Craig Calcaterra

Blogger at NBC Sport.com's HardballTalk. Recovering litigator. Rake. Scoundrel. Notorious Man-About-Town.
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You want to see Jose Bautista’s bat flip in a corn maze

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Each fall, usually around the time the playoffs start, some farmer or another makes a corn maze to honor a player or a team or something. Stuff like this. Or this.

It’s still a little early for that in a lot of places, but falls comes earlier to New Brunswick, so it’s prime corn maze time there. The folks at Hunter Brothers Farm in Florenceville are honoring a Blue Jays guy, of course:

 

Who can’t love that?

Oh well.

Report: The Dodgers approached the Dbacks about a Zack Greinke trade

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Ken Rosenthal reports that the Dodgers reached out to the Diamondbacks with interest in trading for Zack Greinke. This was just before last night’s deadline for teams to have players it wishes to have on its postseason roster on board. The talks went nowhere, Rosenthal said.

Greinke has had a disappointing season by his standards but he is obviously capable of going on a tear, the sort of which an apparently playoff-bound Dodgers team might covet around now. Of course they didn’t covet Greinke enough to match the Diamondbacks’ bid for him this past offseason, and he’s still owed $172.5 million over the next five seasons, so such interest may be fairly short-sighted.

If you’re the Dbacks it’s pretty understandable that you’d reject these overtures. Maybe they do regret giving all that money to Greinke, and maybe the club is going to clean out the front office folks responsible for that, but trading him back to a division rival after less than a season would be a pretty large amount of pride to swallow. And heck, if they want to trade him, wait until this winter when everyone can bid on him, not just a small number of clubs.

Ryan Howard upset he’ll be sitting against some righties, asks “why now?”

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Ryan Howard‘s time in Philly is winding down. On the year it has wound down pretty ignominiously, with the former MVP hitting .195/.249/.440 with 20 homers. August went well for him, however: he hit .314/.364/.706 with 6 homers in 16 games. Which is why he was perturbed when manager Pete Mackanin said on Tuesday that Tommy Joseph, with whom Howard has largely been platooning, will be getting some at bats against right-handed pitchers in September, not just his usual lefties.

Howard, speaking to Bob Ford of the Philly Inquirer:

“I don’t necessarily think it’s right or fair, considering this is my last month here, but it is interesting . . . I’m not going to sit here and lie. I’ve got one more month here and I just want to play and finish out playing . . . I think there comes a time when there needs to be more dialogue and more of an understanding of, ‘Why now?’ Now, when you’ve got three weeks left in the season? Why now? I’m going out and hitting and playing better and all of sudden it’s another wrinkle.”

Howard is mad at both not getting the playing time he wants and that the news of his reduced playing time for the final month came via Mackanin answering a reporter’s question as opposed to a face-to-face conversation. He likewise repeated, over and over, that he’s looking to finish out his time in Philly strong so he can latch on with another team in 2017.

All of which is understandable, but it’s also somewhat naive. Howard knows very well that, however much respect they have for him and his history there, the Phillies top priority is to win baseball games, particularly in the future. Doing that depends a lot on having a regular first baseman who can serve as an offensive threat and the organization is obligated to determine if Tommy Joseph can be that guy. That requires that he get looks against righties. And there is no better way to do that than against live major league pitching in games that count as opposed spring training 2017.

“Why now?” Howard knows exactly “why now.” He may not like it because it may harm his post-Philly playing career, but that’s not exactly the Phillies’ problem. They’re making the right decisions for the future of the organization. A future which has no place for Ryan Howard, as unfortunate as that may be.