Craig Calcaterra

Cameron Maybin

Braves trade Cameron Maybin to the Tigers for Ian Krol and Gabe Speier


A late Friday trade takes another veteran off the Braves roster: the Braves just announced that they have traded outfielder Cameron Maybin to the Detroit Tigers for Ian Krol and Gabe Speier.

Maybin is coming off a surprisingly good season in which he hit .267.327/.370 with 10 homers and 59 RBI while stealing 23 bases. He played 141 games for the Braves, all but two of which came in center field. Maybin was originally drafted by the Tigers and played in Detroit as a rookie in 2007 before being traded to Florida in the Miguel Cabrera deal.

Kroll, a lefty reliever, pitched 33 games for Detroit while posting a 5.79 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 26/17 in 28 innings. Speier is also a left who hasn’t pitched above High-A yet. The former 19th round draft pick is only 20.

Maybin is scheduled to make $7 million in 2016 and there is a club option for $9 million in 2017. His acquisition by the Tigers gives them some added outfield depth and either a platoon partner or an alternative to Anthony Gose in center field. For the Braves: nothing but salary relief, it seems, as the arms they got back are no great shakes.

The last major league position player left in Atlanta, please turn out the lights.


The most important thing to some Hall of Fame voters: keepin the ‘roiders out

Trevor Hoffman

Rick Morrissey of the Chicago Sun-Times is a Hall of Fame voter. He just published his column explaining his choices for this year’s ballot as well.

His ballot contains three names out of a possible ten and he spends virtually no time talking about baseball. Instead, he talks about how important he personally is to the process of protecting the Hall of Fame and how he values keeping steroid users out of Cooperstown above all else:

I woke up the other night thinking about the Baseball Hall of Fame, specifically about whether I had voted for a suspected steroid user by mistake the day before. This is no way to go through life. At 4 a.m., you should be dreaming that the college class you haven’t attended all semester is having its final that afternoon.

But keeping drug cheats out of the Hall has been one of my pet causes. How would it look if I voted for a guy who had performance-enhancing drugs oozing from his pores during his career? Like I had lost my fastball.

But, as it turned out, Trevor Hoffman’s name doesn’t come up in the Internet chatter about steroids in baseball, as I had fretted about deep in the night.

Here’s a question: If keeping PED guys out of the HoF is what you consider to be your most important task, how do you not have encyclopedic knowledge of who the PED guys are? How could you possibly be uncertain about Hoffman? If you were uncertain, it means that you’re bad at even the one thing you think is important. That’s just poor. An alternative: he knows darn well Hoffmann has no PED associations but he needed a gimmicky way to frame his column and fill column inches.

Personally, I would’ve gone with actually talking about the baseball careers of the players I was voting for, but what do I know? I’m not a big time, big city newspaper sports columnist with a Hall of Fame vote. It must be more complicated than I realize.

Major League Baseball moving toward a “Chase Utley Rule” for slides into second


Ken Davidoff of the New York Post reports from the Owners’ Meetings in Dallas that “momentum continues to build toward” a rule change that he correctly notes will likely be referred to as “The Chase Utley Rule.”

Specifically, a change in the rules which would be aimed at eliminating the sorts of hard slides into second base, the likes of which Chase Utley demonstrated in the playoffs, breaking Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada‘s leg. Davidoff does not have any details on what, exactly, such a rule would entail but does allude to the so-called “Buster Posey Rule” which went into effect a couple of years ago in order to protect catchers from home plate collisions.

Of course, like the Buster Posey Rule, a Chase Utley Rule would be completely unnecessary if Major League Baseball would simply require its umpires to enforce and its players to abide by rules already on the books. In this case it’s Rule 6.05(m), which already  says a baserunner is out when:

(m)A preceding runner shall, in the umpire’s judgment, intentionally interfere with a fielder who is attempting to catch a thrown ball or to throw a ball in an attempt to complete any play:

Rule 6.05(m) Comment: The objective of this rule is to penalize the offensive team for deliberate, unwarranted, unsportsmanlike action by the runner in leaving the baseline for the obvious purpose of crashing the pivot man on a double play, rather than trying to reach the base. Obviously this is an umpire’s judgment play.

That rule totally and completely covers the Utley-Tejada situation. It does involve a judgment on the part of umpires, however, and baseball has run screaming from umpire judgment in recent years, preferring overly-complicated bright line rules which make for more, not less, confusion. Indeed, in this case I’d be shocked if whatever spins out of the Commissioner’s office doesn’t involve “zones” governing the precise geography of acceptable slides and finite measurements between a baserunner and the bag. This despite the fact that it’s pretty damn obvious when a runner is trying harder to take out an infielder than he is to simply reach a bag safely.

But hey, new rules are always better, right?