Craig Calcaterra

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - APRIL 26: Juan Uribe #5 of the Los Angeles Dodgers looks on during a game against the Florida Marlins at Sun Life Stadium on April 26, 2011 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Breaking down the Braves-Dodgers trade

21 Comments

It was on and then off and then back on again and now it’s official: The Braves have traded Alberto Callaspo, Eric Stults, Ian Thomas and Juan Jaime to the Dodgers in exchange for Juan Uribe and Chris Withrow.

You know Uribe and Callaspo: basically an exchange of veteran infielders who have seen better days, with Uribe costing the Braves about $3.5 million more than Callaspo will cost the Dodgers. In Chris Withrow, the Braves get a potential high-upside reliever, but one who is recovering from Tommy John surgery and back surgery so, um, yeah. He may pitch in the minors this year but is more of a next-year kind of thing.

As for the Dodgers, they get Stults, who broke in with Los Angeles in 2006, actually. He’s been mostly unimpressive the past three years, but can be a rotation fill-in for a Dodgers team that is down a couple of starters and has a lot of familiarity with the NL West due to his time in San Diego.

Thomas is a marginal reliever — meaning that he was on the margins of the Braves’ bullpen plans, not that he sucks or anything — who has had good strikeout rates in seven minor league seasons.

My favorite part of this is Juan Jaime. Not because he’s all that special — he’s been unimpressive in short stints in the bigs and seems to profile more like organizational depth —  but because he was originally signed by the Expos back in 2004. And he’s only 27. It’s weird that a 27-year-old could have ties to the Expos, but he was an international signee and they sign young. Also, 2004 only seems like ancient history.

So, at the end of the day, not too much of significance. For Atlanta, a third baseman who can share time with or maybe supplant Chris Johnson and provide some good mojo and defense in Juan Uribe and an upside arm for the pen in 2016. Roster/infield flexibility for the Dodgers, now that Uribe is gone (my guess is that the Dodgers DFA Callaspo at some point) and some pitching depth the Braves probably weren’t going to use all that much anyway.

If you insist on declaring a winner or loser to every trade I suppose it’s fair to say the Braves are better as a result of the trade than the Dodgers are, especially if you value the well-liked and well-respected Uribe’s perceived leadership and character bonuses. But really, this is a trade in which two teams needed different things and got them, not a case where a winner or a loser is either clear-cut or really all that relevant.

Kevin Cash on umpiring in the Rays-M’s game: “It’s terrible. They ought to be embarrassed.”

Kevin Cash
36 Comments

Rays manager Kevin Cash was not a happy camper after last night’s game. Particularly, after a call that led to a replay review.

In the first inning, Mariners outfielder Seth Smith scored on a fielder’s choice. While Smith slid before the tag was applied, Rays catcher Rene Rivera had the ball and blocked the front of the plate with his foot, applying the tag. There wasn’t a question over the plate block, just over whether Smith got his foot on the bag:

 

Cash took issue with the initial “safe” call, which weighed the replay review in the Mariners’ favor, given how the burden of proof works on replay challenges. And after the game he sounded off:

Noting he had no recourse “other than just to tell them how bad they stink,” Cash made clear how much he disagreed with the call.

“Terrible. Terrible. It’s embarrassing,” he said. “We spend so much time on pace of play, let’s just the damn call right on the field. It’s terrible. They ought to be embarrassed. Feels like we got beat twice tonight.”

Cash was also upset on base-runner placement on a later review in which an Evan Longoria hit was initially called foul but then ruled fair. The runner who was on first at the time time was awarded third base but Cash thought he should be awarded home, believing he would’ve scored had the umps called the ball fair initially. Which seems correct, as the left fielder fell down trying to catch it and the baserunner, Joey Butler was in between second and third already. Watch it here.

It’s easy to understand Cash’s frustration. Maybe even more so on the second play than the first. But it’ll also likely be the case that Major League Baseball will fine Cash for his postgame comments. Because, while umpires don’t have much apparent accountability for their actions, managers do.

And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

Josh Donaldson
34 Comments

Blue Jays 10, White Sox 9: Walkoff number one: The Josh Donaldson Show. Donaldson hit two homers — bookends, really — as he lauched a solo shot in the first and then hit a walkoff three-run homer off David Robertson for the win. After the game he said “That’s probably one of the better feelings in baseball, to hit a walkoff homer. You don’t get the opportunity very often.” Except it’s the second time he’s done it this year and the fifth time in his career, so if you’re Josh Donaldson, you get that opportunity more than a lot of dudes, frankly.

Cubs 3, Nationals 2: Walkoff number two: Youth is Served: Bryce Harper and Kris Bryant both homered to tie the game at different points and Addison Russell doubled in Jonathan Herrera for the walkoff win. The Cubs have 13 one-run victories. Charmed life.

Reds 2, Rockies 1: Walkoff number three: The Futility-Interruptor. The Reds finally snapped their losing streak — it died at nine — thanks to a pinch hit Skip Schumaker walkoff double. After the game Schumaker said “winning never gets old.” Certainly not in Cincinnati it doesn’t.

Mets 5, Phillies 4: Walkoff number four: Everybody Hates Wilmer. Wilmer Flores — who a certain stripe of Mets fan loves to hate — singled home the winning run with two outs in the 10th. Is he the best shortstop ever? No. And his defense leaves quite a bit to be desired, but he’s got a .724 OPS and pretty excellent power numbers for a shortstop in this day and age. That ain’t nothin’.

Mariners 7, Rays 6: Not a walkoff, but if it was I’d call it The Kyle Seager Show or something. Seager hit a grand slam in the eighth and, after the M’s bullpen pooed all over itself in the ninth, Seager hit a solo shot in the top of the 10th which put Seattle up for good.

Rangers 4, Indians 3: Seven straight for Texas, who are now a .500 team. Not too shabby after starting things off as poorly as they did and suffering all of the injuries they’ve suffered. Mitch Moreland hit a tiebreaking homer in the eighth and Prince Fielder continued to party like it’s 2009, hitting a three-run bomb. Fielder is 14-for-24 with five homers and 15 RBI in his last five games. How did you hit your home run, Mitch Moreland? “I was trying to get a good pitch, something I could drive.” Oh. How interesting.

Giants 6, Brewers 3: Madison Bumgarner didn’t shoot out the lights, but he won for the fifth time in six starts and was backed by a Hunter Pence laser beam and homers from Matt Duffy and Brandon Belt. What’s your secret, Madison? “That’s it, just making pitches and getting outs.” Oh. How interesting.

Astros 4, Orioles 1: Houston has now won 10 of 13, so maybe it’s time to stop asking if they’re for real. I mean, sure, they could crater and, in hindsight, we’d all say they weren’t for real, but it’s not like they’re winning via trick plays and opposing teams tanking to get draft picks. Here Scott Feldman was solid over six innings and Luis Valbuena drove in two.

Yankees 5, Royals 1: Mark Teixeira hit a two-run homer in the first and drove in two more with a double in the fifth. On the year he’s only hitting .243, but the on-base percentage is a healthy .365 and he’s slugging a stout .588. He’s on pace for 49 bombs and 123 RBI. A product of being in The Best Shape of His Life?

Pirates 5, Marlins 1: The Buccos jumped all over Jose Urena early, leading 4-0 after two innings and then they cruised behind Jeff Locke and three relievers. Well, maybe they didn’t “cruise” as Locke needed 104 pitches and walked four guys, but they certainly rumbled along, as one may while driving an older SUV that could possibly use some new tires. Either way, that’s five straight wins for Pittsburgh.

Twins 2, Red Sox 1: If there are any immutable laws in the universe, one of them has to be “if you stake Mike Pelfrey to a two-run lead in the first inning, he’ll make it hold up.” OK, maybe my math is a bit off with that. And my history, frankly, but as far as I’m concerned, that’s some good science.

Cardinals 6, Diamondbacks 4: Randal Grichuk and Jhonny Peralta each drove in two to back a dicey Jamie Garcia, who picked up his first win in nearly a year. The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat for Yasmany Tomas: he hit two doubles and drove in three but he also struck out with the bases loaded to end the seventh and grounded out to end the game with the tying runs in scoring position.

Dodgers 8, Braves 0: I was on a radio show yesterday when someone asked me “what’s the matter with Clayton Kershaw?” I’d guess not much apart from not facing enough pushover lineups like the Braves and not being staked to enough big leads to allow him to cruise. Here both were in play, and Kershaw struck out 10 in seven shutout innings while every single hitter in the Dodgers’ lineup, Kershaw included, got a hit.

Padres 4, Angels 0: Scoreless for nine innings and then the Angels decided that Joe Smith needed to be in the game. That’s when Matt Kemp hit a bases-loaded double and that was that. Both Kemp and the Padres have been struggling. Perhaps that wakes them up.

Tigers 1, Athletics 0: David Price and Jesse Chavez dueled and David Price won. The only run in the game came via a sacrifice fly in the first inning, and even that one wouldn’t have scored if Josh Phegley hadn’t thrown the ball away, allowing the runner to make it to third base. Price tossed seven shutout innings and the Tiger bullpen locked it down. Which is not something you hear very often. Especially when Joba Chamberlain is involved.

Charter Communications to offer Dodgers broadcasts to its customers in Southern California

dodgers logo
6 Comments

We speculated about this yesterday when it was first reported that Charter Communications was in talks to acquire Time-Warner, but now that the acquisition has been officially announced, so too have the plans. Reported by the Los Angeles Times:

Charter Communications plans to soon begin offering the Los Angeles Dodgers TV channel, SportsNet LA, in Southern California, breaking the year-long impasse that has prevented thousands of baseball fans from watching their favorite team on TV.

“We are going to get the Dodgers on,” Charter Communications Chief Executive Tom Rutledge said Tuesday morning in an interview with the L.A. Times. We want the Dodgers on every outlet and we are committed to making that happen,” Rutledge said.

Charter has around 300,000 subscribers in Southern California. The Times reports that Charter customers in Glendale, Burbank, Malibu and Long Beach will be getting the Dodgers’ network within the next few weeks. As of now, only Time-Warner customers can see Dodgers games as a part of their cable package. When Charter picks up the Dodgers, it could pressure other carriers in the area to follow suit.

Royals lead the way in the first round of American League All-Star balloting

All-Star Logo
66 Comments

The first round of All-Star balloting is in. If you want to know how much winning stokes fan enthusiasm, just look at how many Royals are leading the way:

source:

source:

source:

source:

 

I guess my not-so-stealth A-Rod publicity machine is not doing a great job drumming up votes for him, huh?

Anyway, the lesson here, as always: democracy is dumb. But don’t get too worked up over All-Star balloting. For one thing, the same people voting here are the ones who think Sandy Koufax is a top-four living player. Also, keep in mind that the “winner” of the All-Star vote loses four days of much-needed vacation in the middle of the season in exchange for a trip to . . . Cincinnati.

So campaign carefully. Your favorite player may really not want to win all that badly.