Padres dealt him to Boston for minor league right-hander Anderson Espinoza. Buchholz, on the other hand, struggled with a 4.78 ERA and saw a decline in both his BB/9 and K/9 rates as he worked out a career-low 1.69 K/BB through 139 1/3 innings with the Sox.