Carlos Silva is a "battler"

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I hope Bert Blyleven makes the Hall of Fame this year. I’m happy Bert Blyleven writes for NBC Sports.com.  I also wish I had some of what Bert Blyleven was smoking when he went on the radio this afternoon and gave us the Carlos Silva scouting report:

“What the Cubs got is, if he’s healthy, a guy that could pitch 200 innings for them.  He’s got a great sinking fastball, very good control. He’s a battler. He’s a lot like Carlos Zambrano as far as attacking the strike zone. Carlos Silva does not walk a lot of guys. He’s not going to strike out a lot of guys. He’s a contact-type pitcher that when he’s on has a good sinking fastball . . . As far as a person, this guy works his rear end off. He’s a good clubhouse presence. He’s got very good chemistry with all the other players. He’s a nice addition to the Cubs as long as he’s healthy.”

I suppose a lot of that is true. It’s also true that this battling chemistry god is currently getting lit up to the tune of a .400 opponents batting average in the Venezuelan winter league. Which means that either (a) he’s not healthy, in which case the Cubs will surely cancel the deal; or (b) Blyleven is overstating the merits of Carlos Silva just a weeeeeee bit.

MLB executive: Bruce Maxwell’s kneeling may keep him from finding work, not his arrest

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In September 2017, former Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell became the first major league player to kneel during the national anthem, joining the handfuls of NFL players who had been doing the same to protest police brutality and racial inequality. Maxwell’s effort was laudable, but he got into trouble a month later when he was arrested for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and disorderly conduct. Maxwell allegedly pointed a gun at a food delivery person.

Maxwell, 27, played sparingly for the Athletics in 2018 and then was designated for assignment at the beginning of September. He officially became a free agent on November 2 and has had trouble finding work in the month-plus since.

Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Maxwell fired his agent, Matt Sosnick on Thursday because he’s still jobless. According to an unnamed MLB executive Slusser spoke to, “It’s the kneeling thing that might keep him from getting another job, not the arrest. Owners aren’t going to want to deal with that whole anthem issue.”

That makes a lot of since since abusive players haven’t had too much trouble finding new work otherwise. Addison Russell, Jeurys Familia, and José Reyes, among others have either stayed with their teams or quickly found new work. Given the relatively weak catching market, had Maxwell only had the assault charge, there is no doubt he would have been signed to be a backup catcher somewhere.

In the NFL, Colin Kaepernick — who popularized kneeling during the anthem — has remained unsigned even though teams have opted to sign and start clearly inferior quarterbacks like Mark Sanchez, Josh McCown, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jay Cutler, Matt Barkley, and Sam Bradford, among many others. Team owners tend to run conservative in terms of politics, so they may not like the protest to begin with, then there is the public blowback to signing such a player as those who dislike such protesting make up a slight majority in the U.S., according to various polls including one done by the Washington Post.

It’s worth noting that Maxwell has a career .240/.314/.347 triple-slash line in 412 plate appearances. We’re not talking about J.T. Realmuto or Buster Posey here. That being said, there have been 15 other catchers to have put up a lower aggregate OPS since 2016 (min. 400 PA). One of those players, Derek Norris (.600 OPS since 2016), signed a minor league contract with the Tigers just three months after being suspended by Major League Baseball for violating its domestic violence policy. Makes you think.