The Phillies had a surfeit of expendable players that were perfect for other teams, but the club stood pat as the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline passed. GM Ruben Amaro said other GM’s were overvaluing prospects, and that his demands for his own players were reasonable.
With the August 31 waiver deadline just a week away, Amaro is still shocked he hasn’t been able to arrive at a deal, particularly for closer Jonathan Papelbon. Papelbon has been among the game’s best closers this season, sporting a 1.49 ERA with 31 saves, but he is owed $13 million 2015 and is likely to have his $13 million option for 2016 vest as well. That’s why Papelbon passed through waivers. Well, that and his still-declining velocity and a strikeout rate near a career-low. And also, he’s 33 years old. And also, Papelbon has said he only wants to close if he is moved anywhere else. And also, he said he wants to play for a winner.
Via Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, Amaro also defended the closer’s abrasive personality and blunt comments, saying, “He gets ticked because we’re not winning. I don’t blame him.”
Looks like the Phillies might be stuck with Papelbon for a while, but they’ll try to find a taker in the off-season. Amaro has said he’s willing to include cash in a trade to move Papelbon elsewhere.
Cubs starter Jake Arrieta, the defending National League Cy Young Award winner and author of two no-hitters, considered quitting baseball a few years ago when he was bounced up and down between the major leagues and the Orioles’ Triple-A affiliate in Norfolk, Virginia.
At the time, Arrieta was having trouble living up to his potential as one of the Orioles’ top pitching prospects. He started on Opening Day in 2012, but finished the season with a 6.20 ERA and was very quickly moved back to Norfolk after four mediocre starts to begin the 2013 season.
As CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney reports, Arrieta was considering quitting baseball so that his family could have a regular life.
We were at a point where I had other things that I could segue into and establish a career elsewhere. Not that I wanted that to happen, but I didn’t want to continue to go through the things we were going through and moving from place to place in the minor leagues at 25, 26 years old.
Baseball is something that I’ve loved to do since I was a little kid, but it’s not everything. I had to reevaluate some things. I knew I could always pitch this way, but there were times where it seemed like maybe I wasn’t going to get to that point.
It’s just part of life that we had to deal with.
Mooney also points out that Arrieta had a business background having gone to Texas Christian University and would have done something in that field if he had hung up the spikes.
This has been brought up because Arrieta’s teammate Tommy La Stella considered quitting baseball as well recently, as the Cubs demoted him to Triple-A. Though La Stella received a lot of criticism, Arrieta can relate to La Stella. The right-hander said, “I know that there were things that he was going through and dealing with (that) we may not agree with and understand.”
There’s an interesting article over that the New York Times in the wake of the Colin Kaepernick stuff. This one is about the history of the National Anthem at sporting events.
The anthem is a fixture for as long as those of us reading this blog have been attending games and it’d be weird if it wasn’t there. But it hasn’t always been there, the Times notes. Indeed, it was not a regular fixture until 1942 when it was added for the obvious reason that we were at war. The other major sports leagues all adopted the anthem soon after. The NBA at the inception of the league in 1946 and the NHL in the same year. The NFL’s spokesman doesn’t mention a year, but notes that it’s a non-negotiable part of the game experience. The non-negotiability of it is underscored by the comment from the MLS spokesman who notes that they felt that they had no choice but to play the anthem when that league began play in the 1990s.
I like the anthem at ballgames. It just seems like part of the experience. I like it for its own sake, at least if the performance isn’t too over the top, and I like it because it serves as a nice demarcation between all of the pregame b.s. and the actual game starting.
But this article reminds us that there is no immutable structural reason for the anthem at games. Other countries don’t play their own anthems at their sporting events. We don’t play it before movies or plays or other non-sports performances. It’s a thing that we do which, however much of a tradition it has become, is somewhat odd when you think about it for a moment. And which has to seem pretty rote to the actual ballplayers who hear it maybe 180 times a year.