ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 21:  Jered Weaver #36 of the Los Angeles Angels pitches against the Texas Rangers in the bottom of the first inning at Globe Life Park in Arlington on September 21, 2016 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
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Report: Padres sign Jered Weaver to one-year, $3 million deal

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The Padres have reportedly signed free agent right-hander Jered Weaver to a one-year deal, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports. The club was said to have offered Weaver a deal north of $1.75 million back in January, but Nightengale reports that the figure has increased to $3 million with no additional incentives.

Weaver, 34, completed an 11-year track with the Angels in 2016. His performance was underwhelming, reaching a career-worst 5.06 ERA and -0.2 fWAR over 31 starts in Anaheim. While his numbers have been in steady decline since 2011, his leadership and ability to absorb innings should benefit a San Diego rotation that features Clayton Richard, Jhoulys Chacin and Trevor Cahill, among several other rotation candidates.

The team has yet to confirm the deal.

How is Carter Capps’ delivery legal?

JUPITER, FL - FEBRUARY 24: Carter Capps of the Miami Marlins poses for photos on media day at Roger Dean Stadium on February 24, 2016 in Jupiter, Florida.  (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
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Given that Padres reliever Carter Capps missed the entire 2016 season due to Tommy John surgery — and given that he’s only managed to pitch more than 20 games in a season twice since debuting in 2012 — I suppose this may be a largely hypothetical question. But he’s healthy now and he’s in Padres camp throwing baseballs and stuff, so it’s bound to come up again.

The question: how is this delivery, which features him hopping forward not once but twice and then delivering the ball from what I’d estimate to be about 54 feet, even legal?

The answer, as we learned when he first unleashed this delivery in 2015, is that it is technically legal, actually. He caught flak for it in the minors, with umpires calling it illegal for “disengaging the rubber” but Major League Baseball has deemed it kosher. Why? Because the rules about where your feet are with respect to the rubber in the stretch — picking them up off of the rubber once you come set — only deal with motions toward a base runner and the intent to deceive him in an effort to pick him off. Capps was told by MLB that as long as he’s moving forward, toward the batter, and not getting too much air, he’s OK.

Which is idiotic. There’s a reason the pitching rubber is 60’6″ away from home plate. Not because someone just pulled that number out of their hind end, but because it has been deemed, over the years, to be a fair placement which neither disadvantages a pitcher nor a hitter to too great a degree. It’s a convention that could’ve been changed at any time but which has stood up, with the implicit agreement that it would be bad for hitters to let pitchers pitch from 30 feet and and bad for pitchers to make them pitch from 90, for example. Effective velocity, you know. Distance matters. We see this in practice with tall pitchers. Assuming they can get their mechanics worked out, tall ones have a tremendous advantage over shorter ones, in large part because they simply release the ball closer to a hitter than a short one does thanks to a longer stride and longer arms.

We can’t legislate how tall pitchers can be so we allow for some variation in the distance a ball has to travel, but we do have rules about how far away from the plate they have to be for a reason. Capps has figured out a way to pitch from 54 or 55 feet. On one season of doing it he pitched quite well. Maybe it was because he’s simply good, but maybe it’s because he has created for himself an unfair advantage.

I presume that injury risk — Capps hurt himself last year, though we don’t know if the delivery is why — will keep most pitchers form ever trying this. But even if no one else does, it’s unfair to let any pitcher pitch from closer to the plate than the rules allow. Letting Capps get around that with a crow hop seems to violate the spirit of the rule and I don’t think it should be legal.

 

Asdrubal Cabrera upset about being left off Venezuela’s WBC roster

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 05:  Asdrubal Cabrera #13 of the New York Mets takes batting practice prior to their National League Wild Card game against the San Francisco Giants at Citi Field on October 5, 2016 in New York City.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Mets shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera was told by Omar Vizquel, manager of Venezuela’s World Baseball Classic team, that he would be included on the roster. GM Carlos Guillen, however, decided to leave Cabrera off the roster. Understandably, Cabrera isn’t happy about the situation, as Jonathan Lehman of the New York Post reports.

“I will not participate in the World Baseball Classic because Carlos Guillen is the least serious and most deceitful [person] that may exist. What a shame that Omar Vizquel, with all the respect he deserves, is accepting all this scoundrel-ness,” Cabrera said.

Infielders on Venezuela’s roster include Miguel Cabrera, Jose Altuve, Alcides Escobar, Martin Prado, Yangervis Solarte, and Freddy Galvis.

Cabrera, 31, finished the 2016 season hitting .280/.336/.474 with 23 home runs and 62 RBI over 568 plate appearances in what was one of the better years of his career. One could make a strong argument that Cabrera is better than both Escobar and Galvis, though each has at least one tool that gives him an edge. For Escobar, it’s his speed; for Galvis, it’s his defense. But when totaling all of the things a player does on the field, Cabrera appears to be the best of the trio.