The Brewers released a political attack ad spoof Tuesday against Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina as part of a campaign to get Jonathan Lucroy more votes for the National League All-Star team. You can probably guess how that went over in St. Louis.
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny addressed the video Wednesday with reporters and Dan O’Neill of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch gathered some quotes:
“I saw it and, you know, it caught me a little by surprise,” Matheny said. “I get that a lot of it was trying to be maybe tongue in cheek a little bit, but … it caught me by surprise. I think you have to take it in the nature that it was meant, and it was … obviously geared toward their fan base. It’s just amazing that it was that much directed at our organization. I think that caught me off guard the most.”
Jim Hayes, a reporter for the Cardinals’ regional television network FOX Sports Midwest, said Wednesday morning on a St. Louis radio show that a rebuttal to the attack ad was in the works featuring “sound from Cardinals players,” but Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports that the club requested they nix the idea.
This should only grow the reputation that the Cardinals and their fans take themselves far too seriously.
Winning is important — and the Cards win a whole lot — but this is pro baseball, not moral jousting.
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.