Craig Calcaterra

Police Blotter

Four more minor leaguers suspended

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More from the police blotter:

  • Milwaukee Brewers Minor League left-handed pitcher Tyler Alexander has received a 50-game suspension without pay following a second positive test for a drug of abuse;
  • Baltimore Orioles Minor League third baseman Austin Anderson has received a 50-game suspension without pay after testing positive for Amphetamine;
  • San Francisco Giants Minor League right-handed pitcher Dylan Brooks has received a 50-game suspension without pay following a second positive test for a drug of abuse; and
  • Free agent Minor League right-handed pitcher Tyler Gonzales has received a 100-game suspension without pay for refusing to take a drug test.

Gonzalez was a first round pick in 2012 and he’s already a free agent minor leaguer with a drug history and now a test refusal. One gets the impression that it’s been a bad couple of years for the guy.

The Braves and Rockies made a trade

Tampa Bay Rays v Atlanta Braves
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The Braves just announced a trade with the Rockies:

Hale, 26, has pitched in 47 major league games, eight as a starter, almost all of that action coming last season. He started last season as the team’s fourth starter and had one great start in late April, but that was it. The righty has a 3.02 ERA and a 44/39 K/BB ratio in 87.1 innings.

Schlosser is also 26. All of his big league experience game last year too, and it wasn’t pretty: a 7.64 ERA in 15 relief appearances with eight strikeouts and six walks in 15 innings. He’s also a righty. One can’t imagine these guys will have much to smile about pitching in Denver. But really, they profile more as organizational depth.

Back to Atlanta from the Rockies goes Briceno and O’Dowd, both catchers. Briceno is only 22. He’s hit well — very well, actually — but hasn’t played above A-ball. O’Dowd is 24 and has hit less well — though he shows some on-base skills — and hasn’t played above Double-A. Oh, and he’s also former Rockies GM Dan O’Dowd’s son.

Without reading stuff from people who know the catchers — particularly their defensive chops — better, my gut reaction is that the Braves have unloaded a couple of pitchers they’ve seen enough of and don’t feature in their future plans for a couple of catchers who could maybe turn into something someday. Or at least one of them in Briceno. Which isn’t a bad deal from Atlanta’s perspective. Isn’t bad at all.

Victor Martinez could catch early in the season

Victor Martinez
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Victor Martinez has caught five games over the past two seasons. He’s really a DH these days who can spot at first base. But if Miguel Cabrera is healthy enough to go by the second week of the season — a big if — V-Mart could catch. From the Free Press:

The Tigers play their annual interleague rivalry with the Pirates on April 13-15 in Pittsburgh, meaning that National League rules will eliminate the designated hitter.

“If Miggy’s available, then Victor would be an option at catcher,” manager Brad Ausmus said this week.

If he’s not, then Martinez would be the first baseman.

 

Too bad that series comes so early. If usual form holds, Alex Avila will be about 96% beaten to dust by August and could use the break then.

The 11th greatest GM of all time’s s**t doesn’t work in the playoffs

Billy Beane
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Mark Armour and Dan Levitt have written a book: In Pursuit of Pennants, which examines how front offices have historically found innovative ways to build winning teams. In support of that, they are counting down the top-25 GMs of all time over at their blog. Since it’s slow season, I’m going to continue linking to the countdown as it’s great stuff we rarely read about in the normal course.

In some circles, Bill Beane is talked about like he’s a Gabor sister or something. Famous for being famous, almost. They wrote a book about him and Brad Pitt played him in a movie and he’s held up as an example of something that most of the people doing the holding up fail to understand or refuse to understand. He’s more avatar in some big dumb debate than real person, it seems. A guy who, if you hear his detractors tell it, is most famous for never having a team he’s run make it to the World Series. And if you hear his fans tell it, is God Almighty. Yeah, he’s a bit polarizing.

But he’s first and foremost the general manager of the Oakland Athletics. And has been for a very long time. And as Mark and Dan argue today, he is the 11th greatest general manager of all time.

Check your preconceptions at the door and see if you think they’re right about that.

Target Field was used for a DHS drone detection experiment during last year’s All-Star Game

Drone Restrictions
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source:

Flash back to Target Field during the All-Star Game in July. Your intrepid reporter was sitting next to Posnanski in the press box, arguing over who the new “face of the game” was for MLB. Gleeman was sick in bed in another part of town. Adam Wainwright was doing a poor job of attempting to win home field advantage for the National League and all was right with the world.

But, little did we know, we were all party to a secret program run by the Department of Homeland Security. From the New York Times:

As Major League Baseball’s top players took the field at the All-Star Game in Minneapolis in July, a covert radar system scanned the sky above the 40,000-seat stadium for what security experts said was an emerging threat to public safety: drones.

Using finely tuned detection programs brought in by the Department of Homeland Security, “Operation Foul Ball,” as it was known, identified several small, commercial drones flying in the area. Some were similar to the quadcopter that crashed on the White House lawn Monday.

But the drone detection system, which was considered one of the most advanced in the country and cost several hundred thousand dollars to operate for just that night, had no way of actually stopping drones from flying into the stadium. There was even confusion about whether one of the drones belonged to ESPN.

I feel safer.