Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

Tyler Cravy might seek “a 9 to 5 job where I get treated like a human, at this point.”

18 Comments

Brewers reliever Tyler Cravy wasn’t happy when he received the news that he and bullpen mate Rob Scahill did not make the team’s 25-man roster to open the regular season. Both will start with Triple-A Colorado Springs. That is, if Cravy doesn’t seek employment in a completely new field.

Per Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Cravy says he might seek “a 9 to 5 job where I get treated like a human, at this point.” He added, “It would just be nice to have the honesty straight up front instead of, ‘Hey, you’re competing for a job,’ then literally out-compete everyone and be told, ‘Sorry, we have other plans.'” Scahill doesn’t see the Brewers releasing him, rather, “I think it would just be me deciding to quit if I chose that route. I’m just not sure I want to play for guys who treat you like this.”

Scahill isn’t happy, either. He thinks his status as a non-roster invitee worked against him in his quest to make the roster. He said, “I would assume that it did (work against me). But, again, that’s not my call. I felt like I pitched well enough to win a job, but they’re going in a different direction.” Scahill continued, “I’m not the one who makes the decisions. I’m not happy but it’s part of the game. I understand that but it doesn’t make it any easier.”

Both pitchers performed admirably this spring. Cravy pitched 13 1/3 innings, yielding only three runs on five hits and three walks with 11 strikeouts. Scahill logged 12 1/3 innings, giving up just one run on nine hits and a walk with eight strikeouts.

It’s easy to write off Cravy and Scahill’s frustration, but it’s understandable. Among Brewers pitchers to rack up double-digit innings in spring training, Wily Peralta — whose roster spot was already guaranteed — was the only one with a spring ERA in the same neighborhood at 0.71. Despite pitching much better than could have been reasonably expected, both are now faced with the prospect of lower pay, long bus rides instead of plane trips, and motels instead of hotels in the minor leagues.

GM David Stearns empathized with Cravy and Scahill. He said, “Our job is to manage the organization the best we can to get as many wins as possible as we can. I understand players are going to be emotional. I certainly understand players are disappointed when they performed well and aren’t immediately rewarded for that performance. It happens a lot in this industry. It’s one of the more challenging parts of this industry when players perform well and there’s not that immediate reward. So, I certainly understand that disappointment.”

MLB managers weigh in on anthem protests

Getty Images
Leave a comment

No other Major League Baseball player has taken a knee during the National Anthem since Athletics’ catcher Bruce Maxwell‘s protest on Saturday night. The demonstration was sparked by President Donald Trump’s call for the boycott of the National Football League and the firing of any player who chose not to stand during the anthem. The comments drew harsh criticism from many NFL players, coaches and owners and more than a few in MLB have also lended their support. There is still one game left to play on Sunday, but it’s unclear whether any of Maxwell’s league-mates will show their solidarity by refusing to stand as well.

Given a baseball culture that tends toward conformity more often than not, it seems unlikely. But it’s something league managers are prepared for — even if they don’t all agree with the demonstrations themselves.

White Sox’ skipper Rick Renteria specifically addressed Maxwell’s protest on Sunday, speaking to the league’s policy of inclusivity:

None of the White Sox knelt prior to their series finale against the Royals. Neither did members of the Pirates or the Cardinals, though St. Louis manager Mike Matheny and Pittsburgh GM Neal Huntington both weighed in on the situation.

Matheny called the president’s comments “hurtful” and, like the Cubs’ Joe Maddon, appeared content to leave the decision to protest up to each player.

The Pirates, meanwhile, took a firmer tone. “We appreciate our players’ desire and ability to express their opinions respectfully and when done properly,” GM Huntington told Elizabeth Bloom of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “When done appropriately and properly, we certainly have respect for our players’ ability to voice their opinion.”

Just what the Pirates consider “appropriate and proper” protocol was left up in the air, and club president Frank Coonelly offered no further insights in a separate statement to the press. Setting strict parameters for players to voice their opinions kind of puts them in a gray area, one they’ll have to clear up should someone elect to protest in the days to come, either with a bent knee and a hand over their heart or in some other fashion.

Equally ambiguous were comments from Dodgers’ manager Dave Roberts, who claimed to oppose the movement for personal, if misguided reasons, but also respected the right of his players to make an “educated” statement in protest.

The Indians’ Terry Francona took what was perhaps the most balanced approach of the entire group:

“It’s easy for me to sit here and say, ‘Well, I think this is the greatest country in the world,’ because I do,” Francona told MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian. “But, I also haven’t walked in other people’s shoes. So, until I think, not just our country, but our world, until we realize that, hey, people are actually equal — it shouldn’t be a revelation — and the different doesn’t mean less. It’s just different. We’ve got work to do.”

These may all be moot points. Maxwell may be the only player to formally protest Trump’s comments, despite the good intentions of his teammates and fellow players around the league. Others may feel too ambivalent, threatened or uncomfortable to protest what the A’s catcher referred to as a “racial divide,” especially in a way that is routinely perceived as unpatriotic.

Even if the protests made by NFL players and Bruce Maxwell fail to gain momentum, however, the underlying issues they speak to are not going away anytime soon. Here, then, is where MLB managers can help foster a more inclusive environment throughout the league, not only showing respect for a player’s decision to stand against racism but actively partnering with those who do so. It’s not a perfect solution, but it’s a start.

Nationals plan to activate Bryce Harper on Monday

Patrick Smith/Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Nationals are planning to activate Bryce Harper from the 10-day disabled list on Monday, Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post reports. Janes adds that Harper has been taking his knee injury on a day-to-day basis, so if he experiences pain ahead of tomorrow’s series opener in Philadelphia, then the Nationals won’t activate him.

Harper, 24, suffered a knee injury running out a grounder last month against the Giants. The Nationals hope to get him into some game action before the end of the regular season just so he can get acclimated in time for the playoffs.

When Harper returns, he’ll look to improve on his .326/.419/.614 slash line with 29 home runs, 87 RBI, and 92 runs scored in 472 plate appearances.