Cardinals southpaw Jaime Garcia has made just 16 starts since the beginning of the 2013 campaign and is scheduled to have season-ending surgery on his shoulder this week for thoracic outlet syndrome.
Those facts alone would be ample reason for John Mozeliak and the Cardinals to feel disappointed, but it sounds like a lack of communication from the 27-year-old left-hander is what’s truly bothering the normally calm and calculated general manager.
MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch has the story …
The consensus has been that Jaime Garcia’s trip to the disabled list stemmed from issues with his surgically repaired left shoulder, but the dejected left-hander admitted Saturday he is dealing with nerve issues and was strongly considering surgery.
That was news to Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak, who after learning of Garcia’s comments, held an impromptu session with reporters shortly before first pitch to announce that the lefty would meet with Dr. Robert Thompson in St. Louis on Monday as a precursor to season-ending surgery.
“I sound frustrated, look frustrated. I’m frustrated,” Mozeliak said. “You try to be patient with people, and I think this organization does an amazing job protecting players. Certainly we would have loved to have heard from him.”
“To go from DL to this, it’s been rather quick,” Mozeliak added. “In terms of where we were yesterday to where we are today, it does seem rather dramatic and quick. Obviously he internalized this and decided to make a decision. If this is something he feels is his only option, then obviously he has to do it. It still doesn’t excuse the fact that he could have notified us a little bit more. … From a medical staff, we felt like there were some other options he could consider before taking this step. Obviously, again, he chose to go down this path.”
Garcia is making $7.75 million this season, owed $9.25 million next season, and carries club options for 2016 ($11.5 million) and 2017 ($12 million). He may have already thrown his last pitch in a St. Louis uniform.
Craig covered the bulk of Rob Manfred’s quotes from earlier. The commissioner was asked about robot umpires and he’s not a fan. Via Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports:
Manfred was wrong to blame the player’s union’s “lack of cooperation” on proposed rule changes, but he’s right about robot umps and the strike zone. The obvious point is that robot umps cannot yet call balls and strikes with greater accuracy than umpires. Those strike zone Twitter accounts, such as this, are sometimes hilariously wrong. Even the strike zone graphics used on television are incorrect and unfortunate percentage of the time.
The first issue to consider about robot umps is taking jobs away from people. There are 99 umps and more in the minors. If robot umpiring was adopted in collegiate baseball, as well as the independent leagues, that’s even more umpires out of work. Is it worth it for an extra one or two percent improvement in accuracy?
Personally, the fallibility of the umpires adds more intrigue to baseball games. There’s strategy involved, as each umpire has tendencies which teams can strategize against. For instance, an umpire with a more generous-than-average strike zone on the outer portion of the plate might entice a pitcher to pepper that area with more sliders than he would otherwise throw. Hitters, knowing an umpire with a smaller strike zone is behind the dish, may take more pitches in an attempt to draw a walk. Or, knowing that information, a hitter may swing for the fences on a 3-0 pitch knowing the pitcher has to throw in a very specific area to guarantee a strike call or else give up a walk.
The umpires make their mistakes in random fashion, so it adds a chaotic, unpredictable element to the game as well. It feels bad when one of those calls goes against your team, but fans often forget the myriad calls that previously went in their teams’ favor. The mistakes will mostly even out in the end.
I haven’t had the opportunity to say this often, but Rob Manfred is right in this instance.
ESPN’s Howard Bryant is reporting that Major League Baseball has approved a rule allowing for a dugout signal for an intentional walk. In other words, baseball is allowing automatic intentional walks. Bryant adds that this rule will be effective for the 2017 season.
MLB has been trying, particularly this month, to improve the pace of play. Getting rid of the formality of throwing four pitches wide of the strike zone will save a minute or two for each intentional walk. There were 932 of them across 2,428 games last season, an average of one intentional walk every 2.6 games. It’s not the biggest improvement, but it’s something at least.
Earlier, Commissioner Rob Manfred was upset with the players’ union’s “lack of cooperation.” Perhaps his public criticism was the catalyst for getting this rule passed.
Unfortunately, getting rid of the intentional walk formality will eradicate the chance of seeing any more moments like this: