Ron Mahay will likely miss the remainder of the season after tearing the rotator cuff in his non-throwing shoulder while trying to make a fielding play Saturday. At age 37, his career is in jeopardy.
Dating back to last season Mahay has quietly done some nice work for the Twins with a 3.14 ERA, .244 opponents’ batting average, and 33/11 K/BB ratio in 43 innings, and while losing a situational left-hander certainly isn’t going to wreck the bullpen it does hurt a bit more with fellow lefty Jose Mijares already out for a month after knee surgery. Glen Perkins is now the bullpen’s sole southpaw and he’s actually worse against left-handed hitters.
Anthony Slama was recalled from Triple-A to replace Mahay on the roster and he was anything but impressive in his first taste of the majors, but struggling in five innings to begin a career means almost nothing and his track record in the minors is certainly dominant enough to warrant an extended opportunity. Slama doesn’t address the lack of lefties, but Ron Gardenhire did some of his best bullpen managing in the past when not focused on handedness.
A couple weeks ago Matthew suggested that Dan Uggla and the Marlins might be able to find some common ground on a contract extension worth around $30 million over three years, but Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that Uggla is seeking a deal worth $55-60 million for five years.
Uggla is making $7.8 million this season and will be under team control again in his final season of arbitration eligibility next year, so he can expect a raise to at least $8 or $9 million and possibly quite a bit more.
A five-year extension would buy out that final season of arbitration in addition to Uggla’s first four seasons of free agency, but I can’t see the Marlins committing that much money for that long to a 30-year-old.
Uggla is having the best season of his career, hitting .288/.375/.519 to rank 10th in the league with an .894 OPS, but he’s a below average defensive second baseman at age 30 and it’s hard to imagine the Marlins wanting to pay him over $10 million per season through age 35.
Believe it or not, Omar Infante may determine whether Albert Pujols or Joey Votto can win the Triple Crown.
Pujols leads the NL in homers and RBIs while ranking third in batting average. Votto leads the league in batting average while ranking second in RBIs and third in homers. There’s still a lot of baseball left to be played, but the two best hitters in the league are set up to go hit-for-hit down the stretch in search of the first Triple Crown since Carl Yastrzemski in 1967.
That is, unless Infante gets enough playing time to qualify for the batting title.
Despite (controversially) making the All-Star team Infante spent the first half as merely a part-time player for the Braves, so right now he has just 338 plate appearances and his .350 batting average doesn’t appear on the official leaderboard. However, now that he’s playing every day Infante is rapidly closing in on the 502 plate appearances needed to qualify.
Plus, if he finishes a small number of plate appearances short there’s a rule in place that will give him hitless at-bats until he reaches 502. In other words, if he hits .350 in 490 plate appearances Infante will then be given an 0-for-12 for the purposes of determining the batting title.
Infante has averaged 4.5 plate appearances per start this season, so assuming he’s in the lineup for, say, 35 of the final 37 games he’d end up with around 495 plate appearances. It may prove to be a moot point if Infante slumps over the final six weeks, but right now he has a 27-point edge over Votto and is definitely a factor in the Triple Crown picture.
Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com wrote this morning that “claiming Manny Ramirez off waivers would be nuts.” And now he’s reporting that the White Sox plan to place a waiver claim on Ramirez.
General manager Ken Williams and the White Sox were said to be interested in Ramirez prior to the July 31 trade deadline, so Chicago’s apparent willingness to take what now amounts to little more than a $4 million flier on the 38-year-old slugger certainly isn’t surprising. Or particularly crazy, despite what Rosenthal suggests.
Ramirez certainly isn’t the dominant offensive force he once was and has also been limited to just 62 games because of injuries, but if reasonably healthy he’s still a damn good bat. He’s hit .312/.404/.508 overall this season, which is good for a .912 OPS that ranks seventh among all MLB outfielders with at least 200 plate appearances.
Beyond that, the White Sox’s have a gaping hole at designated hitter caused by the misguided decision not to re-sign Jim Thome at manager Ozzie Guillen’s urging this offseason. Thome has been amazing for the Twins with a .269/.393/.583 mark that tops the measly .237/.308/.401 cumulative production from the White Sox’s designated hitters by 267 points of OPS.
Ramirez can’t get back the production and games lost by choosing to replace Thome with Mark Kotsay, but his still-powerful right-handed bat would fit very well into the White Sox’s lineup and by using him primarily at DH they could cross “defense” off the list of potential issues.
Of course, just because the White Sox are planning to place a waiver claim on Ramirez doesn’t mean a team in front of them won’t do the same, and even if Chicago ends up with the winning claim they’d still have to work out a deal for him unless the Dodgers are simply willing to give him away to save money.
As usual, Ken Williams has plenty of gamble in him.
Troy Glaus’ prolonged slump and knee problems convinced the Braves to replace him at first base with Derrek Lee, so now Glaus is somewhat surprisingly seeing action at third base while rehabbing in the minors.
At the time of the Lee trade several Braves beat writers made it very clear that they didn’t think there was any chance of Glaus being an option at third base down the stretch and that may still prove accurate, but the Braves are at least considering the possibility in the wake of Chipper Jones’ season-ending knee injury.
Glaus told Mark Bowman of MLB.com that his knee “feels fine” after resting for a week and said his goal while at Triple-A is “to get as many reps at third base as I can.”
At age 34 and with bad wheels Glaus has had trouble simply running or playing first base, so it seems unlikely that he could handle third base on anything more than an emergency basis. However, he does have more than 11,000 career innings at the position and didn’t make the switch across the diamond until this year.
Glaus began his rehab assignment by playing third base at Triple-A last night and went 0-for-2 with two strikeouts and two walks.