Rafael Soriano is among the various players “snubbed” from the All-Star game, which apparently upset the Nationals closer and quite a few of his teammates, but if MLB decides to select him as a last-minute injury replacement Soriano plans to turn them down.
James Wagner of the Washington Post describes Soriano as being “confused” by the snub and here’s how the closer described his feelings:
In this job, nothing is given. What I’ve got, I’ve earned. No one has given it to me. Things are not given. The all-star game isn’t given to anyone. There are some pitchers who can’t pitch because they have to pitch on Sunday. I’m not going anymore. If the manager comes and tells me tomorrow, I’ll say I’m not going because I don’t want to be given anything. Things are not given, they’re earned. And if it’s by numbers, look up at the numbers of all the closers. Where am I? I’ll go home and spend three, four days there and I’ll forget about this.
Odds are pretty decent that Soriano would have been chosen as a replacement, since injuries and pitching schedules knock numerous players out of the mix every year in the days leading up to the game. Seemingly half of the “snubs” end up getting in anyway.
Soriano is certainly deserving of an All-Star spot with a 1.00 ERA and 33/11 K/BB ratio in 36 innings to go with a decade-long track record of excellence, but tons of relievers have great first halves every year and more so than any other position/role the competition is fierce. And spending a few days at home in the Dominican Republic with his family isn’t the worst thing ever.
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Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.
There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.
Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.
According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Cardinals are keeping an eye on outfield prospect Luis Robert. The 19-year-old left his native Cuba last November and is expected to command interest from multiple MLB teams as he approaches free agency. Goold adds that the Cardinals sent scouts to evaluate Robert’s workouts in the Dominican Republic as recently as last week.
There’s still a good chance that the club won’t get a shot at signing him; as Craig mentioned last month, it seems likely that Major League Baseball won’t declare Robert a free agent until after June 15. By July 2, the new Collective Bargaining Agreement’s policies on international bonuses will go into effect, handcuffing teams with the maximum penalty for bonuses to a $300,000 signing figure for any available international prospect. It’s designed to effectively take away those teams’ abilities to sign additional international talent, and the Cardinals have already spent a reported $9.35 million in bonuses on Venezuelan outfielder Victor Garcia, Cuban outfielders Jonatan Machado and Randy Arozarena and Cuban right-hander Johan Oviedo.
Until the cutoff in mid-June, the Cardinals are likely to continue actively scouting other international talent, including Robert. MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez quotes an anonymous National League scouting director who describes Robert as the No. 2 talent behind Japanese wunderkind Shohei Otani. The 19-year-old hit .286/.319/.397 with a .716 OPS during a 16-game run in the Canadian-American League in 2016, following up an impressive three-year tenure with the Ciego de Avila in the Cuban National Series from 2013-2015.