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Yuli Gurriel apparently mocks Yu Darvish with slant-eye gesture, racial slur

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Astros first baseman Yuli Gurriel opened the scoring in Game 3 of the World Series by scorching a Yu Darvish fastball down the left field line for a solo home run into the Crawford Boxes at Minute Maid Park. It sparked a four-run outburst, which propelled the Astros to an eventual 5-3 victory over the Dodgers.

Gurriel seemed pleased with himself for his production. In the dugout, cameras caught him apparently mocking Darvish by slanting his eyes and he then appeared to say “chinito,” which translates to “little Chinese.” Darvish, of course, is from Japan. He considered the gesture “disrespectful,” per Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times.

Chad Moriyama of Dodgers Digest has a screencap and video of Gurriel’s actions. It’s difficult to think of any kind of scenario that makes this a whole misunderstanding. Tyler Kepner of the New York Post reports that MLB will review the incident and “consider discipline.”

On Twitter, Craig referenced a few incidents from past years in which players faced punishment for bigoted behavior. Yunel Escobar, then a shortstop for the Blue Jays, was suspended three games in September 2012 after writing an anti-gay slur in his eye black. In May this year, Blue Jays outfielder Kevin Pillar shouted a homophobic slur at Braves reliever Jason Motte and received a two-game suspension. Two months ago, Athletics outfielder Matt Joyce was also suspended two games for using an anti-gay slur when responding to a heckling fan.

There is precedent for players to be punished for such behavior, but they all happened in the regular season. Major League Baseball has an important choice to make now. If, after reviewing the situation, Gurriel was found to have been in fact mocking Darvish in a racist way, commissioner Rob Manfred can suspend Gurriel during the World Series when it would matter, taking a stand against racism. Manfred can also weasel out and wait for the completion of the World Series to announce a punishment, which would mean Gurriel pays a fine and/or misses the first few games of the 2018 regular season. Smart money is on the latter, sadly.

Report: Diamondbacks acquire Steven Souza from Rays in part of three-team deal

Tampa Bay Rays
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Update (6:35 PM ET): This is a three-team deal also involving the Diamondbacks, per Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. The Diamondbacks will receive outfielder Steven Souza from the Rays and second baseman Brandon Drury will head to the Yankees. Lefty reliever Anthony Banda will go to the Rays, Piecoro adds. The Diamondbacks will also receive prospect Taylor Widener from the Yankees, per Joel Sherman of the New York Post. MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert adds that the Rays will get two players to be named later from the D-Backs.

Souza, 28, is earning $3.55 million in his first of three years of arbitration eligibility, so the Rays are presumably saving money in moving him. Last season, Souza hit a productive .239/.351/.459 with 30 home runs, 78 RBI, 78 runs scored, and 16 stolen bases in 617 plate appearances. Souza’s arrival almost certainly pushes Yasmany Tomas out of a starting gig.

Drury, 25, has played a handful of positions in his brief major league career. Last year, he played second base in Arizona, batting .267/.317/.447 with 13 home runs and 63 RBI in 480 PA.

Banda, 24, made his major league debut last season, posting an ugly 5.96 ERA with a 25/10 K/BB ratio in 25 2/3 innings. The peripherals suggest he pitched better than his ERA indicated.

Widener, 23, was selected by the Yankees in the 12th round of the 2016 draft. This past season with High-A Tampa, he pitched 119 1/3 innings and posted a 3.39 ERA with a 129/50 K/BB ratio. MLB Pipeline rated Widener as the 14th-best prospect in the Yankees’ system.

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Robert Murray of FanRag Sports reports that the Rays will acquire second base prospect Nick Solak from the Yankees. The Yankees’ return is presently not known.

Solak, 23, was selected by the Yankees in the second round of the 2016 draft. He spent last season between High-A Tampa and Double-A Trenton, hitting a combined .297/.384/.452 with 12 home runs, 53 RBI, 72 runs scored, and 14 stolen bases.

MLB Pipeline ranked Solak as the eighth-best prospect in the Yankees’ system and the fifth-best second base prospect in baseball, praising him for his ability to hit line drives as well as his speed.