Blogger at NBC Sport.com's HardballTalk. Recovering litigator. Rake. Scoundrel. Notorious Man-About-Town.
Bad news for the Phillies and Charlie Morton: the 32-year-old starter needs surgery for a torn hamstring and is done for the remainder of the season.
Morton had a 4.15 ERA in four starts, but he tore his left hamstring Saturday while trying to beat out a bunt. Viva the pitcher batting, I guess. Adam Morgan is expected to take his spot in the starting rotation, at least at first. The Phillies will use a lot of pitchers this year, no doubt.
It’s not like Morton was the key to the Phillies 2016 season or anything, and it’s unlikely that he’d even still be on the team the next time they’re contenders. But a player like Morton is a valuable cog on a young team like the Phillies, taking the innings someone has to take, doing his best to save the bullpen so it can be used with younger, less-experienced pitchers and being a role model and mentor to the guys who will, one day, play for the next good Phillies team. For those reasons, and simply for his own well-being, of course, this rather sucks.
This is more of a must-click link thing, because Ben Badler is the expert here and over at Baseball America he explains how teams have, since the dawn of the international bonus caps in 2011, circumvented the rules.
Not surprisingly, the way rules are circumvented enrich some — trainers; owners who are paying less for international talent — and cost poor, young players. Nor surprisingly Major League Baseball doesn’t really enforce its own rules that much. It would if bonus expenditures were dramatically enhanced, but breaking the rules here and there to get around restrictions appears to be less than a petty misdemeanor in the eyes of the league.
Like anything else: when you make rules which restrict what people would be doing anyway (i.e. spending money to get the best talent) people are going to find a way to do what they wanted to do anyway. And when that happens, it’s probably a good idea to look at the rules and ask what the heck the point of them was in the first place.
I’m surprised this doesn’t happen more often, actually. There are like 250 throwbacks to a pitcher a game, minimum, games are long, guys get tired and there’s a lot of stuff to look at in a major league ballpark. Sometimes the routine stuff slips through the cracks.
Oh well. It didn’t seem to affect Chris Sale much as he dominated the Blue Jays. Maybe it even woke him up a little and gave him an extra bit of adrenaline?