Bill Hohn is being taken to the woodshed

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Bill Hohn.jpgBaseball rarely if ever comments publicly on umpire discipline, so when it was announced that Joe West was being fined the other day that was (a) big news; and (b) evidence that he really screwed up.

What, then, to make of this from Bob Watson, baseball’s director of discipline?

A Major League Baseball official says umpire Bill Hohn will be addressed
“in a very stern way” after a confrontation with Houston pitcher Roy Oswalt.

Sure, you could say that a reprimand, which is what this sounds like, is kind of a nothing punishment.  But to think that is to misunderstand how institutional punishments tend to work.  You give reprimands — and, more importantly, make statements like this announcing the reprimands — to lay the groundwork for escalated discipline later.

As many noted in the Oswalt thread yesterday, Hohn has had a history of bad behavior.  Baseball, it seems to me, is acknowledging that here, and is hopefully setting the stage for more severe action later, when he inevitably messes up and lets his ego run wild again.

Maybe that’s not as satisfying as tying him to a stake, smearing honey on him and letting the red ants run free, but it’s about as much as we can hope from Major League Baseball when it comes to umpire discipline.

Brewers to give Mike Moustakas a look at second base

Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
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The Brewers reportedly signed third baseman Mike Moustakas to a one-year, $10 million contract on Sunday. While the deal is not yet official, MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy reports that the Brewers plan to give Moustakas a look at second base during spring training. If all goes well, he will be the primary second baseman and Travis Shaw will stay at third base.

The initial thought was that Moustakas would simply take over at third base for the more versatile Shaw. Moustakas has spent 8,035 of his career defensive innings at third base, 35 innings at first base, and none at second. In fact, he has never played second base as a pro player. Shaw, meanwhile, has spent 268 of his 4,073 1/3 defensive innings in the majors at second base and played there as recently as October.

This is certainly an interesting wrinkle to signing Moustakas, who is a decent third baseman. He was victimized by another slow free agent market, not signing until March last year on a $6.5 million deal with a $15 million mutual option for this season. That option was declined, obviously, and he ended up signing for $5 million cheaper here in February as the Brewers waited him out. Notably, Moustakas did not have qualifying offer compensation attached to him this time around.

Last season, between the Royals and Brewers, the 30-year-old Moustakas hit .251/.315/.459 with 28 home runs and 95 RBI in 635 plate appearances.