Russ Ortiz and Ramon Ortiz in the same game? Dodgers deserved to lose

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Russ Ortiz took the loss in last night’s marathon Dodgers-Diamondbacks game, but a terrible play from Matt Kemp in center field was actually to blame. With that said, at this point any major-league team using Russ Ortiz in a game that counts in the standings probably deserves to lose.
Ortiz went 103-60 with a 4.00 ERA in 1,341 innings through age 30, including 21 wins and a fourth-place Cy Young finish for the Braves in 2003. However, since then he’s gone 10-29 with a 6.59 ERA and putrid 185/177 K/BB ratio in 317 innings while pitching for five different teams, posting yearly ERAs of 6.89, 8.14, 5.51, 5.57, and now 8.31.
So if the Dodgers are in the 11th inning of a 7-7 game and want to use a 36-year-old pitcher who hasn’t had an ERA under 5.00 since 2004 … well, they deserve what they got. Heck, before turning to Russ Ortiz in extra innings they used Ramon Ortiz to get two outs in the seventh inning. He’ll be 37 years old next month, has allowed five runs in 4.1 innings so far this season, and hasn’t had an ERA under 5.00 since 2004.
I’ll never understand why teams keep giving chances to washed-up (and then some) veterans like Russ and Ramon Ortiz (or Sidney Ponson for another prime example) when they’d probably be better off just randomly picking a different pitcher off a Triple-A roster. You’re telling me there aren’t a couple 20-somethings in the Dodgers’ farm system who could do a better job than the geriatric Ortiz boys?

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.